What Is the Best Diet for Kidney Disease?

Reviewed on 11/9/2021

The heart-healthy DASH Diet is recommended for people with kidney disease. The DASH Diet includes eatomg healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, and non-tropical vegetable oils.
The heart-healthy DASH Diet is recommended for people with kidney disease. The DASH Diet includes eatomg healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, and non-tropical vegetable oils.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) occurs when the kidneys are damaged and are unable to filter blood properly. 

The DASH Diet for Kidney Disease

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan, recommended by the National Kidney Foundation and approved by The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, The American Heart Association, and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, is considered a heart-healthy diet for people who have kidney disease

The DASH eating plan does not require any special foods but there are daily and weekly nutritional goals. The DASH plan recommends eating:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy products
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Non-tropical vegetable oils

The DASH eating plan also recommends avoiding or limiting foods such as:

  • Foods high in saturated fat
    • Tropical oils such as coconut, palm kernel, and palm oils
    • Fatty meats
    • Processed meats
    • Red meat
    • Full fat dairy products
    • Egg yolks
    • Fried foods
    • Many fast foods and frozen foods (also often high in sodium)
  • Sugar-sweetened foods 
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Salty foods (foods high in sodium)

Aside from the DASH diet, patients with kidney disease should pay attention to the amount of potassium in foods. Patients with kidney disease may need to limit the amount of potassium in the diet. Foods high in potassium to avoid include: 

  • Artichokes
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Beans (baked, black, pinto, etc.)
  • Bran products such as cereals
  • Brown or wild rice
  • Dairy foods
  • Granola 
  • Melons
  • Nuts
  • Oranges and orange juice
  • Plantains
  • Potatoes
  • Prunes 
  • Raisins 
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes 
  • Whole-wheat bread and pasta
  • Winter squash

Kidney Disease Treatment

In addition to diet changes, treatment for chronic kidney disease involves steps to prevent further damage to the kidneys, such as: 

If kidney disease worsens, treatment options may include: 

  • Dialysis
  • Organ transplantation 

What Are Symptoms of Kidney Disease?

Kidney disease often has no symptoms early on. As the condition progresses, fluid retention and swelling (edema) may occur, usually in the legs, feet, or ankles, and sometimes in the hands or face.

Symptoms of advanced kidney disease may include:

What Causes Kidney Disease?

The most common causes of chronic kidney disease include: 

Other causes of kidney disease include:

  • Polycystic kidney disease, a genetic disorder that causes cysts to form in the kidneys
  • Infection
  • Drugs that are toxic to the kidneys
    • Antibiotics
    • Alcohol
    • Pain medicines
    • Laxatives used for cleaning the bowel (such as those used to prep for a colonoscopy
    • Contrast dye (used in some diagnostic tests such as MRIs)
    • Illegal street drugs
  • Lupus (lupus nephritis is the name for kidney disease caused by lupus)
  • Iga glomerulonephritis
  • Autoimmune conditions, such as Anti-GBM (Goodpasture's) disease
  • Heavy metal poisoning, such as lead poisoning 
  • Hemolytic uremic syndrome in children
  • Iga vasculitis
  • Renal artery stenosis
  • Rare genetic conditions, such as Alport syndrome 

A family history of kidney failure is a risk factor for developing kidney disease.

How Is Kidney Disease Diagnosed?

People who have risk factors for developing kidney disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and a family history of kidney failure, should have their kidney function checked regularly since early kidney disease often has no symptoms.

Tests used to diagnose kidney disease include:

  • Blood test: glomerular filtration rate (GFR)
  • Urine test to check for albumin, a protein that can pass into the urine when the kidneys are damaged

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Reviewed on 11/9/2021
References
Image Source: iStock Images

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd

https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/