What Are the Best Foods to Eat for Kidney Disease?

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in highly acidic animal meats slows the progression of kidney disease, significantly reducing the risk of kidney failure, according to a 2015 study cited by WebMD. Rice milk, refined grains, and other low phosphorous foods are also recommended, adds Mayo Clinic.

Studies show that individuals who eat high-acid diets have three times the risk of kidney failure, reports WebMD. Poorly functioning kidneys are not able to clear acid from the body efficiently, resulting in a condition called metabolic acidosis. A meat-rich, high-acid diet has been shown to worsen metabolic acidosis by contributing additional acid loads to the body that the kidneys cannot process and excrete in the urine, significantly speeding up the progression of kidney disease.

Impaired kidneys cannot clear phosphorous from the blood, which results in a condition called hyperphosphatemia, states Mayo Clinic. The excess phosphorous drives calcium levels down, and this imbalance can lead to bone disease. Individuals with kidney disorders require no more than 1,000 milligrams of phosphorous in a day. Because high-protein foods are high-phosphorous foods, whole grains, organ meats, nuts, seeds and high-fat dairy products should be avoided in favor of lower phosphorous options. Processed foods are often high in phosphorous, so checking labels is crucial for individuals with kidney disease.