Foods for kidney health: What foods are good for the kidneys?

Including recommendations for the best cookbooks to help improve your kidney health.

Foods for kidney health

by Lily Anderson |

Whether you've recently been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease and making the switch to a specialist diet, looking to cut back on salt or want to generally eat healthier, it's important to know what foods are good for kidney health.

A great place to begin your search for the best foods is by reading cookbooks that have recipes and meal plans to follow.

Keep reading to find out our recommendations on the best cookbooks to help improve your kidney health.

What is a renal diet?

According to NephCure Kidney International, "A renal diet is one that is low in sodium, phosphorous, and protein. A renal diet also emphasizes the importance of consuming high-quality protein and usually limiting fluids. Some patients may also need to limit potassium and calcium. Every person’s body is different, and therefore, it is crucial that each patient works with a renal dietitian to come up with a diet that is tailored to the patient’s needs."

The best foods for kidney health

Not sure what foods are good for kidney health? Here are 22 food items that you should introduce into your cooking.

Remember to always consult with a doctor or health care professional before making any health, dietary and lifestyle changes.

©Photo: Adolfo Félix on Unsplash

1 Kale

Full of vitamin carotenoids, flavonoids, and vitamin K, like other dark leafy greens, kale is superb for kidney health. However, the intake of kale should be limited, especially for anyone on dialysis and those with a potassium restriction diet.

2 Sweet potatoes

Like kale, sweet potatoes are high in vitamins and minerals, including potassium. It's suggested that eating sweet potatoes can balance the levels of sodium in the body. Again this isn't recommended for anyone on dialysis or who has been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.

3 Cherries

Rich in antioxidants, cherries are a superfood. Not only are they full of fibre, vitamins and minerals, they also have anti-inflammatory effects. Remember that these are considered a medium potassium food choice and should also be limited, like kale and sweet potatoes.

4 Macadamia nuts

Although nuts often contain high potassium and phosphorus, in small amounts, you can eat macadamia nuts.

©Photo: Lance Grandahl on Unsplash

5 Raspberries

Raspberries are another fruit that have anti-inflammatory properties that are good for your health. Quality Dialysis - a dialysis clinic based in Texas, said, "There has also been evidence to suggest raspberries can help prevent tumours from forming and inhibit cancerous cells from forming."

6 Apples

The saying goes - 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away', right? When it comes to kidney health, apples are a healthy snack that can help cholesterol levels and high blood sugar. Amazing!

7 Cranberries

Do you suffer from water infections? You can prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of your kidneys, urinary tract and bladder, thanks to this delicious fruit.

Related: Quick healthy dinner ideas to try

8 Pineapple

If you've been instructed to limit your potassium intake, it can be hard to find the right substitute snack. Pineapples are a low potassium alternative and rich in fibre, vitamin C and more.

9 Turnips

This root vegetable is not only delicious and wonderful for roast dinners - they are also loaded with vitamin B6 and manganese and are an excellent substitute for potatoes.

10 Radish

Throwing a salad together for lunch? Make sure to include this crunchy vegetable as it boasts loads of incredible benefits. Fruttattiva, a fruit and vegetable warehouse in Italy that has 28 years of experience with food said, "As an excellent diuretic, detergent and disinfectant, the radish helps in treating several kidney disorders, by washing away toxins gathered in kidneys and blood. The disinfectant properties of this tuber also protect kidneys from any infections."

©Photo: Maksim Shutov on Unsplash

11 Strawberries

As well as potentially supporting heart health, regulating blood sugar and helping weight management, strawberries are a good source of antioxidants.

12 Onion

Want to bring flavour to your food without using seasoning like salt? Onions are a brilliant substitute.

13 Bell peppers

Another vegetable that is low in potassium without compromising on flavour, bell peppers are great for anyone who is thinking about their kidney health.

14 Skinless chicken

While you want to watch how much protein you eat if you have kidney disease, it's still essential to eat the right amount of protein to remain healthy. That's why skinless chicken is the perfect alternative. Plus, it has less potassium and sodium than chicken with skin.

©Photo: Dan-Cristian Pădureț on Unsplash

15 Cabbage

Why is cabbage good for kidney health? It's high in things like vitamin C, vitamin B6, fibre and folic acid. We'd recommend turning this into a delicious coleslaw to accompany your next meal.

16 Olive oil

Looking for a healthy fat to cook with? Olive oil is a great option for anyone thinking about kidney health.

17 Garlic

Make your next meal full of flavour by adding garlic. Garlic is a good source of vitamin B6 and Vitamin C. That said, it's also a source of potassium, so you may potentially need to limit how much you consume.

18 Egg whites

Searching for a kidney-friendly protein source? Egg whites are low potassium, which means you can tuck into favourites like scrambled egg on toast and omelette.

Red grapes
©Photo: Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash

19 Red grapes

Enjoy half a cup of this sweet snack and lap up the fact that it reduces inflammation, is packed with nutrients and may even reduce oxidative stress.

20 Sea bass

Fresh fish is good for kidney health, and sea bass, in particular, contains omega-3, a healthy fat. Omega-3 can fight inflammation, reduce fat in your liver and improve bone/joint health.

21 Blueberries

Another fruit that contains antioxidants and is low in sodium, phosphorus and potassium.

22 Cauliflower

Last but not least, cauliflower can be a fantastic replacement for potatoes, rice and more. It's easy to cook with and contains loads of nutrients.

The best cookbooks to help improve your kidney health

Just so you know, while we may receive a commission for purchases made through our links, we never allow this to influence product selections. Why trust us?

If you're following a strict renal diet or looking to reduce your sodium, potassium and phosphorus levels, then these cookbooks will help guide you through foods to eat and avoid as well as tasty recipes to enjoy!

Renal Diet Cookbook: The Low Sodium, Low Potassium, Healthy Kidney Cookbook

Renal Diet Cookbook

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Photo: Amazon

Follow dietician Susan Zogheib's advice on how to deal with a kidney disease diagnosis and tips on how to follow a 28-day plan to establish long-term dietary changes.

Renal Diet Cookbook for the Newly Diagnosed

Renal Diet Cookbook for the Newly Diagnosed

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Photo: Amazon

Are you looking for a book that will support your kidney health? This option offers advice and guidance on how kidney disease works as well as learning how diet plays a role in keeping you healthy and potentially avoid dialysis.

Renal Diet Plan and Cookbook: The Optimal Nutrition Guide to Manage Kidney Disease

Renal Diet Plan and Cookbook: The Optimal Nutrition Guide to Manage Kidney Disease

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Photo: Amazon

Why invest in a cookbook - when you can buy this book that offers a meal plan, healthy cooking techniques and nutrition facts? We love that this gives you back control of mealtimes.

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Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us