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

32 thoughts on “The Best Juice for Kidney Disease”

  1. 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. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

    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!

  6. 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. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, CSG

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

  7. 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

  8. 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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