Going Nuts over Nuts with Kidney Disease

Published on: 08/26/2022

Nuts have gotten some bad press when it comes to Chronic Kidney Disease or CKD, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Nuts are a great source of unsaturated and heart-healthy fats. The National Institute of Health even recognizes they can be part of a healthy kidney diet. Yes, some are high in potassium, some are higher in organic phosphorus and others can be packaged with lots of salt, but not all of them. Let’s unpack all things nuts and how to incorporate your favorites into the renal diet! Almonds and kidney disease can be a happy pair!

Potassium

Several types of nuts are low in potassium. Not all individuals with CKD need to limit potassium. Nuts that are low in potassium (less than 200mg per 1 ounce serving) include:

  • Brazil
  • Cashew
  • Hazelnut
  • Macadamia
  • Pecan
  • Walnuts

Phosphorus

Nuts do contain phosphorus, however, it is organic phosphorus. Organic phosphorus is less absorbed by the body than inorganic phosphorus sources. In addition, plant-based sources of phosphorus are the least absorbed. If you have been prescribed phosphate binders, be sure to take them with meals regardless of the phosphorus sources in the meal.

Protein

Low protein (<5g/1 ounce serving)

  • Brazil
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts

Sodium

The amount of sodium in packaged nuts will vary based on how they are manufactured and possibly seasoned. Reading the nutrition facts panel will reveal how much sodium is in a serving. Aim for 80 mg or less per serving. Many nuts taste better if roasted, this can be done with or without adding salt.

How to enjoy

The standard serving size for nuts is 1 ounce or about ¼ cup. It can be very easy to eat more than one serving of nuts due to the small portion size. Pre-portioning nuts can help keep portions to the recommended 1 ounce. Nuts make a great snack and can be paired with a fruit or vegetable to help balance blood sugars. Check out some of our favorite nutty snacks.

Oxalates

Those with a history of kidney stones and limiting oxalates may want to limit certain types of nuts including:

  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pine nuts

Not everyone with a history of stones needs to limit oxalates. Nuts and kidney disease can still coexist. If you are wanting to learn more about how to enjoy your favorite foods with CKD, check out how we can work together in a free 20 minute call.

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Hi, I’m Amanda, a renal dietitian here to help you feel more confident in your food choices!

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