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Can You Reverse Diabetic Kidney Disease With Food?

Kidney failure, a result of kidney disease, afflicts 30 percent of people with type 1 diabetes and 10 to 40 percent of people with type 2 diabetes, according to the National Kidney Foundation 3. It is important to talk with your doctor about your risks of kidney disease and what you can do to prevent it. If you develop kidney disease, there are changes you can make to your diet to help reverse or slow the disease, but it is necessary to discuss dietary changes with your doctor before beginning them 1. Keep in mind that not all kidney disease is reversible.

Remove high protein animal meats from your diet. According to the American Diabetes Association, the intake of protein makes the kidneys have to work harder and often low protein diets are recommended for people experiencing kidney failure 2. Avoiding the high protein amounts of meats can help decrease the stress on your kidneys.

List of Restricted Foods for Kidney Problems

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Consume small amounts of plant-based protein to help you get essential amino acids without adding too much protein to your diet. Eat plant-based proteins such as beans, nuts, tofu or peanut butter. Follow your doctor’s specific recommendations on how many grams of protein you should consume daily because it will vary from person to person.

Limit your intake of salt to 1,500 mg per day. Consuming too much salt can increase your blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association, your kidney disease can quickly worsen with even slight increases to your blood pressure 2. Talk to your doctor your specific salt limitations. Add flavor to your foods with salt-free herbs and spices. Read labels to ensure the foods you buy do not contain too much salt. Many frozen foods, prepackaged foods and canned goods contain added salt. MedlinePlus recommends looking for foods that, per serving, contain less than 100 mg of salt.

What Foods Are Good for Kidney Function?

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Avoid consuming too much potassium. When you have kidney disease your potassium levels can rise and cause your heart to beat abnormally. Control your potassium by eating fruits such as peaches, grapes, pears, cherries, apples, berries, plums, tangerines and watermelons, notes MedlinePlus. Stick to vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, green beans, lettuce, onions, peppers, yellow squash and zucchini, reports MedlinePlus. Other fruits and vegetables may add to much potassium to your diet.

Eat enough iron. Your iron levels can decrease when you have kidney disease. Have your doctor check your iron levels regularly to determine how much iron rich foods you need to add to your diet. Add iron to your diet by eating cereal that has been fortified with iron, beans, lentils and white meat chicken.

Consume regular amounts of whole grain rich foods. Eat brown rice, whole grain pasta, quinoa, oatmeal, whole grain cereals and whole grain crackers. Whole grains can provide you with a healthy amount of nutrients and calories to keep your body function properly. Read nutrition labels on whole grain products to determine the amount of protein they contain and factor this into you’re the amount allotted for your low protein diet.


Kidney disease is serious and may require the use of medication, dialysis and even a kidney transplant to reverse the effects.