Kidney Diet Tips

Heart Healthy Tips that Merge with a Kidney Diet

People with kidney disease have many dietary considerations. Getting the right nutrients as well as cutting back on certain nutrients are at the top of the list. However, many patients also have heart disease and thus, need to think about  heart healthy measures in the diet that are just as important.

Heart Healthy Tips

To assist here are six tips to help balance the kidney diet with a heart healthy diet.

  1. Cut back on red meat, especially if it is processed. Red meat contains more saturated fat and cholesterol than other meats such as fish, chicken or turkey. So if you enjoy red meat, limit to 3 ounces per serving and choose from leaner cuts rather than higher fat cuts. Look for those that have sirloin, loin and round on the label.
  2. Limit your saturated fat and added sugar consumption. Saturated fat can make heart disease worse by raising your cholesterol level. According to a 2014 article in The Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers showed a correlation between added sugars and how they can affect blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  3. Choose low-phosphorus foods. Having kidney disease limits the amount of phosphorus the kidneys can remove from the body. High phosphorus levels in the blood can contribute to hardening of arteries as well, forming bone cells in soft tissues. The best way to lower phosphorus is to try to avoid phosphorus additives in the diet. Avoid ingredients in foods that contain “phos”.
  4. Find out how much potassium you should eat. Ask your doctor or dietitian what amount is appropriate for you. Potassium is typically found in fruits, vegetables, dairy, beans and nuts. A common recommendation for people with kidney disease is 2,000 to 3,000 mg of potassium per day. However, this depends on the stage of kidney disease. Early kidney disease, such as stage 1-3, may not require a potassium restriction.
  5. Reduce your sodium intake. Limiting sodium to the amount recommended in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which is 1,500 to 2,300 mg per day. Limiting sodium helps keep blood pressure and fluid in balance. This includes sodium in store-bought foods, naturally occurring in foods, as well as the salt shaker. One teaspoon of sodium contains approximately 2,000 mg.
  6. Keep an eye on your cholesterol intake. Our body needs cholesterol, but our liver makes what we need. Cholesterol is also found in foods such as meat and dairy, which can raise the cholesterol level in the body. However the saturated fat in these foods can cause the liver to over-produce cholesterol and make the levels worse.

More Help

In conclusion, these tips can help balance your diet between managing kidney disease and heart disease. Speaking with your doctor and dietitian to learn what your blood levels are can help you when planning your meals.

For more information to answer questions on heart healthy and kidney diets read A Good Match: Merging the Heart and Kidney Diets from

Jackie Termont, RD

Jackie Termont, RD

Jackie has been a dietitian since 2007, and has been dedicated to renal nutrition since 2008. For two years she was the editor for the Renal Nutrition Forum, a publication for the Renal Practice group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She enjoys baking, crafting, spending time with her sons and husband, and being active. She loves to experiment and come up with new recipes.