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Diet for Kidney and Dialysis Patients

By Dr. Jatin Kothari in Nanavati Max Institute of Renal Sciences & Transplant , Kidney Transplant Unit

Apr 24 , 2023 | 5 min read

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Kidneys perform a host of crucial functions in the body, including blood filtration, maintaining electrolyte balance, regulating blood pressure, and producing urine. But sometimes, the kidneys get damaged because of diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, or poor lifestyle and diet. When the kidneys fail to work, fluid and toxic wastes accumulate in the body. Therefore, kidney and dialysis patients need to maintain a special diet to lead a quality life.

What's a Kidney-Friendly Diet?

The kidney's functions include balancing the body's minerals: salt and potassium. Kidneys balance the body's fluids and make hormones that affect the working of several organs. The diet chart for kidney patients should be such that it protects the kidneys from damage. 

  • The diet for dialysis patients should limit certain foods and fluids so that electrolytes do not accumulate in the body.
  • The body needs the right balance of calories, vitamins, proteins, and minerals to protect the kidneys from further damage.
  • Excess sodium can lead to high blood pressure, swollen ankles, shortness of breath, and fluid build-up in the heart and lungs. Therefore, you should cut down on table salt and high-sodium seasonings.

What is a Kidney-Friendly Eating Plan?

The diet chart for kidney patients should include the following:

  • Choose the right types of fat in the diet for dialysis patients. Try to include healthy fats such as olive oil.
  • Food for dialysis patients should include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Unhealthy carbs such as soft drinks, sugar, sugary drinks, and hard candies should be eliminated from the diet for kidney dialysis patients.
  • Sodium-rich packaged foods are one of the major food for dialysis patients to avoid. Excess sodium can lead to fluid retention in the body, leading to swelling and high blood pressure.

Why is a Kidney-Friendly Eating Plan Essential?

A diet chart for kidney patients is necessary to manage the disease and prevent further damage. A kidney-friendly eating plan prevents certain minerals from accumulating in the body. Diet for kidney dialysis patients also prevents diabetes and high blood pressure. A balanced diet for kidney dialysis patients provides energy for daily tasks, builds muscles, prevents infections, and helps maintain a healthy weight.

How Can I Follow a Kidney-Friendly Eating Plan?

A kidney-friendly eating plan should include the following nutrients in the right amounts:

  • Include food with protein - Protein provides energy and helps the body to build muscles and heal faster. So, a dialysis patient's food list should contain proteins in the right amount. 
  • Add healthy fats - Healthy fats are a must in the diet chart for kidney dialysis patients. Besides providing energy, fats help absorb vitamins from food and maintain the right body temperature.
  • Consume carbs - Foods for dialysis patients should also include carbs in the right proportion. Carbs can convert into energy more easily than fats and proteins.

Food for Dialysis Patients

Food for dialysis patients differs from one patient to another and depends on the extent of the damage. Most diet for dialysis patients focuses on eliminating or limiting sodium, potassium, and phosphorus-rich foods. Dialysis patients can have the following food items:

  • Cauliflower which is rich in vitamin K, B, and C.
  • Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants and nutrients. It can prevent cancer, heart problems, and diabetes. Moreover, it can be included in a renal diet because it is low in sodium and potassium.
  • Egg whites are protein-rich and contain 110 mg sodium and 108 mg potassium.
  • Garlic is loaded with vitamins and manganese and can be used as a substitute for salt.
  • Pineapple is low in potassium and a great source of fibre, manganese, and vitamin C.

Diet Chart for Kidney Patients

Diet for dialysis patients and kidney patients can be enjoyable and tasty if cooked properly.

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Snacks

2 egg whites

3/4the cup lentils

2 pieces of vegetable cutlet

Corn idli

1 rice Idli

2 pieces chapati

Half cup pulao

1 tablespoon coriander chutney

I tablespoon coriander chutney

Half cup vegetable with cauliflower and leached potatoes

Half cup stir-fried vegetables

1 cup water or unsweetened tea

Half cup sambar

Half cup mixed fruits (apples and grapes)

 

 

Half cup tea

Half cup salad (cucumber, lettuce, olive oil, spinach)

 

 

Conclusion

The diet chart of a kidney or dialysis patient should be discussed with a doctor instead of following a random food habit. Every food a kidney patient consumes directly affects the kidneys and might further damage them. But that does not mean kidney patients need to starve or not eat healthy and tasty foods. The dietician or doctor will chalk out the perfect food plan that will be beneficial for kidney and dialysis patients.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What fruit is good for the kidneys?

Fruits are rich in antioxidants and, therefore, good for kidney patients. Fruits can be added to dialysis patient food lists if they are not rich in potassium and phosphorus. Strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, apples, grapes, pineapples, oranges, lemons, pears, plums, peaches, and cherries are good for kidneys.

What food does a dialysis patient eat for breakfast?

A dialysis patient should eat a breakfast that is high in proteins and low in sodium. They can have egg whites for protein. They can also include rice idli with coriander chutney and a half cup of sambar to their diet, along with half a cup of tea.

What foods need to be avoided by a dialysis patient?

Foods for dialysis patients to avoid are those rich in sodium, potassium, and phosphorus. Moreover, processed meat, dark-coloured cold drinks and sodas, dried fruits, most lentils, packaged foods, fruit juices, leafy green vegetables, and snack foods should be avoided.

Will my eating plan be different if I have diabetes?

Yes, your eating plan will be different if you have diabetes and kidney disease. Your diet chart will exclude anything high in sugar content. Diabetes makes kidney disease worse. Therefore doctors will be more cautious in setting your diet chart.

Which juice is best for the kidneys?

The best thing to maintain kidney health is water. But when you suffer from kidney disease, your water intake is limited as the kidneys cannot drain out the excess water. Apart from water, lemon juice and cranberry juice are best for kidneys.

What foods should you avoid if you have kidney problems?

You should avoid foods rich in sodium, potassium, and phosphorus if you have kidney problems. You should also avoid processed food and snacks, green leafy vegetables, lentils, sugary drinks, and dried fruits.