Green Goodness: Vegetables for Dialysis Patients

Learn Your Way Around the Produce Section to Stay in Tip-Top Shape

It’s no secret that vegetables have long been hailed as power food, but for people with end-stage renal disease, not all vegetables are great choices. Many ESRD patients have restrictions when it comes to their diet and fluid intake because of some of the nutrients found in vegetables.

"For people with end-stage renal disease, not all vegetables are great choices."

For example, beets and especially beet greens have been hailed as a powerhouse vegetable for their vitamin K, which is linked to a reduction in type-2 diabetes.1 However, for ESRD patients, beets are typically avoided because they are also high in potassium.2

Your kidneys work to filter out excess potassium and the amount of potassium in your diet is directly related to the amount of potassium found in blood.2 Dialysis patients are required to filter these nutrients out of their blood with the help of dialysis devices. Dialysis patients are often monitored on their bodies’ potassium levels. People with kidney disease are often at an increased risk of hyperkalemia, too much potassium in the system, or hypokalemia, too little potassium in the system. The amount of potassium dialysis patients should consume is based on individual lab results and the type of dialysis they receive.

Learn what potassium to include and what to limit from your diet.

Not a vegetable lover? Potassium can also be found in some fruit, beans, and dairy. Make sure you talk to your doctor to review what potassium friendly, and not so friendly, options you should be adding or taking away from your shopping cart. In addition, it is important to discuss with your doctor the quantity you should be eating as well.

It is important you speak with your doctor and care team to determine what food to include or remove from your diet prior to making any change. You should always follow the dietary and fluid recommendations from your doctor.

  1. Jacobsen MT. 2016. 12 powerhouse vegetables you should be eating. Retrieved from Accessed June 12, 2017.
  2. Tudor JL. 2011. Recommended vegetables for dialysis patients. Retrieved from: Accessed May 10, 2017.