Kidney-Friendly Foods to Love

Living with kidney disease can prove to be challenging when it comes to dietary restrictions. Depending on the level of kidney damage, dietary restrictions can vary from patient to patient. It’s important to follow a renal diet to decrease the accumulation of waste products in the blood, improve overall kidney function, and prevent further damage. The first step is always to consult with your doctor before changing or starting a new diet

Foods to Enjoy
Creating delicious meals that follow a renal diet is completely attainable. Here are a few of our favorite kidney-friendly ingredients:

    • Vegetables: garlic, onion, cabbage, bell peppers, radish, and turnips

    • Fruits: blueberries, pineapples, and cranberries

    • Grains: bulgur and buckwheat

    • Protein: sea bass, skinless chicken, and egg whites 

    • Macadamia nuts

    • Shiitake mushrooms

Following a renal diet does not mean restriction to a small selection of foods. This can be an amazing opportunity for patients to learn more about the purpose of the foods they are consuming.

Indulge in Something Sweet
Candies do not need to be completely thrown out of a kidney-friendly diet. These are a select few that can still be enjoyed:

    • Hard Candy

    • Jelly Beans

    • Gummy Bears

    • and more!

Like all foods, sweets should be consumed in limited quantities and you should consult with a renal dietitian or your health team prior to integrating any new foods into your diet.

Foods to Avoid
Before exploring the variety of nutrient-rich food that can increase kidney function, let’s look at which foods should be avoided. 

    • Vegetables: avocados, tomatoes, potatoes and sweet potatoes

    • Fruits: bananas, oranges, apricots

    • Greens: swiss chard, spinach, beet greens 

    • Grains: brown rice and whole wheat bread

    • Packaged, instant, premade, and canned foods

    • Pickles, olives, relishes

    • Pretzels, chips, crackers

    • Dark-colored soda

    • Dairy

What do all these foods have in common? They are high in potassium, phosphorus, and sodium. Those with kidney failure cannot adequately remove excess levels of these minerals. 

The KidneySPA team is here to guide you toward a healthy, kidney-safe diet that is nutritious and delicious -- and not just dialysis patients! We see non-dialysis patients for regular consultations to help them be their healthiest selves.

Dialysis and Depression

Undergoing dialysis can create a heavy toll on many patients’ mental health. They can often feel social isolation, loneliness, anxiety, and depression. This month, we honor National Depression Screening Day on Oct. 7 by advising our patients to take an online depression screening.

How to Detect Early Signs of Depression
Early detection of depression is possible with the help of medical professionals. Signs of depression can include: 

    • Persistent feeling of sadness or anxiousness

    • Restlessness and irritability

    • Fatigue or loss of energy

    • Feeling guilty, hopeless, or worthless

    • Thoughts of suicide or death

Understanding the symptoms of depression is the first step. People exhibiting any symptoms should seek help from their doctor or health team.

Effects of Depression on Dialysis
Depression can have a tremendous impact on a patient’s quality of life, mentally and physically. According to the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, people undergoing dialysis who are diagnosed with depression are more likely to become hospitalized and tend to spend more days in the hospital. Some research shows depression might encourage changes in the immune system and trigger dietary issues. Due to this, it is crucial dialysis patients seek treatment if feeling symptoms of depression.

How to Cope Living with Dialysis
Managing mental health has its challenges. Many patients have opted to participate in peer support programs where they are able to share feelings with like-minded individuals. Peer support programs have shown to:

    • Help dialysis patients adjust to living with a chronic illness

    • Improve well-being

    • Decrease feeling of isolation

    • Promote better self-management

Peer support allows patients to share experiences that can be seen as common and normal to others. Patients are advised to speak to their medical professionals and ask about their peer support program options. 

At KidneySPA we are deeply invested in our patients’ physical and mental health. An online screening proves to be a helpful resource but is not an official diagnosis. We encourage patients to reach out to their doctors and health team.