Kidney Diet Tips

Beans Primer for Kidney Diets

Kidney, pinto, cranberry, black, and navy. What do these have in common? They are all types of beans! Beans, which are sometimes excluded from the kidney diet, are a valuable source of many nutrients, including fiber.

Fiber and Beans

It is important to include fiber in your diet. In fact, it is recommended that you get about 25 g of fiber daily. Beans contain from between 6 to 10 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup depending on the type 1.

Beans contain two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber helps capture cholesterol in the digestive tract. This cholesterol is then excreted instead of being absorbed. The other type of fiber, insoluble fiber, also provides health benefits. Insoluble fiber attracts water to the stool and can help keep you regular1.

Potassium and Beans

Beans are high in potassium, so you may be wondering how they fit into a kidney diet. Preparation is key. Soaking and cooking dried beans will help reduce potassium. To lower the potassium content, one cup of beans should be soaked in six cups of water for twelve hours and then cooked for 30 minutes using fresh water. If you are using a pressure cooker, beans should be cooked for 15 minutes2.

Phosphorus and Beans

Phosphorus is high in all types of beans. But, all the phosphorus in beans is not absorbed by our bodies. Phosphorus is not completely absorbed because it is bound to phytates in the beans.

Canned beans are actually lower in phosphorus and potassium compared to cooked dried beans. Canned beans may be used in place of dried beans to save preparation time. Beans should be rinsed and drained to remove some of the sodium. A half cup of drained and rinsed kidney beans contains about 200 mg potassium and 100 mg of phosphorus3.

Now that you have learned more about including beans in a kidney diet, these recipes are available for you to try.

For more information on beans and peas in kidney diets read the past blog post “ Beans and Peas in Your Kidney Diet ”.


  1. The Bean Institute ; accessed March 19, 2019.Cooking Legumes: A Way for Their Inclusion in the Renal Patient Diet
  2. Martínez-Pineda, Montserrat et al. Journal of Renal Nutrition , Volume 29 , Issue 2 , 118 – 125
  3. USDA Nutrient database

Additional Kidney Diet Resources

Visit and explore these diet and nutrition resources:

DaVita Food Analyzer

DaVita Dining Out Guides

Today’s Kidney Diet Cookbooks

DaVita Kidney-Friendly Recipes

Diet and Nutrition Articles                                                      

Diet and Nutrition Videos

Kidney Smart® Virtual Classes

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Consult your physician and dietitian regarding your specific diagnosis, treatment, diet and health questions.

Sue Yager, MS, RDN, LDN

Sue Yager, MS, RDN, LDN

Sue works as a dietitian in Carpentersville and Marengo in Illinois She has been a dietitian for the past 15 years. The last eight have been in kidney care. In her spare time, Sue enjoys reading and riding her bike.