Understanding the Importance of Following a Diet for Healthy Kidneys

Tomatoes and lettuce being prepared for salad

Following a diet for healthy kidneys is possible and can help relieve CKD symptoms.

As they say, you are what you eat, and for those with kidney disease, it is crucial that a proper dietary plan is followed to decrease symptoms, including an upset stomach, pain, swelling and more. Plus, sticking to a kidney-healthy diet may even delay the progression of the disease.  

What Is a Kidney-Healthy Diet? 

If you’re caring for a loved one with kidney disease, it is imperative to know the best and worst diet for healthy kidneys and to make smart nutritional choices, including: 


High levels of salt in the diet can contribute to fluid retention and high blood pressure, and can force the heart to work harder. Salt should be restricted to a maximum of 2 grams per day for those with kidney disease. One way to assist is to avoid serving foods with large quantities of salt, for example: 

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

NOTE: Pay special 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 food. Our bodies need potassium to keep our muscles working, but when a person is undergoing dialysis, potassium levels need to be monitored very closely. Receiving too much or too little potassium can result in muscle cramps, erratic heartbeat and weakness of the muscles. The physician or nutritionist can determine how much potassium is ideal for the specific person. 


Despite the fact that protein is a vital nutrient, when the kidneys are not performing efficiently, surplus protein can accumulate in the blood. Those with kidney disease should consume no more protein than what is required by the body. When treatment begins early, a diet low in protein combined with essential amino acids at recommended levels during each meal is known to prevent the need for, or at least push back the need for dialysis, and in fact might even reverse some kidney problems. 

Vitamins and Minerals 

People with kidney disease might require additional supplements of vitamins to reduce some of the common side effects of kidney failure, such as bone disease or anemia, but they should only be used if instructed by the doctor. 

For more resources on caring for someone with kidney disease, or to learn how our home health professionals can improve health and quality of life, contact Harmony Home Health & Hospice at 1-877-I-NEED-CARE. We’ll be happy to arrange a free in-home meeting at your convenience to answer all of your questions and provide you with information about our home health services in New Mexico and Utah.