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7 Best Foods for Kidney Health

Christian Worstell

by Christian Worstell | Published April 22, 2021 | Reviewed by John Krahnert

More than 26 million adults in the U.S. suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD).1 As with so many chronic illnesses, maintaining a healthy diet and exercise schedule can help prevent the onset of kidney disease. 

Here is a list of seven healthy foods that you can include in your diet to supercharge your kidney health!

Diet and Eating Tips for Avoiding Kidney Disease

As you age, it becomes more important to maintain a healthy diet. Some foods that can help you fight kidney disease and its symptoms include:

Red bell peppers

  1. Red bell peppers

Compared to other fruits and vegetables, red bell peppers are low in potassium, yet they still maintain a high level of antioxidants. Red bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamins A, C and B6, as well as folic acid, lycopene and fiber — all of which are beneficial to people with kidney issues.

Whole and sliced apples

  1. Apples

Apples are full of antioxidants and have been shown to reduce the risks of cancer, constipation and heart disease. Apples are low in potassium and also have beneficial anti-inflammatory compounds (like flavonoids) and lots of fiber (in the form of pectin), which really may help keep the doctor away.


  1. Cranberries

Cranberries are commonly seen as the poster fruit for bladder and urinary health. In addition to helping fight bladder infections, cranberries have been shown to protect against heart disease, ulcers and cancer. Low in sodium, phosphorus, potassium and sugar and high in other beneficial vitamins and minerals, these little berries are a powerful yet tasty addition to a kidney-healthy diet.


  1. Cabbage

Fight free radicals and promote cardiovascular health with this versatile vegetable that won’t elevate your potassium levels. Cabbage is packed with vitamin K, vitamin C, fiber and folic acid. Plus, as an added bonus, cabbage is usually inexpensive.

Egg whites

  1. Egg whites

Egg whites are a great source of protein, and they don't have the high levels of cholesterol and phosphorus found in other proteins, such as red meat or egg yolks. Egg whites are also nutrient-dense, which means they contain a high level of vitamins and minerals within a relatively low number of calories.


  1. Kale

Kale is iron-rich and chocked-full of powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. And, compared to other leafy greens, it does not contain excessive amounts of potassium.

Pouring a glass of water

  1. Fluids

Although they are not technically a food, fluids are critical to healthy kidney function, as your kidneys rely on water to help filter waste from the blood stream. The amount of water you need can vary greatly based on factors such as your age and the climate where you live. Don't overdo it, but make sure you stay properly hydrated!

Support Kidney Function with Antioxidants and Iron

Antioxidants help counteract free radicals formed after the oxidation of fats and cholesterol in our diets — a process which can damage the cells in our bodies. Foods that are rich in antioxidants such as vitamin A and vitamin C can help neutralize this potentially harmful process and have been shown to ward off certain medical conditions, which make them a great choice for people with kidney issues.

Anemia (iron deficiency) can also be a problem for people who suffer from kidney disease because of the kidney’s role in the production of red blood cells. Eating foods rich in iron can help increase your energy levels that may be suffering from low iron.

Senior couple cooks in the kitchen

Avoid Eating Foods High in Potassium and Phosphorus

In addition to targeting the food items and nutrients above, seniors with kidney problems should also limit their intake of foods high in potassium, phosphorus, sodium and animal proteins.

When you consume too many of these nutrients, your kidneys filter the excess from the blood to help maintain healthy levels throughout the body. If your kidneys aren’t working properly, you should try to avoid overworking them.

Good Recipes for Kidney Health

If you need ideas for what to cook, check out some of these kidney-friendly meal ideas:

Fettuccini alfredo

Quick chili

40-second omelet

Baked potato soup

Spicy coconut curry chicken

Buffalo wings

What Is Kidney Disease?

Kidney disease, which affects your body’s ability to filter waste from the blood and maintain a healthy blood pressure, can occur on its own but is also linked to diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, urinary tract infections or autoimmune diseases.

When your kidneys are healthy, they balance water and minerals in your blood stream and remove waste created by food, chemicals and exercise. Kidneys also play a role in your body’s vitamin D production, which is an important vitamin for bone health. Signs of kidney problems include frequent urination, problems urinating and excessive thirst.

Kidney disease becomes chronic after three months of poor kidney function. There are some treatments to help manage the effects and control the symptoms of CKD, although the disease itself has no cure. Some treatments may include medications to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, anemia, swelling and low vitamin D. If your kidneys fail all together (end-stage renal disease), you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Learn More About Staying Healthy With These Featured Articles:

*This content is not medical advice, nor is it a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.


1 Martinac, Paula. The Best Foods to Increase Kidney Function. (Dec. 2, 2018). SF Gate. Retrieved from

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