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Renal Diet Advice - Eating Guidelines About Renal Diets & Hemodialysis - What Foods to Eat If You Are on a Renal Diet Plan

Renal Diet Advice

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Renal Diet Advice - Part 1

How Does Food Affect My Hemodialysis?

Food gives you energy and helps your body repair itself. Food is broken down in your stomach and intestines. Your blood picks up nutrients from the digested food and carries them to all your body cells. These cells take nutrients from your blood and put waste products back into the bloodstream.

When your kidneys were healthy, they worked around the clock to remove wastes from your blood. The wastes left your body when you urinated. Other wastes are removed in bowel movements.

Now your kidneys have stopped working. Hemodialysis removes wastes from your blood. But between sessions, wastes can build up in your blood and make you sick. You can reduce the amount of wastes by watching what you eat and drink. A good meal plan can improve your dialysis and your health.

Your clinic has a dietitian to help you plan meals. A dietitian specializes in food and nutrition. A dietitian with special training in care for kidney health is called a renal dietitian.

Renal Diet & Fluids

You already know you need to watch how much you drink. Any food that is liquid at room temperature also contains water. These foods include soup, Jell-O, and ice cream. Many fruits and vegetables contain lots of water, too. They include melons, grapes, apples, oranges, tomatoes, lettuce, and celery. All these foods add to your fluid intake.

Fluid can build up between dialysis sessions, causing swelling and weight gain. The extra fluid affects your blood pressure and can make your heart work harder. You could get serious heart trouble from overloading your system with fluid.

Even though you are on hemodialysis, your kidneys may still be able to remove some fluid. Or your kidneys may not remove any fluid at all. That is why every patient has a different daily allowance for fluid.

Renal Diet & Potassium

Potassium is a mineral found in many foods, especially milk, fruits, and vegetables. It affects how steadily your heart beats. Healthy kidneys keep the right amount of potassium in the blood to keep the heart beating at a steady pace. Potassium levels can rise between dialysis sessions and affect your heartbeat. Eating too much potassium can be very dangerous to your heart. It may even cause death.

To control potassium levels in your blood, avoid foods like avocados, bananas, kiwis, and dried fruit, which are very high in potassium. Also, eat smaller portions of other high-potassium foods. For example, eat half a pear instead of a whole pear. Eat only very small portions of oranges and melons.

Dialyzing Potatoes and Other Vegetables

You can remove some of the potassium from potatoes and other vegetables by peeling them, then soaking them in a large amount of water for several hours. Drain and rinse before cooking. Your dietitian will give you more specific information about the potassium content of foods.

Make a food plan that reduces the potassium in your diet.

High-Potassium Foods To Avoid on a Renal diet


Clams - milk - peanuts - sardines - yogurt.


Apricots, Avocados, Bananas, Cantaloupe, Dates, Dried Fruits, Kiwi, Mango, Nectarines, Oranges, Papaya, Pears (fresh), Peaches (fresh), Prunes, Rhubarb, Watermelon.


Artichokes, Brussels Sprouts, Pumpkin, Squash (acorn, butternut), Spinach, Swiss Chard, Succotash, Tomato (fresh), Tomato (juice, paste, puree), Vegetable Juice, Beans (baked, lima, pinto, navy), Lentils.

Potatoes: use cautiously! Limit baked potatoes (1 medium) or French fries (15 fries) to once a week. Limit mashed potatoes (soaked and boiled) to 1/2 cup a day. Noodles or rice are other choices that are lower in potassium than potatoes.

Fruit Juices

Grapefruit Juice, Orange Juice, Pineapple Juice, Prune Juice.

Note: chocolate is high in potassium.

Low Potassium Fruits and Vegetables

The following fruits and vegetables are low in potassium and are good choices to use. One fruit serving is 1 medium fruit or 1/2 cup canned. One vegetable serving is 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup tossed salad.


Apples, Applesauce, Canned Apricots, Blueberries, Cherries, Cranberries, Coconut, Figs, Fruit Cocktail, Grapefruit (1/2 fresh), Grapes, Canned Peaches, Canned Pears, Pineapple, Strawberries, Tangerine.


Asparagus, Bamboo Shoots, Green Beans, Wax Beans, Beets, Bell Peppers, Broccoli (cooked), Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chili Peppers, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Greens (collard, mustard, kale), Lettuce, Mushrooms, Onions, Peas, Radishes, Squash, Tomatoes (canned, no salt added).


Apple Juice, Cranberry Juice, Grape Juice.


For next page, click Renal Diets Advice Part 2


For more information about Renal diets, see:
Renal Diet Guidelines
Renal Diet Foods
Renal Diet Support


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