We take our kidneys for granted until there are problems. Here are a few dietary changes you can make to alleivate kidney issues.

Change diet for failing kidneys

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Do you ever think about your kidneys? Probably not – right? Even though they work every day, around the clock to filter 200 quarts of fluid.

We take them for granted, until there are problems. Millions of folks have kidney disease, and it is often associated with uncontrolled diabetes or elevated blood pressure.

A key symptom of kidney problems is a sudden weight gain or swelling in hands and feet. Also, your lab work may show that there protein spilling into the urine.

Are there dietary changes to make if your kidneys are not doing so well? The answer is yes. Be sure to go by the suggestions of your physician, of course.

Nutrients that may put a strain on our kidneys:

Less protein.

  • Eat smaller servings of dairy, eggs, fish, poultry or red meats
  • Use a small amount of protein in soups, stews, casserole and stir frys where the focus is NOT on the protein, but on the other ingredients.
  • Serve meatless meals often such as pasta with marinara sauce or vegetarian stir fry with rice.

Less sodium.

  • Make dishes from scratch rather than rely on convenience foods.
  • Focus on fruits and vegetables, rice and pasta – all naturally low in sodium.
  • Season with black, herbs and spices and flavorful vinegars.

Less potassium.

These foods are naturally lower in potassium:

  • Apple, berries and grapes
  • Green beans, squash and carrots
  • Rice, oats and pasta


About the Author

Rita Smith is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's been working in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for more than 35 years, and currently works at Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. Each week, Rita provides nutrition counseling to clients who have a variety of disorders or diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis and weight management. For these clients, food choices can help them manage their health problems.