Subscribe to our Newsletter:
Healthy Diet Plans >>  Health Issues and Diet >>  Kidney Infection Diet

Kidney Infection Diet

Pyelonephritis, more commonly referred to as kidney infection, is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI) caused by bacteria that travels from the urethra and up to the kidneys. Though this infection can affect members of both genders, women are more likely to suffer from them, because of their anatomy.

A kidney infection is quite serious and requires immediate medical attention. In case this affliction is not treated promptly and correctly, the infection can cause permanent damage to your kidneys. The infection-causing bacteria can also spread into the bloodstream, resulting in a life-threatening infection.

Milder cases of kidney infection can be treated with antibiotics, but you may need to be hospitalized if the infection is severe. There is also a chance that the infection may reoccur after it is treated. Frequently recurring infections or chronic kidney infections may need to be treated surgically.

Diet for kidney infection

There is no specific diet for kidney infection that a patient is asked to follow. However, the consumption of certain foods should be avoided in case you are suffering from an infection of this kind. Till the infection is gone completely, it is best for you to follow a diet that –

  • Contains a low amount of sodium
  • Limits your intake of protein
  • Restricts the consumption of potassium-rich foods

At the same time, you need to eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, so that your body gets the vitamins, minerals and nutrients it requires to fight off the infection.

However, before switching over to any diet that restricts your intake of certain types of foods, it is absolutely essential for you to check with your doctor.

Foods to include

The treatment for kidney infection will include the use of antibiotics. If the infection is too severe, your doctor may even hospitalize you. Medical intervention is absolutely essential in the treatment of kidney infection. However, at the same time, you can support and maybe even speed up your recovery process by following a healthy diet, which protects your body from subsequent infections.

Though you should seek specified guidance from your doctor, about dietary dos and don’ts, some of the most highly recommended foods for kidney infection that you may want to add to your diet should include -

  • Fruits which are high in Vitamins especially papaya, oranges and watermelon. Berries are a rich source of antioxidants, which enable your body to protect itself against bacteria and fight off infections. Make sure that you eat a lot of cranberries, blueberries or lingonberries, as they help flush out the toxins, when you urinate.
  • Vegetables that contain vitamins, such as cucumbers, legumes and celery. Asparagus is also a good food for fighting off a kidney infection.
  • Fermented milk products like yogurt, buttermilk, raw cheese and kefir as they contain healthy bacteria to support your digestive system. The protein in these foods can also strengthen your immune system and help your body tissue recover.
  • Fatty fish varieties that contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats not only promote heart health, but also reduce inflammation in the body. For best results, consume fat fish like sardines, mackerel, albacore tuna, flounder, halibut and salmon regularly.
  • Seeds and nuts such as flaxseed and walnuts, as they are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids too.

However, some of these foods may not be appropriate for you, especially if you are suffering from other underlying conditions too. Only make any dietary changes after speaking with your physician or a dietician.

Foods to avoid

There are some foods that irritate the urinary tract and put a lot of pressure on the kidneys, thereby worsening the condition. Given below is a list of foods to avoid, in case you are suffering from a kidney infection –

  • Alcohol
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Black tea
  • Canned soup, broth powder and bullion
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Chinese foods or other items that contain monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Chips, crackers, pretzels, cheese puffs popcorn and other high-sodium snacks
  • Chocolate
  • Citric fruits
  • Coffee and caffeinated beverages
  • Cured meats like ham, bacon and salami
  • Pickles
  • Sweets and sugary foods
  • Table salt
  • Tomatoes
  • Vinegar

Based on the severity of the condition, your doctor may also ask you to reduce your consumption of protein and potassium. Therefore, it is best for you to check with a doctor, before making any dietary changes.

Kidney infection Health tips

There are many different ways in which you can reduce your risks of getting a kidney infection. Make sure that you –

  • Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water each day, to flush out the infection-causing bacteria from your body
  • Urinate as soon as you feel the urge, without holding your urine for a long period of time
  • Add some fresh cranberry juice (without sugar) to your diet. Alternately, you could also take over-the-counter cranberry tablets, easily available at most pharmacies
  • Keep your private area clean, by washing it gently, with a mild soap and water once or twice a day. This gets rid of the bacteria in those areas. However, avoid douching as it could cause the bacteria to enter your urinary tract.
  • After using the toilet, make sure that you wipe from front to back, instead of the other way around, to prevent any bacteria from getting into the urinary tract, from the anal area
  • If you are sexually active, try to use the washroom after intercourse, as it flushes out the bacteria from the urethra

Additional Info

Causes of kidney infection

Kidney infections are usually the result of a urinary tract infection, caused by bacteria. These bacteria can enter your urinary tract through the urethra (the tube that carries your urine). An infection occurs when these bacteria begin to multiply in the tract.

Some conditions can cause vesicoureteric reflux, where your urine flows in the wrong way, from your bladder, into the ureters. These factors include –

  • History of cystitis
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections
  • Renal papillary necrosis
  • Kidney stones

You are at a much higher risk of getting a kidney infection, in case of –

  • Obstructions in the urinary tract
  • Weakened immune system due to medical conditions like HIV
  • Damage in the nerve around the bladder
  • Prolonged use or a catheter

Symptoms of kidney infection

It is important that you educate yourself about the various symptoms of kidney infection, as you need to visit a doctor, as soon as you notice them. Some of the signs and symptoms of a kidney infection include –

  • Fever
  • Severe pain in the back, flank or groin area
  • Abdominal pain
  • Frequent urination
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Presence of pus in the urine
  • Hematuria or blood in the urine

Bloody urine accompanied by nausea or vomiting is an indication of a serious life-threatening complication. Seek emergency medical aid in case you notice these signs. If you have been experiencing the symptoms of a urinary tract infection that have not shown any improvement in spite of undergoing treatment for a couple of weeks, make an appointment with your doctor.

How is kidney infection diagnosed?

For an accurate diagnosis, your doctor may order a urine test or a blood test. These tests not only confirm the presence of bacteria in your urine, but can also help your doctor identify the causes and the severity of the infection.

Treatment of kidney infection

Based on the results of the tests, your doctor may recommend the appropriate treatment options, which may include –

  • Antibiotics, the first line of treatment, which should clear up the symptoms. However, you need to complete the course of antibiotics as suggested by your doctor, even after the symptoms disappear.
  • Hospitalization, in case of severe kidney infections, where you will receive antibiotics intravenously
  • Surgery to repair structural abnormalities, which could occur in case of recurrent and chronic kidney infections



Submitted on January 16, 2014