Eating a healthy diet is important to kidney function. The kidneys have a lot of work to do and it is a dirty job. When we put foods into our bodies that are unhealthy, we put stress on the kidneys. If you already have healthy kidneys you can do a lot of prevention through nutrition. If you are in the later stages of kidney disease, you have to adjust your diet according to your nephrologist and dietitian because the rules of your diet change a lot. For example, to keep kidneys healthy you must drink a lot of water, but when you are in later stages of kidney disease, you have to limit your fluid intake. The following advice is for people with two healthy kidneys (or if you are a living donor like me, then your one healthy kidney). If you are in the early stages of kidney disease, following a better diet can prevent further damage.

*Consult your doctor before changing your diet.

DO eat:

  • low sodium diet
  • daily allowances for potassium, phosphorus & calcium
  • a normal amount of protein for you weight and lifestyle
  • egg whites
  • fruits (especially apples and berries)
  • veggies
  • lean meats
  • clean and wild fish
  • oils like sunflower or olive
  • skim milk and low fat yogurt
  • take acetaminophen as a pain reliever
  • eat organic foods when possible to avoid toxins

Don’t eat:

  • egg yolks
  • excessive amounts of protein
  • fish from farms or dirty areas
  • canned meats
  • processed foods
  • genetically modified foods (canola, soy and corn)
  • meats with regular or high amounts of fat
  • hydrogenated oils
  • higher than average amounts of potassium, phosphorus & calcium
  • anything with added salt
  • any high fat dairy and high fat foods
  • more than the recommended daily doses of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprophen)
  • caffeine
  • alcohol
  • artificial sweeteners

Here is another tip that I was surprised to learn when I had the kidney transplant donation surgery. . . When consuming two diet sodas a day, there is a greater risk for developing kidney disease or similar problems with the renal system. (source) It is fairly easy to put back a couple of diet soda’s everyday but try to limit yourself to one and make sure to drink lots of water before and after.