Best foods for patients on dialysis

Nurse preparing patient for dialysis in hospital on Picspree

Written by Ekta Sanoria MSc (Food Technology), medically reviewed by Dr Ajay Kumar Tiwari MD (Ay.) and Dr Shyam Sundar Gupta PhD (Biotechnology)

Currently about 10% people of the world are suffering from the kidney diseases. The kidneys looks small but it performs very important functions like waste products filtration, balancing of body fluids, urine production.

When kidneys are not functioning properly, your doctor may suggest for dialysis.

Dialysis removes excess body fluids, toxins and solutes from the blood of patients whose kidneys are not functioning naturally (1). Diet plays a very crucial role to maintain levels of sodium, potassium, phosphorus, protein and fluids in blood (2).

Take Low-Sodium Foods

Dialysis patients are advised to limited use of sodium and it should not be more than 2,000 milligrams per day. Home cooked meals with fresh herbs, meats, vegetables, fruits and spices are good to control added sodium. Pre-packaged and canned foods should be avoided due to high in sodium (3).

Take High Protein Foods

The dialysis patients need more protein for healthy blood protein levels and improved health. Proteins also help in faster wound healing, strengthen of muscles and immune system, and improving health.  Patients should take high protein foods (fresh meat, poultry, fish, pork, or eggs without any high- salty gravy or sauces) at meal (4).

NotePeanut butter, seeds, nuts, peas, dried beans, and lentils have protein, but these foods are usually avoided because of high in both phosphorus and potassium.

Take Limited Fluids

The majority of dialysis patients should limit fluid intake because fluid can increase blood pressure, cause swelling, harm the heart, and make discomfort dialysis. The patient should drink a precise amount of fluids recommended by doctor depending on the amount of urine production. The prescribed quantity of fluid will keep hydrated, but it will not cause retaining of the high amount of fluid between dialysis periods. Apple, cranberry and grape juice is excellent for patients. Coffee, water, tea, and clear sodas can also assist to keep patients hydrated (5).

Monitor Intake of Potassium in Foods

Grains, cereal, breads, cereal, fruits and vegetables are full of higher amounts of potassium. Potassium chloride is found in major amount in salt substitutes (6). Dialysis patients should be careful while using these foods in the meal.

Take Limited High Phosphorus Foods

Dialysis patients should avoid overeating of high phosphorus foods. Milk, meat, cola, whole grains and dairy products contain high amount of phosphorus foods. Meat is a good protein source dialysis patients, therefore other high phosphorus foods should be taken in control. Prefer white starches in place of whole grains. Lemon-lime soda can be taken in place of dark colas to reduce the phosphorus level (7).

What should be taken by dialysis patients?

  • Broccoli
  • Lettuce
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrot
  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Eggplant
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Peppers (all types)
  • Zucchini and yellow squash
  • Radish

What should be avoided by dialysis patients?

  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Beets
  • Avocado
  • Cooked spinach
  • Asparagus (cooked)
  • Tomatoes
  • Orange

Note: Please consult your family doctor before applying any health tips of Amrit Health Tips website (