Best Drinks for Kidney Disease: Renal Dietitian Approved!

Best Drinks for Kidney Disease: Renal Dietitian Approved!

So what are the best drinks for kidney disease???

Your doctor keeps telling you to stay hydrated and stay away from dark colored sodas but you need more options! Some beverages are better than others when you have kidney disease. 

My name is Candace Mooney. I’m a registered dietitian and board certified specialist in renal nutrition. I’m here to help you figure out which ones you should be enjoying!

Let’s get started talking about the good drinks for kidneys!

The Role of Hydration in Kidney Disease

Staying hydrated helps every part of your body function. It helps ensure nutrients are delivered throughout your body and helps your kidneys get rid of toxins and wastes in your blood.

Fluid needs are different for everyone depending on your activity level, kidney function, body weight, and medications. 

Some people with kidney disease may not eliminate fluids in their urine and can have fluid retention and edema. If that’s the case for you, your doctor may want you to drink less fluids.

But it is very important to stay hydrated to protect your kidneys! Typically, I recommend drinking around 48-64 ounces of total fluid per day if you don’t have to be on a fluid restriction. 

Let’s dive into your beverage options now!

Water for Kidney Disease

Plain-old water is the best drink for hydrating yourself! You also don’t have to worry about sodium, potassium, or phosphorus when drinking water. 

I know water can get boring so let’s talk about your other options!

Vitamin Waters

You can drink enriched water depending on the amount of vitamins and minerals added to it. 

Typically, I recommend avoiding any beverages that have added phosphates, potassium, sodium, and sometimes vitamin C (ascorbic acid).

Vitamin C may be appropriate in small amounts. It may be okay for you to drink a beverage that has less than 15% of your daily value or less than 15 milligrams per serving of vitamin C. Consult with your nephrologist or renal dietitian to be certain.

Vitamin Water brand has potassium and phosphate as an additive so I would not recommend drinking this brand of vitamin water.

Some bai waters do not have potassium or phosphate additives but some do.

It’s best to check the ingredient list for each flavor and brand of water that you’d like to enjoy. Here you can see that the vitamin water below has ascorbic acid, potassium, and phosphorus added to it in the ingredient list. This would be a beverage you would want to avoid.

Picture of Vitamin Water bottle with ingredients circling ascorbic acid, potassium, and phosphate additives showing what to avoid with kidney disease.

Coconut Water

Coconut water (on average) contains about 600 mg of potassium and 250 mg of sodium in 1 cup. (1) This is an important consideration when deciding if coconut water is a good choice for you.

If you are on a potassium restriction, you may want to avoid coconut water altogether. If you struggle going over your recommended sodium intake, you should consider this when deciding whether or not to include coconut water in your diet.

Goya brand contains a potassium additive so this would be a brand you’d want to avoid.

Vita Coco and Zico coconut water would be my top two choices for someone with kidney disease that doesn’t have a potassium restriction. They do not have potassium or phosphate additives.

Flavored Waters

Flavored waters can also be a good option if you want more than just plain water! They typically only contain flavoring but (again) double check the nutrition label to make sure there are no additives you need to avoid. 

Sparkling waters like La Croix, Liquid Death, and Bubly do not contain any potassium or phosphorus! Woo-hoo!

Water Flavor Enhancers

Water enhancers can also vary your beverage options. 

True Lime does not contain any potassium or phosphorus additives making it a great option to flavor your water!

Mio water flavoring would be one to stay away from since it contains potassium sorbate as an additive. 

Teas that are Good for Kidney Disease

Teas have many antioxidants and flavonoids that are beneficial for your health. It’s also calorie free, sodium free, and sugar free making it a great option for kidney disease! 

Some of tea’s other properties also make it a great choice when trying to control blood pressure and blood sugar levels. (2)

Teas that can be safely included in a renal diet are green tea, passion flower tea, white tea, mint tea, chamomile tea, and orange blossom herbal teas. 

These all have reduced levels of caffeine which will reduce the diuretic effect on your body and help keep you hydrated. These options also contain low amounts of oxalates and potassium.

I typically recommend drinking less than 2 cups of tea in a day to ensure you can prioritize your water intake.

Teas to Drink with Caution for Kidney Disease

These are the teas that should make you pause!

There are some teas that may need to be limited or even avoided when you have kidney disease for several different reasons. Some of those teas are any teas that contain licorice in their ingredient list, hibiscus tea, sweet tea, matcha tea, and black tea. 

Licorice is a common ingredient in teas. You should avoid this ingredient because of its interactions with electrolytes, fluid levels, and medications. (3) Make sure to read the ingredients in your favorite teas to make sure it’s not yours.

Black tea has a higher oxalate content which could increase your risk of developing kidney stones. If you have a history of kidney stones, you may want to avoid this tea or have it with calcium (like milk) to reduce your risk of developing kidney stones. (4)

Sweet tea can have high amounts of sugar and no fiber which can spike your blood sugar levels and raise blood pressure. (5) It’s also commonly made with black tea so consider the section above when determining if it’s okay for you. 

Iced tea is also typically made with black tea. You’ll want to be aware of the potassium amount in black tea, too. One cup has about 90 mg of potassium.

Teas like matcha tea and black tea are some of the highest in caffeine which can raise blood pressure over time and also dehydrate you with its diuretic effect. You will want to consider this when deciding to include it or how much to include in your diet.

Hibiscus tea also can have a diuretic effect and dehydrate you. (6)

There are a ton of herbal teas out there! They tend to have more medication, blood pressure, blood sugar, and potassium interactions to consider with them. Please consult your health care team when you are considering herbal teas in your diet.

Kombucha and Probiotic Drinks for Kidney Disease

Kombucha and probiotic drink brands like Humm, GT’s, and KeVita are generally safe since they do not contain added phosphorus or potassium. 

You will need to consider that kombucha drinks are made from teas. Check the ingredients to know what tea they use to make it and make sure there are no other herbs or additives you need to avoid. 

You’ll most likely need to count this as a caffeinated beverage.

Soda Considerations

Soda typically contains high amounts of added sugar, caffeine and sometimes added phosphorus. The high amounts of sugar will spike your blood sugar levels which is bad news for your kidneys.

The added phosphorus will also increase blood levels of phosphorus which can lead to calcium leaching from your bones. Also not good!

Dark Sodas: Use Caution!

Sodas like Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, and Pepsi all contain phosphoric acid and high amounts of sugar and caffeine. You should try to limit these drinks as much as possible and replace them with either water or another kidney friendly beverage.

Clear Sodas

Clear sodas like Sprite, 7UP, and Canada Dry ginger ale do not contain phosphoric acid, but do contain sugar. They are also caffeine free.

Diet versions of these drinks may be a better option for you but remember to check the ingredients list. Diet Sprite has a potassium additive!

Root beer brands like A&W and Barq’s are also carbonated drinks that don’t have phosphorus or potassium additives but they still have sugar and some may have caffeine.

Olipop sodas are a good option since some flavors (grape or strawberry) don’t have added potassium and phosphorus. They are also low in sugar and provide some fiber.

Juice Considerations

Juice is pretty similar to soda. They both tend to be high in sugar and low in fiber. 

Some juices can be relatively high in potassium, too.

Definitely check the amount of sugar and potassium you’re getting with your juices before you decide if they would be a good choice for you.

Unsweetened cranberry juice and apple juice can be good options for kidney disease if you’d like to include them in your diet.

If you enjoy juice but find it may not fit in your diet, you may be able to drink it as a 50/50 mix with water or other appropriate beverage.

Alcoholic Beverages and Kidney Disease

Alcohol can sometimes be safely consumed with kidney disease. It counts as fluid, so remember that when you are planning your beverages. 

Alcohol does not directly harm the kidneys but it is a diuretic that can quickly dehydrate you. You should stay mindful of how much you drink. I recommended drinking no more than 3-5 drinks per week or 1-2 drinks per day. (7)

Typically, mixed drinks with liquor is your best choice when considering potassium and phosphorus. White wine is a better choice than red wines and it’s best to avoid beer because of its phosphorus content. (8)

Beer has 50 mg phosphorus and 96 mg potassium in a 12 ounce can.

Red wine contains 187 mg of potassium and 34 mg of phosphorus per 5 oz serving. White wine has less potassium at 104 mg and less phosphorus at 27 mg per 5 oz serving.

Rum and liquors, in general, have the least potassium at 0.84 mg and the least phosphorus at 2.1 mg per 1.5 fl oz. 

Your take home message! 

Water is your best choice when considering your kidneys but there are also lots of other good options for you out there!

Reading the nutrition label can help you determine if the drink is a good option for you.

Start with some of the options in this blog and branch out to other options from there! Overtime, you’ll start to remember safe brands to drink and it will get much, much easier!

If you’d like help personalizing your kidney nutrition goals with a renal dietitian, you can work with me or find another great renal dietitian here!

This article was co-written by dietetic intern, Kaleb Miller, and reviewed, edited, and co-written by Candace Mooney, MS RDN CSR. 

Leave a Comment

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

Scroll to Top
Mmmmm, kidney friendly cookies! This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.