5 types of juices in mason jars with title of post ("the best juice for kidney disease") over the image

The Best Juice for Kidney Disease

Have you ever wondered what the best juice for kidney disease is? Read on to learn if juice is good for kidney disease and what kind is best!

Juice vs. Whole Fruit

Before we dive into juice for kidney disease, it is important to think about the difference between fruit juice and the fruit itself.

Of course, fruit juice is made from fruit. But, juicing fruit leaves all of the fiber behind. Fiber slows sugar absorption and controls blood sugar spikes after you eat. Fiber is also important for heart health, bowel regularity and many other health conditions. The lack of fiber is the biggest reason why fruit juice is less healthy than whole fruit.

Also, it is easy to drink much more fruit in the form of juice, compared to eating whole fruit. It takes a lot of fruit to make a small glass of juice. This makes it much easier to go overboard on the sugar!

Side by side image of a juice box and an apple. 8 fl oz of apple juice provides 18g sugar, no fiber and 235mg potassium. 1 medium apple provides 18g sugar, 4g of fiber and 195mg of potassium
Fruit juice does not have fiber, whereas fruit is a great source of fiber!

Best Juice for Kidney Disease

Juice is not necessarily recommended, or a “must have” on a renal diet. Fruit itself is a healthier choice!

But, if you love juice, it can absolutely be a part of a kidney friendly diet!

Always make sure to find juice that is 100% fruit juice. Many juices have a lot of added sugar.

Remember that even 100% juice has quite a bit of sugar in it – without all of that wonderful fiber to help reduce blood sugar spikes. Whatever kind of juice you choose, keep your portion to 4 fluid ounces, or a 1/2 cup.

Here are some good juices for kidney disease. All of these juices have 200mg of potassium or less per 1/2 cup serving.

  • Apple juice (125mg potassium)
  • Grape juice (128mg potassium)
  • Pineapple juice (161mg potassium)
  • Cranberry juice (96mg potassium)
  • Grapefruit juice (200mg potassium)
  • Beet juice (159mg potassium)
  • Pear juice (161mg potassium)
  • Peach nectar (55mg potassium)
  • Mango nectar (30mg potassium)
  • Papaya nectar (38mg potassium)

*Potassium amounts for a 4 fluid ounce (1/2 cup) portion. Potassium may be significantly different by brand of juice.

Images of fruits of best juice choices for kidney disease: apple, grape, cranberry, grapefruit, pear, pineapple, papaya, peach

I also love lemon and lime juice for kidney disease! These juices are not necessarily good for your kidneys – nor would I recommend drinking a glass of them! But, they are a wonderful way to add flavor to food without salt. A low sodium diet is important for nearly everyone with kidney disease.

High Potassium Juices

Some people with kidney disease need to limit potassium. But, not everyone does!

Avoid these high potassium juices if you have high blood potassium. All of these juices have more than 200mg of potassium per 1/2 cup serving.

If you do not have high potassium, these juices are equally good as the juices above!

  • Orange juice (221mg potassium)
  • Prune juice (342mg potassium)
  • Pomegranate juice (265mg potassium)
  • Cherry juice (203mg potassium)
  • “Green” juices (potassium varies, but is usually high)

*Potassium amounts for a 4 fluid ounce (1/2 cup) portion. Potassium may be significantly different by brand of juice.

Juice to Avoid for Kidney Disease

Large Amounts of Any Kind of Juice

Even 100% juice has quite a bit of sugar. And, potentially a lot of potassium.

No matter what kind of juice you drink, limit your portion to 4 fluid ounces, or a 1/2 cup.

Tomato & Vegetable Juices

Not only are tomato and vegetable juices generally very high in potassium, but they also pack a surprising amount of salt. One can of V8 vegetable juice contains 940mg of sodium. This is 40-63% of the sodium you should eat in an entire day!

Even low sodium vegetable juice is pretty salty. One can of low sodium V8 juice has 200mg of sodium. This is much lower than the original version, but still has 9-13% of daily sodium. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather eat my salt in other ways!

Most Green Juices or Smoothies

Juices made with spinach and other green veggies can be incredibly high in potassium. Why? It comes down to portion size. Think about how much spinach must be juiced to get a single glass of juice. This is likely a whole lot more spinach than you would eat at one time. Similarly, the amount of vegetable in green smoothies can be quite a bit too.

Even though not everyone with kidney disease needs to limit potassium, green juices and smoothies can have such high amounts of potassium, I recommend everyone with kidney disease avoid them.

Oxalate in Green Juice or Smoothies

In addition, many green juices are made with ingredients that are very high in oxalate such as spinach, beets and almonds. Oxalate is a molecule that is most known for it’s role in kidney stones. In addition to kidney stones, high levels of oxalate in your urine can damage kidneys.

Oxalate management is very tricky because not all bodies handle oxalate the same. There are big differences in how much oxalate people absorb from food and how much oxalate is made in the liver.

In normal amounts from food, oxalate is not a problem for the vast majority of people. Spinach is a healthy food! But, large amounts of spinach and other very high oxalate ingredients in green juices or smoothies can be problematic and hurt your kidneys.

Image of juices to avoid with kidney disease: tomato & vegetable juice, green juice and smoothies, large amounts of any kind of juice

Juice Detoxes & Cleanses

Although a small glass of juice can be a part of a kidney friendly diet, juice should never be used in place of an entire meal. Or – even worse – in place of food for an entire day or more.

Unfortunately, many juice detox and cleanse regimens claim to be good for you. Even worse, many claim to be good for your kidneys. No detox or cleanse will help your kidneys. In fact, many of these detox regimens can hurt your kidneys. I recommend avoiding these “quick fixes” at all costs.

Grapefruit Juice (for some)

Many people who have kidney disease also have high cholesterol. If you take a statin, a medication commonly prescribed to lower cholesterol, you should avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice. An enzyme found in grapefruit can change how your body processes statin medications.

Is Cranberry Juice Good For Kidney Disease?

Cranberry juice specifically is often believed to be good for your kidneys. However, no studies have been done to see if cranberry is good for kidney disease.

Some small studies have shown that cranberry supplements may prevent urinary tract infections.(1) However, more research should be done before conclusions can be made. I would recommend cranberry supplements (from a reputable company!) over cranberry juice if you choose to use cranberry for urinary tract infections.

Cranberry juice and supplements have been studied to help kidney stones. But, results have been mixed. Some studies found cranberry juice helpful, whereas others found it harmful. (2) (3) (4) Cranberry is not recommended for kidney stones.

Happy Eating!

Melanie

62 thoughts on “The Best Juice for Kidney Disease”

  1. I got myself into a lot of trouble, by drinking too much (about 1/2+ gal./day)
    sweet tea. I was having a lot of pain in my left side, (just under my ribs) that radiated down my left side into my groin. My lymph nodes were swollen to almost the size of my thumb. I was also running a low grade fever. My PCP was out of the office, so I saw his NP, who sent me for an MRI on my back??? That was in May of 2019. Nothing was recommended. My background is in research so I started digging through websites for more information. That’s where I found the source of my pain. All evidence pointed to, too much sweet tea being the problem. It was difficult to stop drinking sweet tea, because I really love it. But I did. And started drinking more water. I haven’t had any issues with that pain again. HOWEVER! (Now 2023) I did find that over time , I was gradually drinking a lot more (about a pot+sometimes 2 pots/day) coffee since then. So, yesterday, the same pain came back, in the exact same way. Very painful. I remembered reading somewhere, that Green Tea “is good for kidneys.” So I started drinking green tea. And drinking more water. Pain has subsided. My questions are; Is there anything more that I can do to improve my kidney health? And if I can ever have “A” glass of sweet tea or a cup of coffee again without fear of severe pain? And is green tea really “good for kidneys?”

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Please Reply to my Email.
    [email protected]

    1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, FAND

      Hi Sandra! Thanks for your comment. It is really hard to pinpoint what exactly hurts kidneys for each person. I’m SURE that you can enjoy coffee and tea again – these things do not even need to be completely avoided for people with kidney disease. It sounds like there could be a lot more you can do. A healthy diet for kidneys is different for every single person – depending on their labs, other medical history and what they usually eat.

      And no – green tea really isn’t going to do that much for your kidneys!

  2. I am 79 years of age, and my last blood test showed my GFR dropped to 29 from around 44 which it has been for several years. I am having one apple a day (pink lady) including the skin. I want to get my kidneys back to a higher GFR and need advice. I don’t want to end up on a dialysis machine. My GP has lowered my heart medication and that’s about all apart from drinking plenty of water.
    Would you be so kind as to give me a personal answer via email as to what foods, fruit and juices I can obtain to help me in my senior years.
    Ever so grateful,
    Ron Chapman

      1. Hi Melanie,
        Thank you for your response…/much appreciated. I have found a Nephrologist doctor in my area. Also, a Renal Dietician. My blood tests should tell them exactly what is happening with my kidneys, and they should be able to advise on diet.
        Thank you for the list of kidney dietary books and I will consider purchasing.
        Ron.

  3. Hi, I went to the Dr they say I have kidney diseases is now 59, but I must try to loose weight and eat healthy,they give no treatment, do you think is safe?

      1. My name is Clarence I will soon be 78 and I have CKD. When I go to the doctor, he tells me that my numbers aren’t bad and that I can keep doing what I’m doing. I started researching everything that can to stop any further damage. What to do!!! My GFR has decreased, creatinine levels are up! I will appreciate any help you can provide to me. Thanking you in advance.

        1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, FAND

          Hi Clarence! Thanks for your comment. I’d check out this article about what a “kidney diet” is. Ultimately, I cannot recommend more working with a dietitian to understand what diet changes make sense for YOU for kidney health.

  4. I got my egfr from 26 back to 32 eating the “right” food and water, I I hope to get it back to 36 higher! Wish me luck!

      1. I’ve been helping my mom with her CKD, she started with GFR 27 and now improved to 32. I have changed her diet no salt, believe you will get use to it when you eventually and I went through the experience with her. Also cut down on sugar. If you want to use salt only use a small pinch recommended ( see a dietitian for you kidney like we did very helpful ) exercise 20 minutes a day, walking some type of movement. Also my mom was taken off of Metformin when I did my own research this was not good for you kidney, see you own doctor for this recommendation. Blood is done every 3 months, this change happened 3 points up the first month and another 3 points the second blood work test. She still eat meat mix all seasoning, no salt, she love sweat baked potatoes naturally good brown rice, unsalted broth, you have to get creative, it’s working for her and she has lost over 20 pounds, letting go salt is a big healthier deal and sugar, in her bland cereal she would cut up fresh strawberries and fresh blueberries, drink water with most meals. I hope this will help someone

          1. I honestly do not think your mom is ready for hospice with an egfr that dropped from 32 to 28 unless she has other illnesses that are causing issues that would warrant hospice. I am not a doctor and certainly do not know about your mom’s total health. But no way is your mom ready for hospice because of the drop in kidney function from stage 3 to stage 4.

    1. Hi Susan, please tell e how my egfr is down to 15% I’m due a test next week I have changed to kidney friendly diet so fingers crossed

    2. I got 39 and wish you luck
      seeing a consultant tomorrow because they diagnosed Cysts on kidneys

      I hope you are soon back to normal

      1. I got that same diagnosis. Fast forward 30 years, It really was Bergers disease, I now do dialysis 3 times a week, 4 hours per day. Take care of your kidneys, trust me.

  5. My son is on dialysis 3x week. He’s experiencing insomnia. What can he take to help him get the rest he so desperately needs, and reduce the stress and BP?

    1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, CSG

      Hi Regina! I’m so sorry to hear this. Sleep problems are very common for people on dialysis. There isn’t really a supplement or food that works well for insomnia. My best advice is to work with a sleep specialist in a sleep clinic to learn what is best for him to get some rest!

    2. CBD oil and Cannabis have naturally improved my sleep. Recommendation is to partake a few hours prior to bedtime. It’s definitely worth trying especially if you would prefer to reduce reliance on prescription medication for sleep. Best wishes to you and your son.

    1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, CSG

      Of course! All foods can fit. The amount of juice that is best is different for everyone. Ask your dietitian what is best!

  6. Melanie, my father is CKD stage 3 and close to 4. He has been trying to eat right but there seems to be a lot of conflicting information out there regarding diet. He has seen 2 registered dieticians and they’ve also given him conflicting diet recommendations. Is there any recommendations that you might provide for someone in the Phoenix Arizona area that would provide him with the correct support needed?

    1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, CSG

      Hi Dave! I don’t know of anyone in Pheonix specifically. However, I do have a list of dietitians who work with people across the country who could help him! You can find my list at my resources page. Good luck!

    2. You may want to try DaVita’s website. There are all kinds of info that may be appropriate for your Dad. I have changed my diet to address my kidney lab issues.

  7. I am 96 years old and have stage 3 kidney disease—I really would like to live longer, but is it worth all the effort eating right at my age? I am still active and still drive my car.

    1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, CSG

      Hi Betty! You bring up a good point. It is important to think about what your goals are for your health and quality of life when embarking on any lifestyle change. I’d ask your dietitian or doctor what makes the most sense for you!

  8. I drink one glass of unsweetened grapefruit juice every day, and sometimes unsweetened cranberry juice. I read they are excellent for Kidney disease, and other articles says no. Is this healthy or not? I have stage 3 K D

    1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, CSG

      Hi Stella! I can’t legally or safely say what is good for YOU without knowing your medical history and lab values. I can’t say that those juices are GOOD for kidney disease, but a dietitian familiar with your situation will be able to better answer if those juices are alright for you!

    2. Stella, take the supplement “Chanca Piedra”. Is excellent for kidneys, inflammation, liver, and many other health problems. Also, Stinging Nettles is good. Folic Acid is recommended for Kidneys and neuropathy. Alpha Lipoic Acid is also good. Chanca Piedra is difficult to find at any pharmacy; however, you can get it at pipingrock.com as well as any other supplement. By the way, I am taking all the supplements I have mentioned for quite some time and they are 100% safe. Good luck!

      1. So these supplements will help keep you possibly going to stage 4? I was just diagnosed with hard stage 3 kidney failure. What other things can I do to keep my kidneys happy?

        1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, CSG

          Hi Dayna! There is really no supplement that can delay the progression of CKD. However, nutrition can! The “right” nutrition for kidney disease is different for every single person. It is really best to work with a dietitian to help you learn what is best for you!

        2. THOMAS G GOLDASICH

          Rather than taking supplements, consider what you eat/drink now and setting limits. I had great success in turning back my GFR drop in limiting my protein by eating only 4-5 ounces of meat. Also, phosphates as found in dark sodas should be avoided.

          Cashews are kidney-killers but almonds are not. Of course, sodium should be strictly limited. I like to mix a few oz of pure cranberry juice with 100% apple juice once a day.

          1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, CSG

            Nutrition is such an important part of CKD treatment (although I am biased!). Here is an article about how a “kidney diet” is different for every single person. Can I ask why you think cashews are “bad”, but almonds are acceptable? Both of these nuts can 100% be included in a kidney friendly diet!

    3. You should avoid grapefruit juice if you are taking some medications! If you are, check if the medication has a negative reaction with grapefruit juice… most DO!

  9. Hi Michelle, I was looking to use smoothies with breakfast and lunch to help me feel fuller (in addition to my meal). Is this not recommended? I am stage3a CKD. The ingredients for the smoothies powder I use is very clean:

    Barley Grass, Wheat Grass, Maca, Spirulina, Natural Flavour, Kale Powder, Kelp Powder, Spinach Powder, Moringa Powder, Monk Fruit, Organic Stevia, Multivitamin.

    1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, CSG

      Hi Tarah! Thanks for reaching out. I really can’t answer your question without knowing your lab values and medical history. I’d definitely ask to work with a renal dietitian to double check this is safe for you. I have some recommendations for dietitians who work with patients on my resources page!

  10. A great list of healthy juice varieties for kidney patient. Remember, the kidney patient must be strict to his food and fluid plan which is recommended by his doctor.

    1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, CSG

      Thank you! And yes, always get information about what is best for you from your healthcare team. A dietitian is the best person to get nutrition advice from!

    2. When I was in my 40s, I weighed 250lbs. So, I started drinking 1 gallon of water a day. The best time to drink was a 16oz of water 10 minutes before each meal. I lost 75lbs in 1 yr. I still drink water and avoid sodas as much as possible. I’m now down to 175lbs, which normal for my age & height. I’ve also been stage 3 kidney failure since my 40’s and am now 71 yrs old.

    1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, CSG

      I can’t say that is it necessarily GOOD for kidneys, but I don’t see any reason why it could be harmful. If you enjoy it, I’m sure it could fit in a kidney friendly diet!

  11. I’ve never been a big smoothie or juicing fan and my friends mock me about it (oh, that peer pressure!). Now I can set them straight that with my sluggish kidneys, I’ve been making the right choice all along. Thanks for the great info.

      1. I’m a mother of a 10 year old girl, having issues with kidney and the doctor said both kidney are not working well, help me please for what to eat and not to eat, I really need help I’m a single mother please, I want my daughter to be alive.

        1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, CSG

          Hi Vivian – I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter. I don’t work with clients individually, but do have a list of other kidney dietitians I highly recommend at my resources page!

    1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, CSG

      I don’t know of any research that shows a benefit of hemp oil for people with lupus.

    2. As a former lupus patient, I used help/CBD for pain management. It’s completely natural and my kidney doctor even recommended it to help manage pain with no side effects.

  12. Thank you for giving me a little knowledge on the different juices and smoothies my name is Hector and I have kidney disease Third stage

  13. I have drank green smoothies for probably 12 years! Spinach and or kale with yogurt, various fruits and vegetables. My GFR was down to 52 but I have got it up to 62, (I’m thinking with drinking more water and eating less salt). Do I need to give up my smoothies?

    1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, CSG

      Probably not. As long as your potassium levels are normal and you’ve never had a kidney stone. If you have had a stone, this is also probably okay as long as your urine oxalate levels were okay!

        1. Joanna Wahmann

          Telling people that gfr can’t be improved with a Whole Foods diet is wrong and not in line with current research. Look at n.I.h studies on this. I went from 52 to 66.

          1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, CSG

            Anecdotally, I know there are many people who have experiences this. Unfortunately, this has not been published yet. But I am hopeful we will start to see studies soon! If you have a specific study you are referring to, I would love to see it!

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