Kidney Infections – Foods to Incorporate & Foods to Avoid

by Ella

Kidney infections, also known as pyelonephritis, can be painful and debilitating. While medical treatment is crucial for managing the infection, adopting a supportive diet can significantly aid in the healing process and prevent complications. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the importance of dietary choices in managing kidney infections and provide practical recommendations for what to eat to promote healing and recovery.

Understanding Kidney Infections:

Before delving into dietary recommendations, it’s essential to understand what a kidney infection entails. Kidney infections occur when bacteria, usually from the bladder, travel up the ureters and infect the kidneys. Common symptoms include fever, chills, back pain, frequent urination, and cloudy or bloody urine. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are crucial to prevent complications such as kidney damage or sepsis.


The Role of Diet in Kidney Infection Management:

While diet alone cannot cure a kidney infection, it plays a vital role in supporting the body’s immune response and promoting overall health. A well-balanced diet can help reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, and support kidney function. Additionally, certain dietary choices can alleviate symptoms such as urinary discomfort and promote faster recovery.


Key Nutrients for Kidney Health:



Adequate hydration is essential for flushing out bacteria from the urinary tract and maintaining kidney function. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water per day, and consider incorporating hydrating foods such as cucumbers, watermelon, and oranges into your diet.



While protein is important for overall health, excessive protein intake can strain the kidneys. Opt for lean sources of protein such as chicken, fish, tofu, and legumes, and avoid processed meats and high-protein diets.


Potassium helps regulate fluid balance and blood pressure, but too much can be harmful to the kidneys. Choose low-potassium foods such as apples, berries, cabbage, and green beans, and limit potassium-rich foods like bananas, oranges, potatoes, and tomatoes.


Excess sodium can lead to fluid retention and high blood pressure, placing additional strain on the kidneys. Limit your sodium intake by avoiding processed foods, canned soups, and salty snacks, and season your meals with herbs and spices instead of salt.


Elevated phosphorus levels can occur in kidney disease and may contribute to bone and heart problems. Limit phosphorus-rich foods such as dairy products, nuts, seeds, and processed foods, and focus on whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Foods to Incorporate:

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables:

Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support immune function and reduce inflammation. Aim for a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, such as berries, leafy greens, bell peppers, and squash.

Whole Grains:

Whole grains provide fiber and essential nutrients without overloading the kidneys with phosphorus. Choose whole grain options such as brown rice, quinoa, oats, and whole wheat bread or pasta.

Lean Protein:

Incorporate lean sources of protein into your diet to support muscle repair and immune function. Good options include skinless poultry, fish, tofu, and legumes such as lentils and beans.

Healthy Fats:

Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts have anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit kidney health. Additionally, olive oil and avocados provide monounsaturated fats that support heart health.

Probiotic Foods:

Probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, kefir, and fermented vegetables promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria and may help strengthen the immune system.

Herbal Teas:

Certain herbal teas, such as dandelion root tea and nettle leaf tea, have diuretic properties that can help increase urine flow and flush out bacteria from the urinary tract. Additionally, herbal teas like chamomile and ginger tea may have anti-inflammatory effects that can help alleviate discomfort associated with kidney infections.


Garlic contains compounds with antimicrobial properties that may help fight off bacterial infections, including those affecting the urinary tract. Incorporating fresh garlic into your meals or taking garlic supplements may provide additional support for your body’s immune system during a kidney infection.

Cranberry Juice:

While cranberry juice is often recommended for urinary tract infections (UTIs), its effectiveness for kidney infections is less clear. Some studies suggest that cranberry juice may help prevent recurrent UTIs by preventing bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract lining. However, it’s essential to choose unsweetened cranberry juice to avoid excessive sugar intake, which can be detrimental to overall health.

Adequate Fluid Intake:

In addition to water and herbal teas, consuming other fluids such as clear soups, broths, and diluted fruit juices can contribute to overall hydration and support kidney function. However, be mindful of the sugar content in fruit juices and opt for varieties without added sugars or artificial sweeteners.

Moderate Consumption of Dairy:

While dairy products are a good source of calcium and protein, they can also be high in phosphorus, which individuals with kidney infections may need to limit. Opt for low-phosphorus dairy options such as skim milk, yogurt, and cheese in moderation, and consider alternatives such as almond milk or fortified soy milk if necessary.

Foods to Avoid:

Processed Foods:

Processed foods are often high in sodium, phosphorus, and additives that can exacerbate kidney problems. Limit your intake of processed meats, canned soups, packaged snacks, and fast food.

High-Potassium Foods:

While potassium is essential for health, too much can be harmful to the kidneys. Avoid or limit high-potassium foods such as bananas, oranges, potatoes, tomatoes, and dried fruits.

High-Phosphorus Foods:

Phosphorus-rich foods can contribute to mineral imbalances and kidney damage. Limit your intake of dairy products, nuts, seeds, and processed foods containing phosphorus additives.

Excessive Protein:

Consuming too much protein can strain the kidneys and may worsen kidney function. Avoid high-protein diets and excessive intake of red meat, poultry, and processed meats.

Caffeine and Alcohol:

Caffeine and alcohol can increase urine production and dehydration, which may exacerbate kidney infection symptoms. Limit your intake of caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, and soda, and avoid excessive alcohol consumption.

Lifestyle Recommendations:

In addition to dietary changes, certain lifestyle modifications can help support kidney health and promote recovery from kidney infections:

Get Adequate Rest:

Rest is essential for allowing your body to heal and recover from illness. Make sure to get plenty of sleep and avoid overexertion until your symptoms improve.

Practice Good Hygiene:

Practicing good hygiene habits, such as washing your hands regularly and maintaining proper genital hygiene, can help prevent the spread of bacteria that can lead to kidney infections and other urinary tract issues.

Avoid Holding Urine:

Holding urine for extended periods can increase the risk of bacterial growth and urinary tract infections. Make sure to urinate regularly and completely to help flush out bacteria from the urinary tract.

Manage Stress:

Chronic stress can weaken the immune system and make you more susceptible to infections. Incorporate stress-reducing activities into your daily routine, such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, or spending time in nature.

Follow Medical Advice:

It’s crucial to follow your healthcare provider’s advice regarding treatment, medication, and follow-up care for kidney infections. If you have any questions or concerns about your condition or treatment plan, don’t hesitate to consult with your healthcare provider.

See Also: 10 Vegetables That Are Good For Your Kidneys

In Conclusion:

A kidney infection can be a challenging condition to manage, but adopting a supportive diet can play a crucial role in promoting healing and recovery. By focusing on nutrient-rich foods, staying hydrated, and avoiding foods that exacerbate symptoms, you can support your body’s immune response and optimize kidney function. Consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized dietary recommendations tailored to your individual needs and medical history. With the right dietary choices and medical treatment, you can take proactive steps towards healing and maintaining kidney health.



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