Kidney Failure

Kidneys filter the blood to produce urine. The waste products of the body pass into the urine, while useful stuff like water get’s reabsorbed into the blood. When things go wrong with the kidneys, it can be fatal, so can juicing help?

Should you juice if you have Chronic Kidney Failure?

All of the nutritional benefits of juicing for healthy people are also important in patients with chronic kidney failure. People who have chronic kidney failure, however, must limit their consumption of potassium and phosphorus and must choose juices and smoothies and are relatively low in potassium, phosphorus, and protein.

The role of Potassium in Chronic Kidney Failure

Most kidney failure patients are treated with medications for high blood pressure in a class of drugs known as ACE-inhibitors or ACE-receptor inhibitors. These medications cause the kidneys to retain potassium. People who have advanced kidney failure need dialysis to keep their potassium levels normal, and their potassium levels go up between treatments.

People who have chronic kidney failure still benefit from the vitamins and trace minerals in juice, but need to avoid the potassium. The highest levels of potassium are found in juices made with:

  • Spirulina,
  • Parsley,
  • Dried peppers and dried tomatoes,
  • All kinds of powdered “juice” drinks,
  • Instant coffee and instant tea,
  • Beet greens,
  • Amaranth greens,
  • Bitter melon,
  • Spinach,
  • Swiss chard (silverbeet),
  • Cilantro,
  • Dried fruits such as banana chips and dried apricots,
  • Bananas,
  • Peaches,
  • Apricots,
  • Prunes,
  • Orange juice,
  • Grapefruit juice,
  • Pineapple juice,
  • Zucchini,
  • Kale, and
  • Tomatoes.

in that order. These are fruits and vegetables that should not be used in juices when you are suffering from chronic kidney failure. On the other hand, small amounts of low-potassium fruits and vegetables are acceptable in juice. Safer juice ingredients include pear, mango, papaya, and cranberry (in that order), and cucumber juice. You can make pear juice more interesting with small amounts of cinnamon and/or allspice. Mango is tasty with a hint of red pepper. Green papaya has more enzymes, and an interesting flavor (although not everyone cares for it). Cranberry juice helps fight bladder infections, and cucumber can be brightened with a dash of vinegar—no salt!

Phosphorus and Protein in Juices for Chronic Kidney Failure

Unlike potassium, phosphorus is seldom a concern in making juices for people who have chronic kidney failure. Smoothies that contain dairy products, however, have to be counted against the total of allowable phosphorus and protein for each day, especially for people who are on dialysis.