Kidney Diet Tips

Chronic Kidney Disease, Cardiovascular Disease and a Heart Healthy Diet

Healthy eating for healthy heart

Did you know most people with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) also have cardiovascular disease? CKD is one of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease. For this reason, CKD non-dialysis patients and those on dialysis are encouraged to take preventative actions to protect against heart disease.

Some of the things to do include:

  • exercise
  • stress reduction
  • avoid smoking
  • take prescribed medications
  • keep normal levels of phosphorus and calcium
  • lower blood fats and cholesterol
  • make healthy dietary changes

Many people already know techniques to lower cholesterol and saturated fat intake. Those in early stages of CKD benefit from following a DASH type diet—increased fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, low fat dairy foods, fish and poultry, less red meats, fewer sugars and sweets and lower fat intake.

For late stage 4 CKD and dialysis patients it’s harder to follow this healthy eating plan because controlling minerals like potassium, sodium and phosphorus, getting the right amount of protein and eating enough calories are more urgent.

Some suggestions for a heart healthy diet for people with kidney disease include:

  • Eat the suggested number of fruits and vegetables allowed in the meal plan (read Top 15 Healthy Foods for People with Kidney Disease to learn about some great choices)
  • Maintain a lower intake of animal fats (saturated fats). Add healthy fats like olive oil and canola if extra fat calories are needed
  • Choose the lower fat version of dairy foods that are allowed in the meal plan
  • Include more fish high in Omega 3 fatty acids to help protect against inflammation and thrombosis
  • Take an Omega-3 supplement if recommended by your doctor
  • Prepare home cooked meals with additive-free ingredients as often as possible

Small eating habit changes can make a big difference in heart and vascular health for people with kidney disease. Diet focus changes with different stages of CKD, so make it a point to learn about your condition and the most important dietary goals for you.

Sara Colman, RDN, CDCES

Sara Colman, RDN, CDCES

Sara is a renal dietitian with over 30 years experience working with people with diabetes and kidney disease. She is co-author of the popular kidney cookbook "Cooking for David: A Culinary Dialysis Cookbook". Sara is the Manager of Kidney Care Nutrition for DaVita. She analyzes recipes and creates content, resources and tools for the kidney community. In her spare time Sara loves to spend time with her young grandson, including fun times together in her kitchen.