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Kidney Health (1)Understanding your kidneys is the first step in taking control of your health. Following a kidney-friendly diet, taking good care of diabetes, hypertension and other health conditions and not smoking may help your kidneys function better and longer, even when you have kidney disease.

Your kidneys — two bean-shaped organs located in your lower back — are your body’s filtration system, cleaning wastes and extra fluids from your body and producing and balancing chemicals that are necessary for your body to function. Healthy kidneys also:

  • Clean and filter your blood
  • Produce urine
  • Produce hormones
  • Control blood pressure
  • Keep bones strong


Understanding your stage can help you learn how to take control and slow the progression of kidney disease. The stages of renal disease are not based on symptoms alone. Instead, they reflect how effectively the kidneys eliminate waste from the blood by using an equation that estimates kidney function, known as glomerular filtration rate (GFR). Determining your GFR requires a simple blood test.

How did I get kidney disease?

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the top causes of kidney diseases. Another form of CKD is glomerulonephritis, a general term for many types of kidney inflammation. Genetic diseases (such as polycystic kidney disease, or PKD), autoimmune diseases, birth defects, acute kidney failure and other problems can also cause kidney disease.


Prevention Tips

  • Quit alcohol and smoking
  • Lose Weight if You’re Overweight or Obese
  • Follow a Healthy Diet Eat right by limiting foods that are high in protein, saturated fats, phosphorus, potassium and sodium, all of which can put extra strain on your kidneys
  • Lower Salt in Your Diet
  • Exercise


Use this brochure as a guide until your dietitian prepares a personalized meal plan for you. You will need to:

  • Eat more high protein foods.
  • Eat less high salt, high potassium, and high phosphorus foods.
  • Learn how much fluid you can safely drink (including coffee, tea, and water).

Salt & Sodium

  • Use less salt and eat fewer salty foods: this may help to control blood pressure and reduce weight gains between dialysis sessions.
  • Use herbs, spices, and low-salt flavor enhancers in place of salt.
  • Avoid salt substitutes made with potassium.


People on dialysis need to eat more protein. Protein can help maintain blood protein levels and improve health. Eat a high protein food (meat, fish, poultry, fresh pork, or eggs) at every meal, or about 8-10 ounces of high protein foods everyday.

3 ounce = the size of a deck of cards, a medium pork chop, a ¼ pound hamburger patty, ½ chicken breast, a medium fish fillet.

1 ounce = 1 egg or ¼-cup egg substitute, ¼-cup tuna, ¼-cup ricotta cheese, 1 slice of low sodium lunchmeat.

NoteEven though peanut butter, nuts, seeds, dried beans, peas, and lentils have protein, these foods are generally not recommended because they are high in both potassium and phosphorus.


Unless you need to limit your calorie intake for weight loss and/or manage carbohydrate intake for blood sugar control, you may eat, as you desire from this food group. Grains, cereals, and breads are a good source of calories. Most people need 6 -11 servings from this group each day.

 Amounts equal to one serving:

·         1 slice bread (white, rye, or sourdough)

·         ½ English muffin

·         ½ bagel

·         ½ hamburger bun

·         ½ hot dog bun

·         1 6-inch rotiyan

·         ½ cup cooked pasta

·         ½ cup cooked white rice

·         ½ cup cooked cereal (like cream of wheat)

·         1 cup cold cereal (like corn flakes or crispy rice)

·         4 unsalted crackers

·         1½ cups unsalted popcorn

·         10 vanilla wafers

Avoid “whole grain” and “high fiber” foods (like whole wheat bread, bran cereal and brown rice) to help you limit your intake of phosphorus. By limiting dairy–based foods you protect your bones and blood vessels.


Limit your intake of milk, yogurt, and cheese to ½-cup milk or ½-cup yogurt or 1-ounce cheese per day. Most dairy foods are very high in phosphorus.

The phosphorus content is the same for all types of milk – skim, low fat, and whole! If you do eat any high-phosphorus foods, take a phosphate binder with that meal.

 Dairy foods “low” in phosphorus:
(ask your dietitian about the serving size that is right for you)

  • Butter and tub margarine
  • Cream cheese
  • Heavy cream
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Brie cheese
  • Non-dairy whipped topping
  • Sherbet

If you have or are at risk for heart disease, some of the high fat foods listed above may not be good choices for you.

Certain brands of non-dairy creams and “milk” (such as rice milk) are low in phosphorus and potassium. Ask your dietitian for details.


All fruits have some potassium, but certain fruits have more than others and should be limited or totally avoided. Limiting potassium protects your heart.

 Limit or avoid:

·         Oranges and orange juice

·         Kiwis

·         Nectarines

·         Prunes and prune juice

·         Raisins and dried fruit

·         Bananas

·         Melons (cantaloupe and honeydew)

Always AVOID star fruit (carambola).


Eat 2-3 servings of low potassium fruits each day.
One serving = ½-cup or 1 small fruit or 4 ounces of juice.


·         Apple (1)

·         Berries (½ cup)

·         Cherries (10)

·         Fruit cocktail, drained (½ cup)

·         Grapes (15)

·         Peach (1 small fresh or canned, drained)

·         Pear, fresh or canned, drained (1 halve)

·         Pineapple (½ cup canned, drained)

·         Plums (1-2)

·         Tangerine (1)

·         Watermelon (1 small wedge)


·         Apple cider

·         Cranberry juice cocktail

·         Grape juice

·         Lemonade


All vegetables have some potassium, but certain vegetables have more than others and should be limited or totally avoided. Limiting potassium intake protects your heart.


Eat 2-3 servings of low-potassium vegetables each day. One serving = ½-cup.


·         Broccoli (raw or cooked from frozen)

·         Cabbage

·         Carrots

·         Cauliflower

·         Celery

·         Cucumber

·         Eggplant

·         Garlic

·         Green and Wax beans (“string beans”)

·         Lettuce-all types (1 cup)

·         Onion

·         Peppers-all types and colors

·         Radishes

·         Watercress

·         Zucchini and Yellow squash

Limit or avoid:

·         Potatoes (including French Fries, potato chips and sweet potatoes)

·         Tomatoes and tomato sauce

·         Winter squash

·         Pumpkin

·         Asparagus (cooked)

·         Avocado

Beets (chukandar)·         Beet greens

·         Cooked spinach

Parsnips and rutabaga (shalajam)


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