According to kidney.com, there are few studies to show if herbal supplements have any real benefits—and even fewer studies have been conducted on their effects on kidney patients.
As with any over-the-counter medication you plan on taking, always consult your physician to ensure it is right for you.
Dried Beans and Lentils
Both of these can be high in phosphorus, so for a healthier lifestyle and to baby your kidneys, we suggest attempting to substitute them with tofu, sourgum, cauliflower florets, tempeh, mushrooms, or eggplant.
Cooking dried beans and lentils also requires a bit more effort than just eating them from a can, making them definitely not worth it!
These are also likely to be high in phosphorus and dangerous to the overall function of a diseased kidney. Substituting unsalted popcorn for a snack or dry mustard for a condiment are much better alternatives for your diet.
As delicious as sunflower seeds may be, the salt content alone makes them super rough on your kidneys.
Nuts and Peanut Butter
Both of these elements are high in potassium and phosphorus. Although you can substitute two tablespoons of peanut butter for red meat, we suggest that you stay away from it as much as possible.
A suitable substitution could be macadamia nuts, jams, jellies, or honey. These options have lower sodium content and lack hydrogenated oils.
Pretzels, Chips, and Crackers
Dates, Raisins, and Prunes
Leafy Green Vegetables
Including but not limited to: swiss chard, beet greens, collard greens, pumpkin, winter squash, and kale. These items all contain high amounts of potassium and should be avoided whenever possible—especially cooked.
Half a cup of leafy green vegetables when cooked reduce to about one tablespoon. Eating half a cup of cooked greens will raise the potassium levels exponentially.
On a regular diet, you might be okay with a sodium intake of 2,000 milligrams per day. However, on a kidney disease-based diet you would need to consult with your physician to find a healthy number based on your specific case.
Regardless, premade meals such as soups, frozen dinners, fast foods, and other premade meals are extremely high in sodium. Rely instead on the regular homemade variety of meals so you can monitor your sodium intake.
Tomatoes are naturally high in potassium, so trying to avoid these is important. Try to find an alternative to tomato sauce in recipes such as red pepper sauce.
As a substitute for fresh tomatoes, try instead onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, or garlic, as these lack the potassium concentration of tomatoes.
Potatoes are another vegetable that’s high in potassium. Avoid baked potatoes and French fries, as these are too high in potassium no matter what.
However, you can have mashed potatoes or hash browns if you soak your potatoes in water first for up to four hours, which reduces the amount of potassium.
Oranges and Orange Juice
This one is probably not much of a surprise, given what we've said about potassium already. Bananas are practically synonymous with the word potassium!
Bananas, as well as cantaloupe, honeydew, grapefruit juice, and prune juice all have high concentrations of potassium in them. Healthy alternatives include apples, berries, grapes, peaches and pineapples.
Whole Wheat Bread
Pickled Foods, Relishes, and Olives
Dairy products have very high amounts of potassium, calcium (which contains phosphorus), and proteins, which means that for a person with a kidney disease these items must be avoided as much as possible.
Try to substitute with unenriched rice milk, non dairy creamers, and sour cream without phosphate additives.
This includes soups, fruits, and vegetables. They are all high in sodium (yes, even the fruits). Look instead for no-salt-added vegetables, a one-cup serving of low-sodium canned soups, or substitute with homemade soups, homemade casseroles, and fresh (or raw) veggies.
Look instead for no-salt-added vegetables, a one-cup serving of low-sodium canned soups, or substitute with homemade soups, homemade casseroles, and fresh (or raw) veggies.
Processed meats such as ham, bacon, sausage, deli meats, chicken tenders or nuggets are high in sodium. And yes, that also includes bologna, pepperoni, salami, and just about every other salty meat you can think of.
Instead, try to incorporate low-sodium tuna, canned salmon, rotisserie chicken, hummus, and egg salad.
These sugary drinks are loaded with phosphorus. Along with dark-colored sodas, you may also need to avoid certain lemonades, fruit-flavored waters, iced teas, and sugared juice-like drinks with 0% actual fruit.
In addition, artificial sweeteners in diet sodas can increase kidney decline with a minimum of two diet drinks per day. Try flavored seltzer water instead or as much regular water as possible.
Many shortenings contain trans fats, which are artificial fats created through a process called hydrogenation. Trans fats have been associated with various health issues, including cardiovascular problems and inflammation.
Individuals with kidney disease are often advised to manage cardiovascular risk factors, making it important to limit the intake of trans fats.
Commercial Baked Goods
Commercially baked foods, like Little Debbie and Hostess snacks, are foods that are also high in trans fats, which in turn makes them tough on your kidneys and your heart. Even certain breads and doughnuts sold commercially may be loaded with trans fats. Always read the labels!
Eat foods like these in moderation or preferably not at all. Nothing good can come from it, and fresh, homemade bread is better anyway.
Pre-Made Refrigerated Dough
Margarine is perhaps one of the worst foods you can eat regarding trans fats. While there is a common misconception that margarine is a healthy alternative to butter, it’s quite the opposite.
Margarine is higher in trans fats than butter, so it would be better to have the real thing – in moderation. And let’s face it: margarine isn’t even good, so why bother having it at all?
Non-Dairy Coffee Creamer
Some non-dairy creamers, especially those that are powdered or liquid, may contain partially hydrogenated oils, which are a source of trans fats. That makes many non-dairy creamers problematic for those with kidney disease.
While you might be cutting back on sugar with these creamers, you might also want to look out for trans fats.
Like alcohol, caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, energy drinks, and sodas are diuretics, so they make you pee more. Thus, if you drink them a lot, you’ll be much more likely to become dehydrated, which will be tough on your kidneys.
That’s made exponentially worse if you are already suffering from kidney disease.
Pizza really has a lot going against it. For one, it contains tomatoes, which are high in potassium. It also has cheese and dairy products, and depending on what you like on your pizza, you may also be throwing some processed meats on there.
On top of all that, it’s incredibly salty, too. Basically, pizza has all the ingredients to wreck your kidneys, so it’s best to avoid it.