What Vegetables Can a Renal Patient Eat?


A renal patient is a patient who is under the care of a doctor for a kidney problem. A renal patient can have a multitude of problems, including kidney disease, diabetes, kidney stones, gout, chronic renal insufficiency, anemia and dialysis, or be a recent or previous kidney transplant recipient. For any of these patients, a doctor will most likely require a strict renal diet. The key concerns of a renal diet are phosphorus, potassium, protein and sodium intake.

Swiss chard is a high potassium vegetable.
Swiss chard is a high potassium vegetable. (Image: A_Lein/iStock/Getty Images)


Phosphorus is necessary to the body for the building of bones and teeth, as well as muscles and nerves. Renal diseases throw off the balance of phosphorus in the body. A renal diet may require foods high in phosphorus or low in phosphorus. All vegetables are low in phosphorus, with broccoli and zucchini squash being two of the lowest. Consult your doctor regarding your phosphorus levels and whether foods high or low in phosphorus are best for you.

broccoli is lower in phosphorus than most other vegetables
broccoli is lower in phosphorus than most other vegetables (Image: eyewave/iStock/Getty Images)


Regulated by the kidneys, potassium can be very dangerous to the human body if levels reach a high point. Vegetables that are high in potassium including broccoli, potatoes, mushrooms and beets. Leafy greens such as Swiss chard, collard greens and mustard greens are also high in potassium. Vegetables that are low in potassium include green beans, wax beans, onions, lettuce and carrots.

carrots are low in potassium
carrots are low in potassium (Image: Alicja Bochenek/iStock/Getty Images)


Depending on your level of kidney function, you doctor may prescribe a diet high or low in protein. Protein is required for muscle building, infection healing and the repair of body tissue. If kidney function declines, waste builds up in the bloodstream. Eating less protein can reduce this waste. Most vegetables are low in protein, as are fresh beans and many grains. Meat, poultry, dairy products and eggs are all foods that are high in protein.

chicken is a good source of protein
chicken is a good source of protein (Image: Liv Friis-Larsen/iStock/Getty Images)


Sodium controls muscle function, fluid retention and blood pressure. Kidney diseases can reduce the removal of excess sodium by the body causing fluid retention, swelling and other ailments. According to Washington State University, vegetables are naturally low in sodium. Avoid salt in the preparation of vegetables so that you do not add sodium to them. Additionally, avoid canned vegetables as salt is typically added.

choose fresh vegetables rather than canned
choose fresh vegetables rather than canned (Image: Rrrainbow/iStock/Getty Images)

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