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

13 thoughts on “The Best Juice for Kidney Disease”

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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!

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