Good Drinks for Kidneys (and some to avoid!)

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It doesn’t just matter how much you drink for kidney health but what you’re drinking that makes drinks good for kidneys. Beverages can be great to keep you hydrated and allow the kidneys to filter out toxins and wastes.

There are certain drinks that have good-for-you qualities related to your kidneys. Learn here what makes for some of the best drinks for kidneys.

Drink Options Good For Kidneys
In background of text, several clear glasses of water, garnished with layered slices of oranges and lemons. A sprig of mint is added on top.

Coffee

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

It provides antioxidants and has been shown to help with other health ailments like protection against cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and congestive heart failure.

It’s important to note that there is a “cap” on coffee’s benefits. Keep total caffeine intake to a max of 400 milligrams per day, which is approximately 3-4 cups of black coffee.

You can read more about coffee and kidney disease here.

Tea

Certain teas are good for kidneys, but there are also teas that are not. Keep in mind that some tea products may add other ingredients, which are not always advised or safe.

Teas that promote laxative or diuretic effects can be problematic for those with kidney disease. Certain herbal teas and remedies can be bad for kidneys, causing further kidney damage.

Below are some examples of teas that are good for kidneys.

Peppermint Tea

Digestive issues are common for people with kidney disease. Peppermint tea has been shown to help digestion.

Try adding peppermint tea after a meal. You may also find it’s enjoyable in the evening. Peppermint tea is naturally caffeine-free.

Ginger Tea

Another tea that helps with digestion is ginger tea. Ginger is used for nausea, a side effect of many medications as well as 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.

Keep ginger tea on hand for when you feel nauseated. 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.

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.

While green tea does contain oxalates, it has been shown to reduce the number of 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.

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

Milk

Milk can be a good drink for kidneys, but it’s important to know what to look for. There are dozens of different milk options to choose from these days.

To choose kidney-friendly milk, opt for one that has no added sugar.

Read the ingredients list and avoid any kinds of milk that have phosphate additives. Potassium additives are quite common in milk as well, which 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 (kale or spinach)
  • 1 tablespoon of nut butter or seeds (like chia or flaxseed)

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

Add 1 cup liquid of choice, 1 cup frozen fruit, 1 Tbsp nut butter or seeds, and a handful of chopped greens (kale pictured) to a blender. 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.

You can learn more about following a low potassium diet here.

Juice

While not as filling as smoothies, juices can still fit into your diet and be good drinks for your kidneys.

Keep in mind that juice is taken from fruits and vegetables, leaving the fiber behind. This is why many people are concerned with the sugars in juice. People with diabetes may experience higher blood sugar spikes if drinking juice alone.

Low-potassium juices

If you need to limit potassium, here are some juice options you may be able to enjoy while keeping potassium levels down.

The amount of potassium in the table is per 4 ounces of juice, which is considered a serving of fruit.

JuicePotassium (mg) in 4 ounces
Cranberry juice98
Apple juice125
Grape juice132
Beet juice159
Pineapple juice163
Grapefruit juice200

A warning about 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 keep kidneys healthy.

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

JuicePotassium (mg) in 4 ounces
Pomegranate juice217
Cherry juice (tart)217
Orange juice248
Tomato juice278
Celery juice307
Carrot juice345
Prune juice (canned)354

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 is not advised.

Examples of sparkling water that are good for kidneys include;

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

Sparkling waters to avoid

Some sparkline 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, which are highly absorbed and 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, providing joint support, and of course giving the kidneys a way to eliminate toxins and wastes.

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

Save your money and invest instead in a good water filter for your sink. 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! 

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.

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.

A warning about coconut water

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

An 8-oz serving of coconut water will provide 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.

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

More articles you may enjoy

Fluid Restriction in Kidney Disease
Is milk bad for kidneys?
Is Milk Bad for Kidneys?
Coffee and Your Kidneys

23 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.

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