What Are Foods You Can Eat on a Renal Diet?

A renal failure diet includes limited amounts of starches, vegetables, fruits, dairy products and meat products, according to Drugs.com. The diet focuses on controlling intake of protein, phosphorus and other minerals to lower the body’s waste production, thus improving kidney function and helping delay total renal failure.

Individuals who want to start a renal failure diet should consult a dietitian who can advise appropriate amounts of foods, notes Drugs.com. A kidney disease patient with high blood pressure or excess fluid in his body should consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium daily. Individuals with high potassium blood levels should also limit intake of fruits and vegetables. Low-potassium vegetables include green beans, raw cabbage, cucumber and lettuce, whereas low-potassium fruits include blueberries, cranberries and grapes.

Cranberries and other berries are beneficial for those with renal disease, according to DaVita. Cranberries have the added benefit of preventing UTIs, while blueberries are rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants. Red grapes are recommended for their flavonoid content and ability to improve circulation. Egg whites are highly recommended as a protein source for those on the renal diet, as they contain all essential amino acids while containing less phosphorous than other sources. Fish is acceptable as a protein source, and it also provides heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Red peppers are an excellent food for those on the renal diet, as they are low in potassium but high in fiber, vitamins C, A, and B6, and lycopene, explains DaVita. Cabbage is also a low-potassium food rich in vitamins K and C, and it contains free radical-fighting phytochemicals. Garlic may be an suitable substitute for garlic salt, and it also has anti-inflammatory and cholesterol lowering properties. Onions are recommended for their low potassium and high flavonoid content.

Breads, hamburger buns, cereals and cooked pasta are allowed sources of starches on a renal diet, states Drugs.com. Dietitians also recommend low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, ice cream and cheese. Salt should be avoided when preparing meat products. Renal failure patients should choose healthy fats, such as margarine, mayonnaise and oil-based salad dressing.

Nutritionists may advise patients with kidney disease to take a vitamin or mineral supplement, says Drugs.com. Salt substitutes must be avoided, as they can increase potassium levels.