Kidney Diet Tips

Beans and Peas in Your Kidney Diet

Eating beans and peas was never smooth sailing for my patients on dialysis because of the high phosphorus and potassium content. Most of them grew up eating a variety of legumes as part of their regular meals. Yet it is quite unimaginable for some patients to avoid beans and peas completely. And why should they? Half a cup of beans provide protein, from 6 to 15 grams, and 4 to 9 grams of fiber. Because getting enough fiber in the kidney diet is a challenge for most people on dialysis, this source can’t be ignored completely.


Beans and peas are in the spotlight in today’s kidney diet for several reasons. Renal patients are at increased risk for inflammatory diseases like cancer, heart diseases and stroke. Beans and peas, being plant-based foods, are linked to decreased risk of inflammatory diseases.1 Also research has revealed that only 50% or less of the phosphorus in legumes is absorbed. Phytates in plant protein binds phosphorus, preventing absorption.2


in addition to phosphorus, another concern when including legumes is potassium. Most beans have 250 mg or more potassium in 1/2 cup, which is high. So beans must be planned, with attention to how much and how often to include them. A couple of lower potassium choices include green peas with 88 mg and garbanzo beans with 173 mg in 1/2 cup. However, not all kidney patients need a potassium restriction.

Depending on lab results, dialysis treatment modality, nutritional needs and food preferences, dietitians individualize meal plans for each patient. This may mean that you need to make adjustments in other foods you eat to accommodate eating beans.

Tips for Adding Beans and Peas

If you want to eat a salad with beans or include a bean-based entrée you really do not have to bury that wish. Even the hummus made from garbanzo beans is possible to include in your meal plan. Here are some additional ways beans can be added:

  • Add a couple of tablespoons to a salad, soups or stew.
  • Make hummus dip or spread for a sandwich.
  • Serve garbanzo beans on toast or in a tostada or burrito.
  • Prepare beans in a curry sauce.

Estimated Phosphorus Absorption

To give you a better understanding of how much phosphorus you may get from beans check the table below from the DaVita dietitian team. It lists beans in the increasing order of how much estimated phosphorus is available for absorption.

Legume Serving size (cooked) Phosphorus (mg) Estimated Phosphorus (mg) available for absorption Potassium(mg)
Green peas(frozen) 1/2 cup 62 31 88
Garbanzo beans 1/2 cup 96 48 173
Lima beans 1/2 cup 105 53 478
Fava beans 1/2 cup 106 53 228
Black beans 1/2 cup 120 60 306
Kidney beans 1/2 cup 122 61 358
Pinto beans 1/2 cup 125 63 373
Navy beans 1/2 cup 131 66 354
Blacked eyed peas 1/2 cup 134 67 238
Great Northern 1/2 cup 146 73 346
Lentils 1/2 cup 178 89 365
Adzuki beans 1/2 cup 193 97 612
Soy beans 1/2 cup 210 105 443
Edamame 1/2 cup 284 142 284

Table from DaVita Dietitians Patient Education Handout

Talk to your dietitian about adding beans and peas to your kidney diet meal plan.


Kalantar–Zadeh et al; Understanding Sources of Dietary Phosphorus in the Treatment of Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol 5: 519-530, 2010.

Vidya M. Raj Krishnamurthy et al: High dietary fiber is associated with decreased inflammation and all-cause mortality in patients with CKD. Kidney International 81: 300-306, February 2012.


Akhila Gullapuram MS, RD

Akhila Gullapuram MS, RD

Akhila Gullapuram MS, RD has been a dietitian for 11 years. She has worked with people with kidney disease for 6 of those years. She likes to create healthy recipes and loves to help people to create simple and healthy meals to eat. For Akhila staying healthy in thoughts is as important as eating healthy, so she takes time out for meditation and cooking every day. She loves to spend time with her daughters and husband travelling to different places.