Which Oil is Best for a Kidney Patient?

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Oils are a type of fat used in cooking. Fat can be a healthy food for kidneys depending on the type and amount that is consumed. Too much of the wrong kind of oil may be harmful to health. Read on to learn which oil is best for kidney patient and may improve chronic kidney disease.

What Are Oils? 

Oils are a type of fat. They are not a food group. They do provide the same nutrition as fats. These include: 

Like other fats, oils also help produce hormones, absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K), and can provide energy. You can eat oils raw or cook with them.

What Are The Different Types of Fats

Different types of fats make up oils. Their names come from the type of chemical bonds they have. Oils differ by the type of fat they have. These include

  • Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs)
  • Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs)
  • Saturated fats (SFAs)
  • Trans fats (TFAs)

Monounsaturated Fats (MUFAs)

The word “unsaturated” means there is a double bond in its chemical structure. “Mono” refers to one. So the name “monounsaturated fatty acids or monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) are fats that have only one double bond.

The chemical structure plays a role in how it is processed. Fats that break down easily are healthier for you. Unsaturated fats like MUFAs are healthy fats because they are easier to digest. 

The diet does not require an intake of monounsaturated fats. However, they do offer some health benefits when eaten in moderation. MUFAs can lower triglycerides, the “bad” LDL cholesterol, and prevent the risk of heart disease.

Polyunsaturated Fats (PUFAs)

Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) are another type of unsaturated fat. The word “poly” means more than one. So this type of fat contains two or more double bonds. There are two types of PUFAs: 

  • Omega-3  fatty acids
  • Omega-6 fatty acids

The numbers 3 and 6 refer to where the double bond is located on the chemical structure of these fats. This is also what differentiates them from each other. 

These are “essential” fats. This means they must be part of the diet. 

These fats also offer health benefits. Omega-3 fats may lower triglycerides, blood pressure, and prevent the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Omega-6 fats may regulate blood sugar and blood pressure.

Some research indicates there needs to be a balanced ratio of omega 3 and omega 6. Other evidence says this amount is unknown and it is best to just focus on getting a higher intake of omega 3 fats.

Omega 6 intakes should be less than omega 3 fats.

Saturated Fats (SFAs)

Saturated fats (SFAs) are a type of fat that contains no double bonds. This makes them fats solid at room temperature. SFAs also vary by length of the chemical structure. There are three types of saturated fats: short, medium, and long. 

People with kidney issues should not eat saturated fat. Too many of these fats are bad for heart and kidney health.

Trans Fats (TFAs)

Trans fats (TFAs) are unsaturated fatty acids. TFAs occur naturally. They are also made in a lab. Hydrogenation is a process used to make TFAs. It prevents PUFA and MUFA oils from going rancid.

These types of fats are solid at room temperature. Trans fats can also occur naturally in some animal foods such as meat and dairy.

Trans fats can harm the kidneys and heart. They cause high cholesterol, obesity, colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes. TFA intake should be minimized or avoided altogether.

What Are Different Types of Oils

Oils are fats in foods. Oils help with cooking, baking, and frying. What makes them different from each has to do with the type of fat they contain.

The following are different types of oils:

  • Almond oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Butter
  • Canola oil
  • Clarified butter (Ghee)
  • Corn oil
  • Cottonseed oil
  • Duck Fat
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Hemp seed oil
  • Lard (Pork Fat)
  • Margarine
  • Mustard oil
  • Olive oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Rice bran oil
  • Safflower oil (high oleic)
  • Sesame oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Vegetable oil
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Walnut Oil

Read below to learn more about the different types of oils, what fats they are made of, and their health benefits.

Almond Oil

Almonds make almond oil. It consists mainly of polyunsaturated fats. Almond oil is about 50 to 82 percent oleic acid and 8 to 28 percent linoleic acid. This oil also contains about 8 to 9 percent saturated fat.

This oil contains flavonoids, tocopherols, and phenols. These antioxidant compounds help reduce inflammation and improve health. Their properties may prevent heart disease. It has the ability to lower triglycerides, “bad” LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels.

The combination of low saturated fat content and high unsaturated fat makes this a stable oil and may prolong its shelf life.

Avocado Oil

The flesh of pressed avocados makes avocado oil. It is an oil high in unsaturated fats. Sixty percent of the fat comes from monounsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fasts account for 10% of fats found in this oil.

The quality of the avocado oil depends on the maturity of the fruit and the extraction technique in relation to temperature, solvents, and conservation. 

The cold-pressed version of this oil contains chlorophylls and carotenoids. These are antioxidant compounds that give avocado its green color.

This type of processing also offers a delicate buttery flavor without the pungent notes of extra virgin olive oil.

Potassium in Avocado Oil

While avocados are high in potassium, avocado oil does not contain any potassium or phosphorus. This makes it a CKD-friendly food.

Current research shows this oil is nutritious at both low and high temperatures. Avocadoes are beneficial to cancer, diabetes, and heart disease in test-tube and animal studies. There is also still a lot we don’t know about avocado oil and its potential effects on health.

The antioxidants in avocado oil may improve cholesterol levels, blood vessel function and regulate blood sugar. Another antioxidant tocopherol found in avocado oil can prevent the production of free radicals at high temperatures in dark situations.

This may help make avocado oil a good oil for cooking.

Avocado oil is expensive. It can also contain other vegetable oils. This will alter the fat profile of the oil and can dilute the quality of avocado oil. Better standards will make a quality oil.

Beef Fat (Beef Tallow)

While not specifically an oil. Beef tallow is a saturated fat that comes from beef or mutton. It is a solid that melts into an oil when heated. One tablespoon contains about 6 grams of saturated fat, 5 grams of monounsaturated fat, and 14 milligrams of cholesterol.

Typically, this fat does not contain sodium, phosphorus, or potassium. Beef tallow can also be high in salt.

Soybean and cottonseed oil can be in beef tallow. This does not affect the monounsaturated fat content. However, the cholesterol content is about 2 milligrams less than the regular beef tallow. 

Research shows this fat raised cholesterol when compared with leaner meats, chicken, and fish.


Butter is a popular flavor enhancer in cooking. People with kidney disease should limit or avoid this food due to its high saturated fat and sodium levels.

One-half cup of butter contains about 524 mg of salt and 46 grams of saturated fat.

Canola oil

Canola oil or rapeseed oil comes from the seeds of the rapeseed plant. This bright-yellow flowering plant is a member of the cabbage family. 

If you’re wondering, is canola oil good for kidney patients? It depends on the type of oil.

Canola oil does not contain any phosphorus or potassium. The majority of canola oil is unsaturated fats. Its two main fats are oleic and linoleic acids.

Oleic acid is a MUFA and linolenic acid better known as omega 6 is a PUFA. It also contains 11% of the other essential PUFA, omega 3.

When it comes to saturated fat, there is less than 10% of this type of fat in the oil.

Canola oil is also a good source of vitamin E and K. One tablespoon of canola oil also provides 16% vitamin E and 7 to 10% of the daily recommendation intake (DRI) for vitamin K. Canola oil also contains antioxidants chlorophyll and beta-carotene.

Refined canola oil is lower in healthy fat, vitamins, and antioxidants than cold-pressed oil.

Often genetically modified rapeseeds make up canola oil. Early research indicated these crops may be harmful to the kidneys. Newer research is also inconclusive. There is not enough information to know if GMOs are safe or bad for your health. 

This unsaturated essential fats in canola oil could improve in heart health. This will help kidney function. These benefits are associated with a less refined oil that has not been heated.

When choosing a canola oil it may be best to purchase a non-GMO cold-pressed variety to get the best nutrition.

If you have questions about canola oils ask your renal dietitian how you can balance your fat intake to optimize the health of your kidneys.

Clarified Butter (Ghee, GHRT, Samna)

Clarified butter or ghee, ghrt, and samna is the fat from butter. Ghee is just regular butter that only contains the buttter fat.

Clarified butter has a longer shelf life. You can make it at home or buy it from the store.

It contains less lactose and casein than regular butter. A half-cup of clarified butter contains about 60 grams of saturated fat and 300 mg of cholesterol.

Ghee is associated with a significantly lower prevalence of coronary heart disease in rural Indian men. High doses decreased cholesterol and triglycerides in people with psoriasis. 

There is no research on how it affects those with kidney problems or CKD disease. Depending on your health status, consuming a lot of saturated fat may be harmful.

It is best to ask your healthcare team if clarified butter is right for your diet.

Chicken Fat 

Chicken fat is a by-product of chicken production. It contains oleic, palmitic, and linoleic acids. These are high in unsaturated fats MUFA and PUFA. There are also SFAs in chicken fat.

Chicken also contains vitamins A, D, E, K. It also has some B vitamins. So there is a chance the chicken fat offers some nutrition.

Chicken and its skin can also be high in sodium, phosphorus, and potassium. Those with restrictions on these nutrients may need to limit their intake of chicken fat.

Coconut Oil

The oil in coconuts is technically a fat source. This is because it is solid at room temperature. Due to all the health claims surrounding this food we decided to include it in our list of oils.

This oil comes from the kernel or meat of ripe coconuts. The two types of coconut oil are: 

  • Copra oil (refined)
  • Virgin coconut oil (VCO)

Copra and virgin coconut oil have the same types of fat but differ in their nutrient levels. VCO has higher levels of vitamin E and antioxidant polyphenols. Refined coconut oil will result in lower nutrient and antioxidant levels. 

Coconut oil is about 90% saturated fat. This oil was associated with significant increases in the “bad” LDL cholesterol when compared with nontropical vegetable oils such as soybean oil, olive oil, safflower oil, and canola oil. 

When it comes to the question, ”Is coconut oil good for kidney patients?” The jury is still out. 

There is no current information on how copra or virgin coconut oil specifically affects the kidneys. Diets high in saturated fats like coconut oil may affect heart health and cause or worsen renal problems.

If you are wondering “Is coconut oil ok for kidney disease,” the answer depends on your overall kidney and heart health. To protect the health of the kidneys saturated fats like coconut oil should be consumed in moderation. If you have fat restrictions you may need to avoid this oil altogether. 

When in doubt ask your renal dietitian if coconut oil will hurt your kidney health.

Corn Oil

Corn oil comes from the germ of the vegetable corn. This oil is highest in PUFAs with the most coming from linoleic acid (34 to 60%). The second highest fat is the monounsaturated fat oleic acid. There is also about 13 percent saturated fat corn oil.

Corn oil is also a good source of vitamin E and the antioxidant phytosterols. These compounds prevent the oil from going bad and may lower inflammation.

Turning corn into oil is a highly refined process. It lowers the nutrient content and also produces by-products that may be harmful to 

A large portion of the corn that is grown in the United States may also contain GMOs and glyphosate. These substances have been associated with harmful effects and an increase in the sensitivity and allergies to corn. 

Like with other GMO research some studies show no issue with this crop. Longer studies need to be carried out to see how these types of foods affect people over time.

The PUFA linoleic acid found in corn may improve skin, reproductive, heart, kidney, immune, and gastrointestinal health. Getting 8 to 10 percent PUFAs in the diet could also prevent heart disease. 

Though corn oil may be a good way to improve your PUFA intake, there is still a significant amount of saturated fat in corn oil. This combined with its refined processing makes it not the best choice for those with kidney issues.

Cottonseed Oil

Cottonseed oil comes from the seeds of a cotton plant. It is a by-product of cotton manufacturing and was heavily used as a vegetable oil at one time.

Cottonseed oil is made up of 24 percent saturated fatty acids, 26 percent monounsaturated fatty acids, and 50 percent polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Adding this oil to a high-fat meal increased HDL in men by 8 percent. It also lowered total cholesterol, LDL and decreased triglycerides by 30 percent. 

Despite these health benefits cottonseed oil is highly refined and high in saturated fat when compared to other oils. Cottonseed oil is not for the kidneys and should be avoided by renal patients.

Duck Fat

Duck fat comes from the skin of ducks. It contains MUFA oleic acid and PUFA linoleic acid. There is also a large amount of saturated fat. A one-half cup contains about 32 grams of saturated fat.

Oleic acid was found to benefit heart health and some argue that since duck fat contains this MUFA it may offer similar health benefits.  

When compared with other animal fats chicken, pig, and beef fats, duck fat had both the least amount of saturated fat and the most unsaturated fats. So it may be a little healthier than some other animal fats. 

Duck fat also has a tendency to go bad faster than other fats and oils when put in hot temperatures.

Despite the potential health benefits duck fat is still very high in saturated fat and should be limited or avoided by those with kidney patients.

Flaxseed (Linseed) Oil

Linum usitatissimum or Flaxseed means “very useful” in Latin. Flaxseed is used when it is being referred to as a food item. Linseed is a term in regards to it being used for industry and feed purposes.

Flaxseed contains the PUFA fats omega-3 and omega 6 and the antioxidants phenols. 

Flaxseed has been researched for its positive effects on heart health, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer risk, arthritis, autoimmune, osteoporosis, and neurological disorders. It is also anti-inflammatory and may improve blood vessel function.

Flaxseed is also high in potassium and phosphorus. So these nutrients are also in their oils. 

People who have potassium and phosphorus nutrient restrictions should be careful with their intake of flaxseed and possibly avoid this oil.

The high level of unsaturated fat makes flaxseed oil go bad easily. So it needs to be stored in the refrigerator to lengthen its shelf life. 

Grapeseed Oil 

Grapeseed oil comes from the seeds of Sativa grapes. It is a by-product of the wine-making process. 

Grapeseed oil is made up mostly of unsaturated fats. One tablespoon contains about 70 grams PUFA, 16 grams MUFA, and 10 grams saturated fat. 

The main PUFAs in grapeseed oil is linolenic acid. This essential fat accounts for between 66 and 75 percent of the oil’s total fat content. This oil is also a rich source of vitamin E and the antioxidants flavonoids, carotenoids, tannins, resveratrol, and quercetin. These compounds have anti-inflammatory capabilities that may improve health. 

Grapeseed oil can be highly refined if they are extracted using heat and chemicals. This can lower nutrient levels and leave harmful solvent residues in the oils. Cold-pressed oils have been found to be safer and have higher nutrition levels.

The nutrition of the oil also depends on the quality, maturation, and environment of the seed. This is not regulated so oil standards may vary from brand to brand.

Research shows an association between grapeseed oil and lower markers of inflammation when compared with sunflower oil. Another small study found that grapeseed oil prevented blood platelets from sticking together better than peanut oil. This may prevent atherosclerosis.

While promising, the amount of grapeseed oil that needs to be consumed for health benefits is quite large. So using this oil here and there in the diet may not have the same effect. 

More research needs to be done to see the true effects of this oil on kidney disease.

Hemp Seed Oil 

Hemp seed oil is the oil seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant. This is a different variety than the cannabis plant known for making marijuana. Hemp plants do contain trace amounts of the psychoactive compounds THC but they will not get you high.

This oil contains about 76% PUFAs with a small amount of monounsaturated fat and saturated fat. One tablespoon contains about 11 grams PUFA, 2 grams monounsaturated fat, and 1 gram saturated fat.

The hemp seed oil contains a good ratio of the PUFAs omega 3 and omega 6 fats. These are essential fats that need to be consumed in the diet. This oil also is a good source of vitamin E, and the antioxidants chlorophyll, carotenoids, and phenols. 

This is a cold-pressed unrefined oil with a nutty flavor. The darker the green color, the grassier it tastes. The green color also protects its shelf-life. When exposed to light it will turn to a yellowish color.

The presence of omega 3 and omega 6 fat in hemp oil may help reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, and heart disease. Hemp oil’s antioxidant compounds provide an anti-inflammatory effect that may help improve diabetes and immune health.

Hempseed oil may be beneficial, however, there is no information on how it specifically affects the kidneys or may interact with medications.

There is also quite a bit of variation between oils. When researched the shelf-life, THC content, and nutrient levels varied suggesting the need for a standard among hemp.

Be sure to ask your healthcare team if hemp seed oil can be helpful before trying it.

Lard (Pork Fat)

Lard is pork fat. It was originally used as butter until the 1970s. It is high in saturated fats with some unsaturated fats.

One tablespoon of pork fat contains 5 grams saturated fat, 5 grams monounsaturated fat, and 1 gram polyunsaturated fat.

Foods high in saturated fat are associated with high blood pressure and cholesterol. Too much pork fat is thought to increase heart disease risk. Animals that were given pork fat also had increases in their triglyceride levels.


Margarine was invented by a French chemist in 1869 when fats and oils were scarce in Western Europe. It was originally made from animal fat up until the 1970s when that was replaced with vegetable oils, like corn, cottonseed, safflower, soy, and sunflower.

One tablespoon of stick margarine contains about 2 to 3 grams of saturated fat, 3 to 4 grams of polyunsaturated fat, and 5 to 6 grams of monounsaturated fat. It may be fortified with vitamins A and E and omega-3 (EPA) fatty acids. 

Today margarine comes as a soft spread. Hydrogenated oils are also added to harden the margarine into a butter-like stick. These types of margarine also contain trans fat.

Margarine contains phosphorus, sodium, and potassium. It also contains potassium preservatives.

Margarine contains unhealthy fats and may be harmful to those with nutrient restrictions. The National Kidney Foundation also recommends using herbs and spices to flavor foods instead of spreads like margarine.

Mustard Oil

Mustard oil comes from the seeds of the Brassica plant. The oil is made from the Brassica nigra, Brassica alba, and Brassica juncae. These are black, white, and brown seeds. 

This oil is popular in oil used for cooking in India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh. 

Mustard oil is rich in unsaturated fats. It contains about 60% monounsaturated fats, 21% polyunsaturated fats, and 12% saturated fats. This oil contains 6% omega 3 and 15% omega 6 fat.

The oil also contains the compound allyl isothiocyanate. This gives it a pungent flavor and may reduce inflammation in animal and cell studies.

Some research shows the high levels of omega 3 fats in mustard oil may improve cholesterol levels and reduce cholesterol. Another study found this oil reduced the risk of coronary heart disease by 71 percent.

Mustard oil is a little controversial due to its high level of erucic acid a MUFA. High intake of this fat increased the risk of heart disease. This prompted the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban the use of mustard oil for cooking.

Later animal studies showed erucic acid may not be a bad as they thought. It stopped the body from producing too many triglycerides. 

Regardless of this new evidence, mustard oil is not allowed to be imported or sold unless the erucic acid content is very low. It is also only used for external use.

So when it comes to whether or not, “is mustard oil good for kidney patients,” the answer is no. 

Olive oil

Olive oil is made from pressing whole olives. There are five types of olive oil. They include

  • Refined olive oil (ROO)
  • Virgin olive oil (VOO)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • Pure olive oil
  • Light olive oil

Olive oil contains mostly monounsaturated fats. It also has PUFAs, and 10% of the daily required amount of vitamins E, and K. 

One tablespoon of olive oil contains about 9 grams of MUFAs, 2 grams of PUFAs, and 2 grams of saturated fat. Extra virgin olive has two additional grams of MUFA. 

Refined olive oil is the most processed and least healthy olive oil. It is also the lowest in nutrients and antioxidants. Virgin olive oil is less processed and offers more nutrition than refined olive oil (ROO). but less than extra virgin olive oil (EVOO).

Pure olive oil is not actually pure but a blend of extra virgin olive oil and processed oils. Light olive oil refers to the flavor of the oil and color of the oil. They are processed down to get a lighter color. These oils should be avoided.

EVOO contains a monounsaturated fat oleic acid. This fat has anti-inflammatory properties and is associated with improvements in heart health, cancer, high blood pressure, and atherosclerosis.

Healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil improve kidney function. One study found foods in the Mediterranean diet associated with a reduced decline of GFR.

Olive oil is also low in sodium, potassium, and phosphorus making it a type of fat that is ok for people with kidney disease. 

When choosing an olive oil opt for an unrefined extra virgin cold-pressed oil that bears a North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) standard seal.

Palm Oil

Palm oil comes from the middle layer of the tropical palm fruit. This oil is made up of 50% saturated fat, 40% monounsaturated fat, and 10 percent polyunsaturated fat.

This oil contains different types of saturated fats including palmitic, lauric, and myristic acid. Lauric and myristic acids may increase “bad” LDL cholesterol levels more than palmitic acid. 

Palm oil is often substituted for hydrogenated oils because it does not contain any trans fat. 

Some research shows adding palm oil to a low-fat diet may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. These positive effects may have you thinking, “is palm oil good for kidney patients? 

The answer is not really. Palm oil is high in saturated fat. This type of fat should be limited in those with kidney disease. Additionally, palm oil may be found to decrease GFR and cause inflammation in the kidneys of animals.  

The production of palm oil may also be bad for the environment.

Peanut Oil

Peanut oil is made from peanuts. It has a slightly “nutty” flavor and contains mostly MUFAs and PUFAs in the form of oleic acid and linolenic acid

One tablespoon of peanut oil contains 6 grams monounsaturated fat, 5 grams polyunsaturated fat, and 2.5 grams of saturated fat. This serving size of peanut oil also contains 11% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin E making it a good source of this nutrient.

There are four types of peanut oil. They include:

  • Refined peanut oil
  • Cold-pressed peanut oil
  • Gourmet peanut oil
  • Peanut oil blends

Refined peanut oil is more processed than other types. It is added to processed foods. It does not contain any peanut proteins and is okay for people with peanut allergies. Cold-pressed peanut oil is less processed and contains more nutrients than refined oil. 

Gourmet peanut oil is usually roasted and unrefined. Peanut oil blends are a mix of peanut and other vegetable oils. 

Peanut oil is considered a heart-healthy and kidney-friendly oil for those with CKD. It also contains resveratrol which has been linked to lower inflammation which may help stop the progression of kidney disease.

Pecan Oil

Pecan oil is an oil extracted from pecan nuts. It has a mild “nutty” taste and will take on the flavor of whatever it is added with. This is a gourmet oil and may be hard to find in regular local grocery stores but is available online.

Pecan oil is considered a healthy oil because it is high in unsaturated fats. It has about 50% of the MUFA oleic acid, 40% of the PUFA linoleic acid, and 10% saturated fat. 

The high level of MUFAs and PUFAs in nuts may increase “good” HDL cholesterol. They may also reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol.

Pecan oil also contains tocopherol, phenols, and phytosterols. These compounds are antioxidants that may kill cancer cells from multiplying.

Pecan oil can be cold-pressed or refined. Cold-pressed varieties are a better option to avoid harsh chemicals. 

This oil may be a good oil to add to the kidney diet if someone is looking for a heart-healthy fat. 

Rice Bran Oil

Rice bran oil is a by-product of rice milling. It is extracted from the chaff of rice husk. This is the outer brown layer of rice. This is a light, odorless pale yellow and translucent oil with a mild nutty flavor. Rice bran oil is popular in East Asia and India cooking

It is high in mono- and polyunsaturated fats. One tablespoon contains 5.3 grams MUFA, 4.8 grams PUFA, and 2.7 grams saturated fat. It is also a good source of vitamin E and the antioxidants phenols

Rice bran oil can prevent the production of free radicals and lower inflammation. This may improve immunity, blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. The compounds in rice bran oil are also associated with a lower risk of heart disease.

These benefits may be helpful to kidney patients. When choosing a rice bran oil look for a cold-pressed unrefined oil.

Safflower Oil

Safflower oil comes from the seeds of the safflower (Carthamus tinctorius) plant. There are two types of this flavorless and colorless oil. One is high in MUFA oleic acid. The other is high in PUFA linoleic acid.

Both oils are available for consumption low in saturated fats. One tablespoon of the high oleic safflower oil contains about 10 grams of monounsaturated fat, 2 grams polyunsaturated fat, and 1 gram of saturated fat.

A small review study indicated that including safflower oil in the diet may reduce the risk of heart diseases. This is because these types of unsaturated oils were able to lower cholesterol levels better than foods with saturated fat like lard or butter. 

When it comes to the safflower oil kidney disease connection there is no information as to how this oil specifically affects the kidneys. It is low in saturated fat but does not offer much nutrition beyond unsaturated fats. 

Some research shows safflower oil may be too high in omega 6 fats and can cause inflammation. 

More should be found out about this oil before it can be recommended for kidney patients.

Sesame Oil 

Sesame oil comes from raw or roasted sesame seeds. It comes in refined, semi-refined and cold-pressed varieties. Raw seeds create a pale yellow oil with a grain-like odor and somewhat “nutty” taste. Pressed and toasted seeds produce an amber-colored and fragrant oil.

This oil has a large percentage of PUFA linoleic acid and MUFA oleic acid. These unsaturated fats make up 75 to 85% of the fats in sesame oil. Only about 12 to 14% is saturated fat. Like other vegetable oils it is high in vitamin E. Sesame oil also contains lignans which are antioxidant compounds.

The lignans found in sesame oil may be anti-inflammatory. The beneficial properties of these compounds may also provide insights into the question, “is sesame oil good for kidney patients?”

Some research has shown that yes, the sesame seed oil is good for the kidneys. Sesame oil lowered inflammation and improved acute kidney infection in animals. This oil also improved blood urea nitrogen, creatine, urine volume, and albuminuria in rats with animals with CKD.

There is the possibility these effects could also occur in the kidneys of humans. More research needs to be done to know how it can affect CKD in people.

Soybean Oil

Soybean oil is a vegetable oil extracted from soybean seeds. It contains mostly unsaturated fats with the majority coming from PUFAs. One tablespoon of soybean oil contains about 8 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 3 grams MUFAs, and 2 grams saturated fat.

Soy protein itself has been associated with improved kidney health. It has the ability to improve both phosphorus and triglycerides levels. Soy protein has also been seen to slow the progression of CKD.

There is also no research on how soybean oil affects kidney disease. Additionally, soybean oil is highly refined and may contain GMOs. About 94% of the soybeans planted contain GMOs. So there is the possibility that most soybean oils will contain these compounds. 

There is some controversy over the health of these compounds. The true safety and long-term effects of GMOs are unknown. If you choose to use soybean oil look for a quality product that is organic, non-GMO, cold-pressed, and unrefined.

Sunflower oil

Sunflower oil is extracted from the seeds of the sunflower (Helianthus annuus). It has a neutral taste. 

There are three types of sunflower oil depending on the type of fat they contain. They are 

  • High linoleic sunflower oil
  • Mid-oleic sunflower oil
  • High oleic sunflower oil

One tablespoon of high linoleic acid sunflower oil has about 9 grams PUFA, 3 grams MUFA, and 1 gram saturated fat.

The mid-oleic oil has about 9 grams PUFA, 8 grams MUFA, and 1 gram saturated fat.

The high oleic sunflower oils are high in oleic acid with about 2 grams  PUFA, 10 grams MUFA, and 1 gram saturated fat. 

Sunflower oil is also a good source of vitamin E and antioxidants.

Sunflower oil comes as highly refined or cold or expeller pressed. Refined sunflower oil removes some of the flavor and color making it a pale-yellow color. 

To get the best nutrition you want to choose a high oleic sunflower oil that is cold or expeller pressed.

Sunflower seeds are a healthy food that lowers inflammation. This can regulate blood sugar, relax blood vessels, and lower blood pressure. 

Sunflower seeds provide healthy fat which is important for improving CKD. So if sunflower seeds are good for the kidneys, is sunflower oil good for kidney patients?

There is no research showing how sunflower oil affects the kidneys. So it is best to use this oil sparingly and ask your renal dietitian if it may pose any health risks.

Vegetable Shortening

Vegetable shortening is vegetable oils that have been hydrogenated into solid fats. They are one hundred percent fat and high in trans fat. This type of fat is used to make baked goods crumbly, flaky, and tender.

Diets high in this type of fat are unhealthy and may lead to weight gain, obesity, and high blood sugar. People with kidney disease should avoid this type of fat.

Walnut Oil

Walnut oil is the oil extracted from walnuts. It is high in unsaturated fats with about 72% coming from PUFAs, 13% from MUFAs, and 9% from saturated fat. 

The PUFAs consist of omega 3 and omega 6 fats. MUFA is made up of oleic acid. One tablespoon contains about 9 grams PUFA, 3 grams MUFA and 1 gram saturated fat.

Walnuts also contain phenols. These substances are antioxidants associated with good health.

Daily consumption of walnuts themselves was found to protect against heart disease in those with CKD. Walnut oil was able to improve damaged animal kidney cells. 

The health benefits of the fats and antioxidants in walnuts may give walnut oil the ability to improve CKD in humans.

Which Oil is Best for Eating Raw

The fat profile of oil will determine the best way to consume it. For some oils cooking will destroy the flavor and nutritional value.

The following oils are best consumed raw in cold dishes, steamed vegetables, marinades, and salad dressings:

Which Oil is Best for Cooking

The best cooking oils are determined by how well they can take the heat. Different cooking methods use different temperatures. The heat needed for frying is a lot higher than that for sauteing. 

This means there could be the need for different oils for different types of cooking. How well an oil stands up to the heat depends on its smoke point. 

Also known as the burning point, the smoke point is the temperature where oil will create a bluish smoke and start to burn. This is also the point when the chemical structure of the oil will change and may give off harmful chemicals.

Some research says the smoke point depends on how many different types of fats are found within an oil. Other evidence says fat is usually less than one percent of the total oil and this alone cannot indicate the oil’s ability to be heated.

Other factors that play into a smoke point include how much oil is used, the size of the container it is cooked in, the flow of air currents, the type and source of light, and the overall stability of the oil.

For now, we will use the smoke point to determine the type of oil used for different cooking methods.

Different Cooking Oil Smoke Points

There are many different cooking oil smoke points. See the various temperatures in the oil smoke point chart below. They are broken out by high, medium, and low heat temperatures.

High Heat Cooking Oils

The following are high heat oils:

  • The almond oil smoke point is between 420 to 430°F
  • The Avocado oil smoke point is 520°F
  • The beef tallow smoke point is 480°F
  • The butter’s smoke point is 302°F salted and unsalted it is 400°F
  • The canola oil smoke point is between 450 and 446°F
  • The clarified butter (ghee) smoke point is 482°F
  • The cottonseed smoke point is  446°F
  • The grapeseed oil smoke point is 421°F
  • The mustard smoke point is 480°F
  • The virgin olive oil smoke point is 410°F
  • The palm oil smoke point is 455°F
  • The soybean oil smoke point is 453°F
  • The peanut oil smoke point is 455°F
  • The pecan oil smoke point is 470°F
  • The rice bran oil smoke point is 450°F

Medium Heat Cooking Oils

The following are medium heat oils:

  • The coconut oil smoke point is  350°F
  • The hemp seed smoke point is 330°F
  • The lard smoke point is 374 °F
  • The EVOO smoke point is 374°F
  • The margarine smoke point is 325°F
  • The corn oil smoke point is  352°F
  • The sesame oil smoke point is 350°F
  • The walnut oil smoke point is 399°F

Low Heat Cooking Oils

The following are low heat oils:

  • The flaxseed smoke point is 225°F
  • The safflower oil smoke point is 225°F
  • The sunflower oil smoke point is 225°F

Which Oil is Best for Medium Heat Cooking

Medium heat cooking requires a moderate smoke point. This is between 300 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Based on the smoke points above the following oils are best for medium-heat cooking.

  • Extra virgin 
  • Sesame oil (unrefined)
  • Sunflower oil (unrefined)

Which Oil is Best for High Heat Cooking

Now that we know the high smoke point oils we can determine which high heat cooking oils should be used for different methods of cooking.

High heat is considered to be a temperature between 400°F and 600°F. Sauteing, baking, and roasting are types of high heat cooking. 

Based on the smoke points above the best cooking oil for high heat include: 

Which Oil is Best for Frying

High heat cooking also involves frying. Here is a list of high-temperature cooking oils that will fry well:

How Fat Affects the Kidneys

People with chronic kidney disease need to be mindful of their diet. It is crucial to incorporate foods good for the kidneys to prevent further renal complications. This will also prevent additional health conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

Fat Prevents Malnutrition 

Too much protein in the diet can be harmful to people with CKD. So often protein restrictions are needed. Intakes can are sometimes less than 10%. This can result in massive calorie depletion. You will be left feeling tired with no energy.  

To prevent malnutrition healthy fats should be added to the diet. Getting more than 40% of your calories from healthy fats is recommended for better health.

This means ditching foods that contain unhealthy saturated and trans fat like processed meats and foods high in sodium, added sugars, or refined carbohydrates.

Instead, eat foods rich in unsaturated fats. This includes plant-based sources of fat like nuts and vegetable oils.

The addition of unsaturated fats to the diet improved the nutritional status of CKD patients on dialysis. What’s even better is these fats had no negative effect on cholesterol levels reducing the risk of heart health. 

Fats May Improve Renal Function

A two-year study found that consuming healthy unsaturated fats found in the Mediterranean diet was able to improve renal function. It also was able to regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

Ketosis is when the body uses fat to give you energy. To get your body in a state of ketosis you need to eat a high-fat, very low-carb diet. Ketosis from higher-fat diets improved polycystic kidney disease in animals.

Learn more about ketosis and the ketogenic diet here.

Which Fats are Foods that Are Good for Kidneys

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats may lower the risk of heart disease. People with kidney issues and CKD are often at risk for heart disease. That is why choosing an oil with more of these kinds of fats is better for the health of the kidneys. 

The type of fat you consume will also affect how your kidneys function. Getting too much-saturated fat can be harmful to your kidneys and worsen your condition. You should incorporate more foods rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fats for better health.

This also includes the oils in your diet.

What Oils are Good for Kidneys 

If you are wondering which oil is best for health it will be ones low in saturated fats and high in MUFAs and essential PUFAs omega 3 and omega 6.

When it comes to which oil is best for cooking and health you want to look for 2 things.

  • Does it offer a heart-healthy fat profile?
  • Will the oil withstand the heat you are using? 

Pick oils with high amounts of MUFAs and the essential PUFAs omega 3 and omega 6. Your kidneys and heart will thank you for it. 

Some oils can resist the effects of heat. This makes them better cooking oils. What you do with the food will determine the oil you need. If you are just making a salad dressing you can choose an oil like olive oil.

Medium or high heat requires an oil with a smoke point above 300 degrees Fahrenheit. This will ensure the fat particles in the oil stays intact.

Otherwise, you will be left with an oil that may taste weird. A bigger concern is when oils start to smoke they will produce free radicals. This can be harmful to health. 

One tip for preventing this from happening is to heat your pan first. Then put in the oil and the food. This can stop the oil from getting hot too fast.

Use oils higher in unsaturated fats and low in saturated fats. This will benefit kidney health. These include;

  • Almond oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Corn oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Canola oil
  • Olive oil
  • Pecan oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Rice bran oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Sunflower oil (high oleic)

To get the best nutrient quality look for oils that are cold or expeller pressed.

How to Store Oils

How you store oils will help prolong the shelf life. Stable oils stay fresh longer. Be sure to store your oils in a cool dark place away from your hot stove.

Oils with lower saturated fat should be refrigerated to extend their shelf life. These include canola, flaxseed, pecan, peanut, sunflower, sunflower, walnut oils.

Oils containing vitamin E may stay fresh longer. These include avocado, rice bran, sesame, and sunflower oil. 

Oils should be used within 12 months of buying. If you haven’t used them in a while, throw them out to avoid eating rancid oil. 

Oils as Part of a Healthy Diet Plan for Kidney Patient

If you need help with finding what oils should be part of your kidney diet you can check out our free renal diet plan. It will provide you with 6 days of recipes with foods that are good for kidneys.


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Oils may help or harm the kidneys depending on the type of fat they consume. There are over 20 different types of oils used to cook. If you are wondering which oil is best for kidney patients just follow the same guidelines as for regular fat intake. 

Stick to oils with higher levels of unsaturated fats. These are oils high in mono- and the essential polyunsaturated fats. These include almond oil, avocado oil, corn oil, flaxseed oil, canola oil, olive oil, pecan oil, peanut oil, rice bran oil, sesame oil, and high oleic sunflower oil.

When cooking you want to be sure you are using the right oil depending on whether you are using medium or high heat. Storage can prolong the life of the oil. This means keeping it in a cool dark place or possibly refrigerating it to prevent it from going bad.

You also want to make sure you are getting high-quality, nutrient-rich oil. Look for cold or expeller pressed oils that are non-GMO if possible. Some oils have seals guaranteeing their standards. Look for these on product labels.

Just like other fats the type of oils can affect the health of your kidneys. Consuming oils with healthy fats will be helpful to reduce inflammation. This can lower the risk of kidney-related complications like heart disease and diabetes. Some of these oils may also directly improve kidney function. 


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.

8 thoughts on “Which Oil is Best for a Kidney Patient?”

  1. Is it bad to cut oil out of your diet? Do I really need oil or can I get my fat from olives, avocados, etc. Theses seem more bang for my buck as I also get the fiber?

    1. Jen Hernandez RDN, CSR, LDN

      Hi Rob! These are great healthy fat options that can be included in a renal diet. The challenge we have found in removing oil entirely is that it can create more stress and frustration in reaching calorie goals without going over in other areas like protein and potassium. Of course, we don’t recommend a high oil diet – this article is simply to show how oil can fit! 🙂

  2. Hi Jen, so which oil is best for ckd? For salad dressing? I know lots of good answers in this article but I want to hear it from you based on your experience with your patients. Thank you.

  3. Hi Jen, just curious why grapeseed oil isn’t one of the oils recommended for CKD. It has very low saturated fat percentage and plenty of nutrients compared to all other oils listed. Is there a reason for not including it? Thanks

    1. Jen Hernandez RDN, CSR, LDN

      Grapeseed oil is high in polyunsaturated fats- a healthy kind! However, when cooking with it, the heat can react with these healthy fats to form free radicals, which are not good for us. If using grapeseed oil, using in low-heat or no-heat cooking, such as salad dressing, to keep it kidney-friendly. Hope this helps!

  4. Casandra Andrews

    Great information. Do you have a cook book? Where can I get more from Ann on stage 3 kidney disease diet?

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