Diet and Nutrition

Your choices about what to eat and drink can make a huge difference in how you feel and can make your treatments work better.

Between kidney dialysis treatment sessions, wastes can build up in your blood and make you sick. But you can reduce such buildup by controlling what you eat and drink. Some foods cause wastes to build up quickly between your dialysis sessions. And if your blood contains too much of this, your kidney treatment session may not be able to remove them all.


Kidney dialysis diets are tailored to each patient’s needs. To give you an idea, here are the basic components of a renal diet.


Sodium’s job in the body is to help control blood pressure and fluid levels. However, if this goes out of control, it may possibly cause a rise in blood pressure levels, develop swollen ankles, cause shortness of breath, and buildup fluid around the heart and lungs. So one of the main focus of renal diets is to control sodium intake.

Sodium intake control tips:

  • Veer away from high-sodium seasonings such as salt and soy sauce
  • Look for a more nutritious salt substitute
  • Choose home-cooked meals instead of fast food take-outs so you can control the ingredients
  • When grocery shopping, look for low-sodium in food packages
  • Avoid consumption of pre-packed goods as most of these contain high sodium


Potassium comes from the food that we eat. It plays an important role in keeping your heartbeat regular and your muscles working right. It is the job of healthy kidneys to keep the right amount of potassium in your body. When your kidneys fail, they can no longer remove excess potassium from your body. You may feel some weakness, numbness, and tingling if your potassium is at a high level. If your potassium becomes too high, it can cause irregular heartbeats and can even cause your heart to stop beating.  This is why kidney patients need to be extra careful with their potassium intake.

High potassium sources to avoid:

  • Green vegetables
  • Chocolate
  • Dried beans and peas
  • Orange and orange juice
  • Bananas
  • Tropical fruits such as cempedak, ciku, durian, jackfruit, grapes, peach, langsat, mata kucing and plum
  • Tomatoes and tomato juice
  • Fresh broccoli, potatoes
  • Nuts and peanut butter
  • Milk, barley, Chinese tea, non-cola, sugar cane juice

Instead, focus your diet on eating low-potassium, yet high-nutrient food items such as:

  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Pineapples



Phosphorus helps in keeping our bones healthy. When your kidneys fail, they are not able to remove phosphorus very well anymore.  High phosphorus levels can cause damage to your bones by making them weak. High phosphorus and calcium can also lead to dangerous calcium deposits in blood vessels and the heart.

Your diet plan will also focus on regulating the amount of phosphorus going to your body. It will require taking medication called phosphate binders, which you will be asked to take every time you eat. This will reduce the absorption of phosphorus in your body by preventing it from entering your bloodstream.

High phosphorus sources to avoid:

  • Cola
  • Pizza
  • Hot dogs and sausages
  • Ikan bilis, dried prawns, fish crackers, organ meats, peanut butter, kaya
  • Pancakes
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Beans
  • Ice cream
  • Chocolate
  • Yogurt and pudding


Protein is an important nutrient and one of the building blocks of the body. It serves an essential role in building and repairing cells in our muscles, skin, hair, and bones. When dialysis filters out waste and fluid from your blood, it can also remove proteins. One of the focus of your diet plan is to make sure that these proteins are replaced to keep your body strong.

However, not all protein sources are good for kidney dialysis patients. Some contain harmful waste products, which are not helpful to your dialysis.

Healthy Protein choices:

  • Egg whites
  • Poultry and fish
  • Tau kua

Protein Sources to avoid:

  • Bacon, ham and sausage
  • Liver and other organs
  • Dried bean and peas
  • Nuts, peanut butter, sunflower and pumpkin seeds

The above is a general guideline for kidney patients only. As every case is different, it is always best to consult with your healthcare team and ask for a special diet that best fits your kidneys’ condition. Let them know about your likes and dislikes so they can make the necessary adjustments for a meal plan that you can enjoy.

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