Combining Dialysis and Heart Healthy Diets


February is American Heart Month, and it’s a great time to spread a little love to your body. As many patients with chronic kidney disease in the Cincinnati area also have hypertension or other types of heart disease, it’s important to eat both a dialysis-friendly and heart-healthy diet.

However, these diets serve different purposes and have a few conflicting recommendations. Here are a few things to consider when merging these two diets.

Sodium Intake

Reducing your sodium intake is great for both diets, as it helps regulate fluids. It is recommended that kidney disease patients and those with heart disease limit their sodium intake to 1500mg per day. Eliminating lunchmeat, fast food, and other highly processed foods from your diet can get your sodium levels on track.

Phosphorous Foods

For those on dialysis, a low-phosphorous diet is part of your routine. You know it is especially important to steer clear of phosphorous additives, which you might see on a food label in the form of “phosphate”. Limiting phosphorous is good for both diets, but if you have a stricter dialysis diet, you may also need to limit heart-healthy foods with naturally occurring phosphorous. These include fat-free and low-fat dairy items, nuts and seeds, chocolate, dried beans and lentils, and some whole-grain products.

Fats to Avoid

Both dialysis and heart-healthy diets advise limiting trans-fats and saturated fats. You can find these types of fats in hydrogenated oils and fatty animal products. Instead, opt for lean meats and olive, canola, or avocado oils.

Understanding Potassium

Potassium is one area where the dialysis diet and heart-healthy diet might conflict. Most adults with healthy kidney and heart function are encouraged to consume potassium-rich foods. If you have chronic kidney disease, your kidney cannot filter potassium out of your blood, so it is critical to maintain safe potassium levels for your body. Your care team will determine if you need to strictly avoid potassium-rich foods or if you have more flexibility. Potassium can be found in fruits and vegetables.


Always consult with your Nephrology Associates of Greater Cincinnati dietitian before making any changes to your eating habits.

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Nephrology Associates of Greater Cincinnati
4750 E Galbraith Road, Suite#103
Cincinnati, OH 45236

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