;

Good Drinks for Kidneys (and some to avoid!)

Know someone who is looking for this info? Share it!

Staying well-hydrated is one of the most important things a person can do to protect their kidneys. But sometimes, plain water can be plain boring. In this article, we will discuss good drinks for kidneys, plus ways to spruce up your water so you can protect your kidney health and stay hydrated throughout the day.

Daily Fluid Goals

Each person will have their own daily fluid goals to achieve. Your dietitian can give you a target fluid goal to aim for.

In general, aiming for approximately 1 – 2 liters of plain water per day can be a good place to start.

Kidney stone sufferers should drink enough fluids to result in 2 to 3 liters of urine volume per day. This can require a 24-hour urine collection, which can be ordered by your doctor.

It’s important to drink consistently throughout the day when working towards your fluid goal.

Going long bouts without any water or beverages, then drinking a large amount, will not be very helpful to your body.

So to increase fluids throughout the day, it can be helpful to change up the drinks you choose.

Let’s dive into some good drinks for kidney patients – starting with our morning go-to.

Coffee

Coffee is a part of many people’s morning routines. It can also be one of the good drinks for kidneys in your diet. 

Coffee provides antioxidants. Antioxidants are very helpful in the prevention of illness and diseases.

It can help protect against cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and congestive heart failure.

However, there is a “cap” on coffee’s benefits.

Limit total caffeine intake to 400 milligrams per day.

This is approximately 3 to 4 cups of black coffee.

Read more about coffee and kidney disease here.

Tea

On a cold or hot day, tea can be an comforting drink.

Additionally, tea is easy to find in convenience stores, fast food restaurants, and grocery store checkouts.

Certain teas are good for kidneys, including

  • Black tea
  • Green tea
  • Chamomile tea
  • Ginger tea
  • Peppermint tea
  • White tea
  • Chai tea
  • Oolong tea
  • Hibiscus tea

Some tea products may add other ingredients. These added ingredients are not always advised or safe for kidney patients.

Teas that promote detox, laxative, or diuretic effects are not beneficial for kidney patients and should be avoided.

Certain herbal teas and remedies can be bad for kidneys. They can cause more kidney damage.

Read the labels and choose teas that are simple – just the tea leaves with no added herbs.

Let’s dive into some of these teas that are considered good drinks for kidney patients.

Peppermint Tea

Peppermint tea is naturally caffeine-free tea.

Digestive issues are common for people with kidney disease. Peppermint tea can help with digestion.

Try enjoying peppermint tea after a meal.

You may also find it’s enjoyable in the evening.

Ginger Tea

Another tea that helps with digestion is ginger tea. Ginger is used to treat nausea. Nausea is a side effect of many medications and dialysis.

Ginger tea with some lemon may be an enjoyable way to start your morning. It has a bright and energetic flavor. It is caffeine-free as well.

So try sipping on ginger tea when you feel nauseous or after a meal. This can help reduce the ill feeling.

Again, be sure your ginger tea does not have added ingredients that are not good for kidneys.

Read more about ginger and kidney disease here.

Hibiscus Tea

Many are interested in hibiscus tea as it may help with blood pressure.

Hibiscus tea can be a good drink option for kidney patients. However, research about hibiscus tea and kidney patients is limited.

Hibiscus tea is low in potassium.

Blood pressure support from hibiscus tea has been researched on healthy participants that do not have kidney disease.

There was an animal study looking at hibiscus tea with CKD in rats that showed promise. However, animal studies do not always translate to human results. More research is needed.

Keeping to moderate amounts of 1-2 cups per day, hibiscus tea can be an enjoyable part of a renal diet for kidney patients.

Green Tea

Green tea can be a great beverage to include in your renal diet. It contains polyphenols, including epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG).

EGCG has been researched for kidney-protective effects.

A caffeine-containing tea, green tea should be consumed in moderation and earlier in the day to prevent sleep disturbances. 

An 8-oz cup of green tea contains approximately 45 milligrams of caffeine. However, this can vary widely depending on the leaves and brewing time.

Green tea does contain oxalates. However, it has been shown to reduce calcium oxalate stones when added to the diet.

Additionally, adding a small amount of milk to tea has been shown to drastically reduce oxalates consumed.

This is because the calcium from milk will bind to the oxalates.

Be careful with bottled green teas as some have added phosphorus and potassium.

Milk

Milk can be a good drink for kidneys. However, it’s important to know what to look for.

There are so many different milk options to choose from these days.

To choose kidney-friendly milk, look for:

  • no added sugar
  • no added phosphates
  • appropriate potassium for your needs

Potassium additives are quite common in milk as well. These may need to be avoided if you are on a low potassium diet.

Read more about the different kidney-friendly milk options here.

Smoothies

Smoothies can be a great source of nutrition and energy for those with kidney disease.

They are incredibly versatile and can be modified to meet anyone’s personal preferences and goals.

To make a kidney-friendly smoothie, try this basic template.

Grab the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk or liquid of choice
  • 1 cup frozen fruit
  • A handful of chopped greens (such as kale or spinach)
  • 1 tablespoon of nut butter or seeds (like almond butter, chia seeds, or ground flaxseed)

Next, add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth!

There are plenty of kidney-friendly fruits and veggies you can add to a smoothie.

If you need to limit potassium, stick to the lower potassium fruit and veggie options.

Learn more about following a low potassium diet here.

Juice

While not as filling as smoothies, juices can still fit into a renal diet.

Juice is made from fruit and vegetable liquids. This means juice will not contain the fiber from the fruits or vegetables.

This is why many people are concerned with the sugars in juice – it can require a lot of fruit to make one glass.

People with diabetes may experience higher blood sugar spikes if drinking juice alone.

Juice is a good drink for kidney patients. Just stick to a 4-ounce daily serving.

Low-potassium juices

Here are some juice options you may be able to enjoy while sticking to a low potassium diet.

Four ounces of fruit juice is equal to one serving of fruit.

JuicePotassium (mg) in 4 ounces
Cranberry juice98
Apple juice125
Grape juice41
Pineapple juice163
Grapefruit juice200
Information obtained from USDA Food Database. Nutrition information may vary based on product. Always read the nutrition label for the most up-to-date information.

Be cautious with grapefruit juice

Grapefruit juice should be cleared by your doctor before being added to your diet.

This is because it can interfere with medications, including;

  • Atorvastatin (for high cholesterol)
  • Nifedipine (for high blood pressure)
  • Cyclosporine (for organ transplants)
  • Buspirone (for anxiety)
  • Budesonide (for Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis) 
  • Amiodarone (for abnormal heart rhythms)
  • Fexofenadine (for allergies)

High-potassium juices

If you don’t need to limit potassium, adding in some high potassium juices (or smoothies) can be a great way to stay hydrated and add variety to your drinks through the day.

Here are some high potassium juices in 4-ounce servings.

JuicePotassium (mg) in 4 ounces
Pomegranate juice217
Cherry juice (tart)217
Orange juice221
Tomato juice264
Celery juice307
Carrot juice345
Prune juice354

If including juice in your day, try sticking to one four-ounce serving daily.

Aim for the other 2-4 servings of fruit to come from whole fruits for the fiber and other nutrients that come with it.

Sparkling Water

Sparkling water is a great alternative to sodas and sugar-sweetened beverages, which increase the risk of worsening CKD.

Club soda is an example of sparkling water.

It’s simply water that has had carbonation added to it for a bubbly effect.

Look for sparkling water that contains only carbonated water and natural flavors. Some brands may include additives that have potassium, which may not be advised.

Examples of sparkling water brands that are good for kidneys include

  • Bubly®
  • La Croix®
  • Spindrift®
  • Waterloo®
  • Good & Gather®
  • San Pellegrino®
  • Perrier®

Be sure to choose sparkling waters that have no added sugar and no added salt.

These are things kidney patients may need to limit, and adding them to beverages will help your kidneys.

Sparkling waters to avoid

Some sparkling waters contain potassium and/or phosphorus additives. Examples include

  • Clear American®
  • Sparkling Ice®
  • Aquafina Flavor Splash®
  • Propel Water®

It’s important to read the ingredient list to search for additives.

Potassium and phosphate additives are highly absorbed. Therefore, they can make it difficult to control potassium and phosphorus levels.

Water

Finally, it should be no surprise that plain ol’ water makes for a good kidney drink. 

Our bodies and our kidneys need plenty of water to:

  • help us with keeping a normal temperature
  • provide joint support
  • give the kidneys a way to eliminate toxins and wastes

No, you don’t need special alkaline water to get the benefits. There is no evidence that products like alkaline water do anything for our health.

Save your money and invest instead in a good water filter for your sink if water filtration in your home is a concern.

That way, you’ll be using the water you already have available to you at any time.

Don’t forget that there are plenty of ways to add flavor to your water to stay hydrated.

Tips to Increase Water Intake

Drinking plenty of water is key to protecting your kidney function.

Here are some tips to help you drink more water throughout the day.

  • Add in a few slices of your favorite fruit with some herbs like basil or mint. Allow to infuse for a couple of hours or overnight before enjoying.
  • Pour your self a full pitcher of water overnight to cool in the fridge. When you wake up, you’ll have a visual and physical reminder of the water you should drink throughout the day.
  • Set an alarm or reminder on your phone every 1-2 hours to remind yourself to drink water.
  • Take a moment in the afternoon to relax with a cup of tea.
  • Make a pot of iron water to hydrate and get extra iron.

If you need to limit fluids, be sure to stick to your fluid restriction. Adding in more fluids when it’s not advised can be harmful to your health.

Water flavor ideas:
Strawberry + basil
Lemon + raspberries
Orange + cloves
Blueberry + mint
Grapefruit + rosemary
Apple + cinnamon

Be careful with grapefruit as it can interact with many medications, including blood pressure and heart medications. Get your doctor’s approval before incorporating grapefruit in any way.

Is coconut water okay for kidney patients?

Many people ask about coconut water and kidney disease. Coconut water is very high in potassium.

An 8-oz serving of coconut water can have 600 milligrams of potassium.

Many coconut water beverages in the market will also contain added sugar, something that should be limited for kidney health.

Summary 

There are plenty of drinks that are good for the kidneys. Hydrating is an important part of keeping kidneys healthy and filtering. To do this, you may want to have a variety of drinks to keep it from being boring.

Choose water as your primary source of hydration for the day, either flat or sparkling. Just be sure it does not have phosphorus or potassium additives and no added sugar or salt.

Flavor your water to change it up. Try adding fruits like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or apples along with herbs like basil, mint, or rosemary and spices like cinnamon and clove.

Coffee, tea, milk, and juices can also be good drinks for kidney patients so long as their enjoyed in moderation. Stick to no more than 2-3 cups of coffee or tea per day. For juice, limit to 4 ounces per day and enjoy the rest of your fruit servings as whole fruits to get the most of the nutrients in them.

Add in drinks that you truly enjoy. The key is to stay hydrated and feel good with your drink choices.

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Board-Certified Specialist in Renal Nutrition | Website | + posts

Jen Hernandez is a registered dietitian and board-certified specialist in renal nutrition. She has nearly a decade of experience with kidney disease patients in all stages - from stage 1 through kidney transplant. Jen writes on the blog of Plant-Powered Kidneys to help reach and teach more kidney patients about how they can enjoy more foods in a plant-based diet while protecting kidney health.

41 thoughts on “Good Drinks for Kidneys (and some to avoid!)”

    1. Jen Hernandez RDN, CSR, LDN

      Kombucha may be okay in some situations, but there are a few things to consider. One- the added sugar. Kombucha is traditionally very bitter from the fermentation, so many add sugar (and a lot of it). Two- the fermentation process. Not all are safe, and not everyone with CKD is cleared to have fermented drinks that may carry bacteria. Check with your healthcare team to see if it’s something you could add, if you want to. It’s not something we typically recommend unless a person truly enjoys it.

  1. Thank you for sharing this information with us. It is very beneficial for me and I am glad to know about the smoothies. I have no tried making smoothies because I did not know the ingredients to use to be kidney friendly. I look forward to making smoothies. thank you.

    1. Jen Hernandez RDN, CSR, LDN

      Oh, I’m so excited for you, Prescilla! Smoothies are a great way to get in a lot of nutrients without feeling overwhelmed with a big plate of produce. 🙂

      1. Dr. zevia is one of the kidney friendly drinks I have used to replace my diet coke addiction. It doesnt taste all that great but it has grown on me some.

        1. Jen Hernandez RDN, CSR, LDN

          Zevia is a great phos-free brand, John! And yes, changing brands always means accepting it won’t taste like the “original,” but when we focus on why the switch is good for us, it often makes it better! 🙂

    1. Jen Hernandez RDN, CSR, LDN

      Hi Richard! It depends on several things, including the brand and even flavor. Sometimes certain flavors from the same brands will have different additives. Check the label and try to avoid additives as much as possible. Bubly is usually a good option and still counts towards your water goal for the day. 🙂

    1. Jen Hernandez RDN, CSR, LDN

      One of my favorite quick go-tos is a simple blueberry smoothie. One cup milk of preference, one cup frozen blueberries, one tablespoon chia seeds, and a half cup of preferred yogurt. Easy and delicious!

    1. Jen Hernandez RDN, CSR, LDN

      Some have been found to be good. Just be sure to check the ingredients list for additives that aren’t kidney friendly. Cheers!

  2. Are sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade good for kidneys? I suffer from kidney stones alot and travel with my job alot. Water isn’t always a viable option.

    1. Jen Hernandez RDN, CSR, LDN

      These can have a lot of added sugars, which are not good for kidney stones. Some types also have additives, which can be problematic for the kidneys as well. Water is the gold standard and what we should be drinking mostly. Certain flavored waters can be okay- would that be an option for you, Ashley?

  3. I just want to confirm that it’s safe to drink the Zevia cola and Dr. Zevia occasionally. I wish I’d known about how dark cola can harm years ago before I found your Facebook group!

    1. Jen Hernandez RDN, CSR, LDN

      Hey Kathy! Zevia is a great brand that I have recommended. Last I checked, they avoid phosphate additives, which is fantastic! It’s important to know that not all dark colas are bad… it’s the ingredients that make it good or bad, and they’re not all made the same.

    1. Jen Hernandez RDN, CSR, LDN

      Dialysis drinks can be reviewed with the dietitian in the dialysis clinic for the most personalized preferences. 😊

  4. I just found that my cholesterol is very high, can u please tell me some of the food I can eat to help me to decrease it. I am from the Caribbean and love to eat all those fatty food. Please help me with my food choices. Thanks!

    1. Hi Vevalyn,
      This is a great question for one of our dieticians.
      It may not be necessary for you to remove fatty foods from your diet completely.
      Changing the type of fats you consume may make a difference.
      Check out our blog on oil

  5. I am currently on dialisys and aware of most drinks not allowed. However, I am mostly tired during the day so I would like to enquire on the safety of drinks like Red Bull power drinks. Thanks.
    I am from Cape Town, South Africa

    1. Jen Hernandez RDN, CSR, LDN

      Hi Selwyn! Low energy is quite common with dialysis, unfortunately. It may be related to anemia as well. We recommend speaking with your dialysis team before using energy drinks like Red Bull as they may impact blood pressure and heart health in negative ways.

    1. Jen Hernandez RDN, CSR, LDN

      There can be many out there to fit into a kidney-friendly diet. Some of the more common ones are lemon-lime flavored, orange, even root beer. But it’s important to avoid phosphate additives, which are commonly found in sodas.

  6. Thank you! Very helpful information. My mom has kidney disease and drinks a lot of Propel water, but doesn’t work out or sweat so doesn’t need to replace her electrolytes, but her magnesium is very low and I got her on a magnesium citrate, glycinate, and malate supplement combo with a little zinc. Her doctor had her on magnesium oxide, which after a quick search I found it is not a good supplement for magnesium deficiency! I try to tell her to stay away from too much Propel and do water as she struggles with tummy and digestive issues and is on a very restricted diet due to jaw joint replacements!! I am sharing this with her and trying to get her to do smoothies for protein, etc too…

    1. Jen Hernandez RDN, CSR, LDN

      Thanks for sharing, Krista! She may enjoy True Lemon – it’s a powdered water flavoring that we have often recommended. Despite the name, they actually have several flavor options!

    1. Jen Hernandez RDN, CSR, LDN

      I want to be sure I’m understanding your question correctly, Anneli. Did you mean “some” biscuits when you said “shop” biscuits? If so, yes! Look for options lower in added sugar and sodium when possible.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top