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The Best and Worst Foods for Kidney Disease

Learn the best and worst foods for kidney disease to help reduce symptoms and possibly even slow the progression of the disease.

As they say, we are what we eat, and for people with kidney disease, it is vital that an effective dietary plan is followed to cut down on symptoms like an upset stomach, swelling, pain, and more. In addition, following a kidney-healthy diet might even slow down the development of the disease. If you are providing care for a loved one with kidney concerns, it is important to know the best and worst foods for kidney disease, such as:


High levels of salt in the diet can result in the retention of fluids and high blood pressure, and can force the heart to work harder. Sodium should be limited to no more than 2 grams per day for those with kidney disease. One way to assist is to refrain from serving foods that include large levels of salt, such as:

  • Pickled foods
  • Chips, pretzels, and crackers
  • Nuts
  • Canned foods
  • Processed or smoked meats
  • Condiments such as soy sauce, ketchup, and barbecue sauce

NOTE: Pay close attention to salt substitutes and “reduced sodium” foods, which in many instances are high in potassium.


Potassium is a mineral, and is found in practically all kinds of foods. Our bodies require potassium to keep our muscles working, but when somebody is going through dialysis, potassium levels have to be monitored very closely. Getting too much or too little potassium can result in muscle cramps, erratic heartbeat and muscle weakness. The doctor or dietitian can decide how much potassium is ideal for the particular person.


Even though protein is an essential nutrient, when the kidneys are not performing properly, extra protein can accumulate in the blood. Individuals with kidney disease need to consume no more protein than what is needed by the body. When treatment starts early, a diet low in protein along with essential amino acids at appropriate levels during each meal is known to prevent the need for, or at least push back the need for dialysis, and in fact may even reverse some kidney problems.

Vitamins and Minerals

People with kidney disease may require additional supplements of vitamins to minimize some of the common side effects of kidney failure, including bone disease or anemia, but they should only be taken if instructed by the doctor.

For more resources on providing care for a loved one with kidney disease, or to find out how a professional in-home caregiver can improve health and quality of life, contact CareFor at (512) 338-4533. We’ll be happy to arrange a free in-home meeting at your convenience to answer all of your questions and provide you with the information you need. Visit our Service Area page to see all of the locations we serve in Texas.

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