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Good Foods for Diabetes & Kidney Disease

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       Kidney disease is a common problem and these small powerful bean-shaped organs perform a range of important functions including filtering waste products, releasing hormones that regulate blood pressure, balancing fluids in the body, producing urine, and many other essential tasks.    Diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common risk factors for kidney disease, however, obesity, smoking, genetics, gender, and age may also increase the risk.

Uncontrolled blood sugar and high blood pressure cause damage to blood vessels in the kidneys reducing their ability to function properly and when not working properly, waste builds up in the blood, including waste products from food.  It is vital for people with kidney disease to follow a diet that supports rather than hinders their function, to protect them and keep them healthy.

  For people with any stage kidney disease, it’s important to  decrease the amount of waste in the blood, and boost kidney function while preventing further damage.   This will also benefit those with diabetes and while dietary restrictions vary, it’s generally accepted that people with kidney disease and diabetes restrict the following nutrients:

  • Sodium. Sodium is found in many foods and a major component of table salt. Damaged kidneys can’t filter out excess sodium, causing its blood levels to rise. The recommended level for sodium is less than 2,000 mg per day. .
  • Potassium. Potassium plays many critical roles in the body, but those with kidney disease need to limit potassium to avoid dangerously high blood levels. The recommended level for potassium is less than 2,000 mg per day.
  • Phosphorus. Damaged kidneys can’t remove excess phosphorus, a mineral in many foods. High levels can cause damage to the body, so the recommended phosphorus level is between 800–1,000 mg per day in most patients.

Protein is another nutrient that may need to be limited as damaged kidneys find it difficult to clear out waste products from protein metabolism.   REMEMBER, everyone with kidney disease and diabetes is different, so consult your Healthcare provider BEFORE you make any significant changes to your diet and lifestyle.


Cauliflower is a nutritious vegetable that is an excellent source of  vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate.  It is also loaded with anti-inflammatory compounds like indoles and is an excellent source of fibre, plus, mashed cauliflower can be used in place of potatoes for a low potassium side dish.

124 grams of cooked cauliflower contains:

  • sodium: 19 mg
  • potassium: 176 mg
  • phosphorus: 40 mg


Blueberries are packed with nutrients and one of the best sources of antioxidants you can eat.  They contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which may protect against heart disease, certain cancers, cognitive decline, and diabetes.   They also make a fantastic addition to a kidney-friendly diet, as they are low in sodium, phosphorus, and potassium.

148 grams of fresh blueberries contains:

  • sodium: 1.5 mg
  • potassium: 114 mg
  • phosphorus: 18 mg


Barramundi is a high quality protein that contains incredibly healthy fats called omega-3s.   Omega-3s help reduce inflammation and may help decrease the risk of cognitive decline, depression, and anxiety.   While all fish are high in phosphorus, Barramundi contains lower amounts than most other seafood.  Remember to consume small portions to keep your phosphorus levels in check.

85 grams of cooked Barramundi contain:

  • sodium: 74 mg
  • potassium: 279 mg
  • phosphorus: 211 mg

Red grapes

Red grapes are not only delicious and high in nutrition they are high in vitamin C and contain antioxidants called flavonoids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation and are high in resveratrol, a type of flavonoid that has been shown to benefit heart health and protect against diabetes and cognitive decline.

75 grams contains on average:

  • sodium: 1.5 mg
  • potassium: 144 mg
  • phosphorus: 15 mg

Egg whites

Although egg yolks are very nutritious, they contain high amounts of phosphorus, making egg whites a better choice for people following a renal diet.   Egg whites provide a high quality, kidney-friendly source of protein, plus, they are an excellent choice for people undergoing dialysis treatment, who have higher protein needs but need to limit phosphorus.

Two large egg whites contain:

  • sodium: 110 mg
  • potassium: 108 mg
  • phosphorus: 10 mg


Garlic provides a delicious alternative to salt, adding flavour to dishes while providing nutritional benefits.   Garlic is a good source of manganese, vitamin C, and vitamin B6 and contains sulphur compounds that may have anti-inflammatory properties.

Three cloves of garlic contain:

  • sodium: 1.5 mg
  • potassium: 36 mg
  • phosphorus: 14 mg


While whole grains tend to be high in phosphorus, buckwheat is highly nutritious, providing a good amount of B vitamins, magnesium, iron, and fibre.   It’s also a gluten-free grain, making buckwheat a good choice for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

84 grams of cooked buckwheat contains:

  • sodium: 3.5 mg
  • potassium: 74 mg
  • phosphorus: 59 mg

Olive oil

Olive oil is a healthy source of fat and phosphorus-free making it a great option for people with kidney disease and diabetes.   Frequently, people with advanced kidney disease have trouble keeping weight on, making healthy, high calorie foods like olive oil important.   The majority of fat in olive oil is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid, which has anti-inflammatory properties.   What’s more, monounsaturated fats are stable at high temperatures, making olive oil a healthy choice for cooking.

1 tablespoon of olive oil contains:

  • sodium: 0.3 mg
  • potassium: 0.1 mg
  • phosphorus: 0 mg


Bulgur is a whole grain made from cracked wheat. It’s packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre and makes a terrific, kidney-friendly alternative to other whole grains that are high in phosphorus and potassium.   It is a good source of B vitamins, magnesium, iron, and manganese and is also an excellent source of plant-based protein and full of dietary fibre.   It’s easy to cook and can be added to many dishes, including salads, stews and breads.

91-gram of bulgur contains:

  • sodium: 4.5 mg
  • potassium: 62 mg
  • phosphorus: 36 mg


Cabbage belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family, is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and powerful plant compounds, and is a great source of vitamin K, vitamin C, and many B vitamins.   It provides insoluble fibre that keeps your digestive system healthy by promoting regular bowel movements and adding bulk to stool.   Cabbage is low in potassium, phosphorus, and sodium.

70 grams of shredded cabbage contains:

  • sodium: 13 mg
  • potassium: 119 mg
  • phosphorus: 18 mg

Skinless chicken

Although a limited protein intake is necessary for some people with kidney issues, providing the body with an adequate amount of high quality protein is vital for health.   Skinless chicken breast contains less phosphorus, potassium, and sodium than skin-on chicken.   Choose fresh chicken and avoid in store roasted chicken, as it contains large amounts of sodium and phosphorus.

84 grams of skinless chicken breast contains:

  • sodium: 63 mg
  • potassium: 216 mg
  • phosphorus: 192 mg


Capsicum contain an impressive amount of nutrients and are low in potassium.  They are loaded with the powerful antioxidant vitamin C.   One small Capsicum (74 grams) contains up to 105% of the recommended intake of vitamin C and they are also loaded with vitamin A which is an important nutrient for immune function.

74 grams contains:

  • sodium: 3 mg
  • potassium: 156 mg
  • phosphorus: 19 mg


Onions are excellent for providing sodium-free flavour to renal-diet dishes.   Sauté onions with garlic and olive oil and add flavour to dishes without compromising your health.   Onions are high in vitamin C, manganese, and B vitamins and contain prebiotic fibres that help keep your digestive system healthy by feeding beneficial gut bacteria.

70 grams contains:

  • sodium: 3 mg
  • potassium: 102 mg
  • phosphorus: 20 mg

Rocket  At Australian grocery stores, bell peppers become capsicums; arugula is rocket; cilantro transforms into coriander and cookies are biscuits—bikkies for short

Many healthy greens like spinach and kale are high in potassium and difficult to fit into a renal diet.   However, Rocket is a nutrient-dense green that is low in potassium, making it a good choice for kidney-friendly salads and side dishes.   Rocket is an excellent source of vitamin K manganese and calcium, all of which are important for bone health.   It also contains nitrates, which have been shown to lower blood pressure, an important benefit for those with kidney disease.

20 grams of raw Rocket contains:

  • sodium: 6 mg
  • potassium: 74 mg
  • phosphorus: 10 mg

Macadamia nuts

Most nuts are high in phosphorus and not recommended for those following a renal diet.   However, macadamia nuts are a delicious option for people with kidney problems. They are much lower in phosphorus than popular nuts like peanuts and almonds.   They are also packed with healthy fats, B vitamins, magnesium, copper, iron, and manganese.

28 gramsof macadamia nuts contains:

  • sodium: 1.4 mg
  • potassium: 103 mg
  • phosphorus: 53 mg


Radishes are very low in potassium and phosphorus but high in vitamin C, an antioxidant that may decrease the risk of heart disease and cataracts..   Add them to your favourite salad

58 grams of sliced radishes contains:

  • sodium: 23 mg
  • potassium: 135 mg
  • phosphorus: 12 mg


Turnips are kidney-friendly and make an excellent replacement for vegetables that are higher in potassium like potatoes and squash.   These root vegetables are loaded with fibre and vitamin C and are also an excellent source of vitamin B6 and manganese.   Roast them or boil and mash them for a healthy side dish that works well for a renal diet, or just eat them raw.

78 grams of cooked turnips contains:

  • sodium: 12.5 mg
  • potassium: 138 mg
  • phosphorus: 20 mg


Fruits like oranges, bananas, and kiwis are very high in potassium, however pineapple is a low potassium alternative which is rich in fibre, manganese, vitamin C, and bromelain, an enzyme that helps reduce inflammation.

165 grams of pineapple chunks contains:

  • sodium: 2 mg
  • potassium: 180 mg
  • phosphorus: 13 mg


Cranberries benefit both the urinary tract and the kidneys.   Cranberries contain phytonutrients called A-type proanthocyanidins, which prevent bacteria from sticking to the lining of the urinary tract and bladder, thus helping to prevent. Infection.  Cranberries are very low in potassium, phosphorus, and sodium and can be eaten dried, cooked, fresh, or as a juice.

100grams of fresh cranberries contains:

  • sodium: 2 mg
  • potassium: 80 mg
  • phosphorus: 11 mg

Shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms are a savoury ingredient that can be used as a plant-based meat substitute for those on a renal diet who need to limit protein.   They are lower in potassium, an excellent source of B vitamins, copper, manganese, and selenium, and they are an excellent source of plant-based protein and dietary fibre.

145 gramsof cooked shiitake mushroom contains:

  • sodium: 6 mg
  • potassium: 170 mg
  • phosphorus: 42 mg

It’s time to love your Kidneys and control your Diabetes, and ALWAYS speak with your Health Care Practitioner before making any major changes and follow their advice and recommendations.  This article is intended as general information only.

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