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|
|Adzuki beans||1/2 cup||193||97||612|
|Soy beans||1/2 cup||210||105||443|
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.