Food as Medicine for Kidney Disease

Posted on Jul 14, 2022

Kidney disease is a term used when kidneys are unable to function normally, that is, kidneys are not able to filter waste and excess fluid from the blood. When your kidneys are damaged, waste products and fluid can build up in your body. That can cause swelling in your ankles, nausea, weakness, poor sleep, and shortness of breath. If not treated, the damage can get worse and your kidneys may eventually stop working and lead to a life-threatening condition. 

Choose a Kidney-friendly Diet! 

A kidney-friendly diet includes foods that do not cause toxins to build up and are easy to digest. The right balance of proteins, calories, vitamins, and minerals is essential so that there are no excess fluids and the kidneys don’t have to work that harder. Foods rich in antioxidants fight against free radicals and protect the body. Many of the foods that protect against oxidation are included in the kidney diet and make excellent choices for individuals with kidney disease or even for those on dialysis. 

Balance Your Electrolytes

Electrolytes or minerals such as sodium, potassium, and calcium must be consumed in limit. Avoiding table salt and any high sodium seasonings, carbonated drinks is advised. Foods which are rich in calcium usually have high levels of phosphorus too. Limiting the intake of dairy, red meat and fruits like banana and avocado is advised. Intake of low-potassium foods such as cranberries, apples, plums, cucumber, celery, cauliflower, cabbage is recommended. 


The right food can work as medicine or become a cause for deterioration for end-stage renal failure patients. The DASH Diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts. It is low in salt and sodium, added sugars and sweets, fat and red meats. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet has been recommended by the National Kidney Foundation and approved by The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and The American Heart Association. The DASH diet should not be used by people on dialysis. Individuals on dialysis have special dietary needs that should be discussed with a registered dietitian.