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- National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Chronic Kidney Disease-Mineral and Bone Disorder
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According to the National Kidney Association, the leading cause of death among patients with chronic kidney disease is heart disease. For this reason, kidney patients are routinely advised to follow a heart-healthy diet. The American Heart Association recommends a heart-healthy diet that includes 4.5 cups of fruit and vegetables per day, whole grains and four servings of nuts, legumes and seeds 1. This dietary regiment conflicts with dietary restrictions for patients with advanced kidney disease who have to limit their intake of potassium and phosphorus; many heart-healthy choices contain large amounts of these minerals.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, patients with chronic kidney disease can satisfy the vegetable requirements of a heart-healthy diet with small servings of asparagus, green beans, celery, peas, zucchini, onion, mushrooms and corn 23. Half-cup servings of these vegetables qualify as low-potassium foods.
Many other vegetables such as acorn squash, butternut squash, beets, broccoli should be avoided because they are high potassium foods.
Cooked carrots are a heart-healthy choice for patients with advanced kidney disease. Raw carrots, however are off limits because they contain too much potassium.
- According to the National Kidney Foundation, patients with chronic kidney disease can satisfy the vegetable requirements of a heart-healthy diet with small servings of asparagus, green beans, celery, peas, zucchini, onion, mushrooms and corn 2.
- Many other vegetables such as acorn squash, butternut squash, beets, broccoli should be avoided because they are high potassium foods.
20 Percent Kidney Function
Fruits such as bananas, melons of all kinds, mangoes, oranges and dried fruits contain too much potassium and should be avoided by patients with advanced kidney disease.
Some high-potassium foods such as potatoes and sweet potatoes can be enjoyed by patients with advanced chronic kidney disease if the potassium is leached out of them. The National Kidney Foundation recommends cutting the potatoes into small pieces and soaking them for several hours in ten times their volume of warm water 23. After soaking, the potatoes should be rinsed and cooked in a large volume of freshly drawn water.
- Some high-potassium foods such as potatoes and sweet potatoes can be enjoyed by patients with advanced chronic kidney disease if the potassium is leached out of them.
- The National Kidney Foundation recommends cutting the potatoes into small pieces and soaking them for several hours in ten times their volume of warm water 2.
Eating Too Much Potassium
Most foods naturally contain some phosphorus, and phosphates added to foods to extend their shelf life add more. Milk, hard cheese, beer, dried beans, peas, nuts, nut butters, cocoa and dark colored-sodas contain a lot of phosphorus, and should be avoided by kidney patients whose serum phosphorus levels are high. The National Kidney Foundation recommends that kidney patients replace milk in coffee with nondairy creamer, replace dried beans with green beans, hard cheeses with low-fat cream cheeses and ice cream with sorbet or a fruit Popsicle, all of which are heart-healthy alternatives 23.
20 Percent Kidney Function
Eating Too Much Potassium
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- American Heart Association: Healthy Diet Goals
- National Kidney Foundation: Potassium and Your CKD Diet
- National Kidney Foundation: Phosphorus and your CKD Diet
- Cleveland Clinic. Kidney Failure. Last Reviewed January 10, 2018.
- Potpara TS, Jokic V, Dagres N, et al. Cardiac Arrhythmias in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease: Implications of Renal Failure for Antiarrhythmic Drug Therapy. Curr Med Chem. 2016;23(19):2070-83. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehy060
- Centers for Disease Control. National Chronic Kidney Disease Fact Sheet. 2017. Published 2017.
- Kazancioğlu R. Risk factors for chronic kidney disease: an update. Kidney Int Suppl (2011). 2013;3(4):368-371. doi:10.1038/kisup.2013.79
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Choosing a Treatment for Kidney Failure. Published January 2018.
- Kim, D., Kim, M, Kim, H. et al. Early Referral to a Nephrologist Improved Patient Survival: Prospective Cohort Study for End-Stage Renal Disease in Korea. PLoS One. 2013. 8(1):e55323.
- Smart, N., and T. Titus. Outcomes of Early versus Late Nephrology Referral in Chronic Kidney Disease: A Systematic Review. American Journal of Medicine. 2011. 124(11):1073-80.e2.
- Smart, N., Dieberg, G., Ladhani, M., and T. Titus. Early Referral to Specialist Nephrology Services for Preventing Progression to End-Stage Kidney Disease. Cochrane Database for Systematic Reviews. 2014. (6):CD007333.
Shelly Morgan has been writing and editing for over 25 years for various medical and scientific publications. Although she began her professional career in pharmacological research, Morgan turned to patent law where she specialized in prosecuting patents for medical devices. She also writes about renal disease and hypertension for several nonprofits aimed at educating and supporting kidney patients.