Can You Eat Sweet Potatoes on a Renal Diet?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Tip

Sweet potatoes are generally not recommended for people with kidney problems. While small amounts may be safe for some, always check with your doctor before eating food that is high in potassium, a potentially harmful nutrient for kidneys that aren't functioning properly.

Are Sweet Potatoes Good for Your Kidneys?

Sweet potatoes are rich in nutrients, including the mineral potassium, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Potassium is essential to your overall health because it helps regulate heartbeat and supports muscle function, per the National Kidney Foundation (NKF).

  • Safe: 3.5 to 5 mmol/L
  • Potentially dangerous: 5.1 to 6 mmol/L
  • Dangerously high: 6 mmol/L or higher
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Other Sources of Potassium to Look Out For

Other common potassium-rich foods to limit or avoid on a renal diet besides potatoes include:

  • Greens like Swiss chard and beet greens
  • Squash
  • Beans like navy and cannellini beans
  • Fruits like avocados, kiwi and bananas
  • Dairy products like milk and yogurt
  • Salmon

Instead, opt for low-potassium foods such as:

  • Fruits like berries, apples and pears
  • Vegetables like spinach, kale and cucumber
  • Seafood like shrimp, crab and oysters

What to Do About Potatoes on a Renal Diet

Though potatoes aren't good for your kidneys (at least, eating potato frequently or in large amounts), there are some measures you can take that may allow you to safely eat small amounts of the food sparingly.

2. Find a Balance

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Of course, you should completely avoid any food that your doctor says is unsafe for you.

But working with your doctor or dietitian can help you find the right potassium balance so you still get enough of the nutrient without jeopardizing your kidney health, per the NKF. That way you may be able to safely enjoy certain foods — including, perhaps, leached sweet potatoes — in small amounts every now and then.

Tip

Phosphorous is another mineral that can be dangerous for your kidneys in high amounts, according to the NKF. Though sweet potatoes are not high in phosphorus, they do contain some, per My Food Data, so check with your doctor to make sure the food is safe for your nutritional needs.

Read more on: livestrong, diet


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