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Citrus fruit like lemons, oranges, and grapefruits are considered berries that have evolved over millions of years! They have a fragrant smell, which comes from their rind or outer layer and can be eaten and used in many ways.

Why are citrus fruits superfoods?

  • Citrus is a superfood high in vitamin C that assists in the body’s protective and healing processes.
  • Citrus fruits are high in pectin, a fiber that helps reduce cholesterol and controls diarrhea. 
  • Citrus juices and zest (grated rind) can add flavor, replace sodium, and help make meats tender when used in a marinade.

Citrus fruits and kidney disease

The amount of potassium in citrus fruits can vary. The number and types of citrus fruits (see table) you can eat depends on your blood potassium levels, medications, and dialysis treatment. Work with your kidney dietitian to create a meal plan to allow safe amounts of citrus foods.  Use the table for citrus fruit ideas.  There is a general caution with grapefruit and grapefruit juice with certain medicines, especially those for blood pressure.  Consult your pharmacist or healthcare provider. 

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)/Transplant

Most people with CKD or kidney transplants do not have to limit citrus due to potassium. If your laboratory results show higher levels of potassium, a kidney dietitian may talk with you about how much to eat.  After transplant, you need to avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice.


Hemodialysis (3 times/week)

Potassium can be a concern with some citrus fruits. Limit your high potassium choices to one a day.


Daily Home and Nocturnal Dialysis/Peritoneal Dialysis

You may need to eat more potassium-rich foods with these types of dialysis.


Kidney Stones

Lemons and limes have citrate and citrate is used to prevent certain types of kidney stones.


Citrus Fruit Facts

Amount Calories Potassium, mg Potassium Level
Clementine (1)
131 Moderate
Orange (1) 62 237 High
Nectarine (raw) 63 285 High
Grapefruit (1/2 pink & red) 52 166 Moderate
Lemon Juice (fresh) (1 oz) 7 31 Low
Lime Juice (fresh) (1 oz) 7 36 Low
Tangerines (1 small) 40 126 Moderate
Mandarin oranges (fruit cup/can) (1/2 cup, light syrup) 80 140 Moderate

Source: USDA Food Data Central


Blueberry Mandarin Broccoli Salad:  6 servings (1.5 cup/serving)


Ingredients for salad: 

  • 4 cups of broccoli chopped into bite size pieces
  •  ½ cup of fresh blueberries
  • ¼ cup of dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup of sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup of chopped red onion
  • 1 cup of mandarin oranges, fresh or canned


Ingredients for Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette: 

  • 1 cup of fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • ⅓ cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. of Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp. of maple syrup



1.     Combine all salad ingredients, except the mandarins, in a large bowl. 

2.     Blend all of the dressing ingredients until smooth. 

3.     Pour desired amount of dressing over salad and toss the salad. 

4.     Add mandarin oranges to the salad. 


Nutrition facts: 

  • Servings: 6
  • Calories: 296 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 27 grams 
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Fat: 21 grams
  • Sodium: 84 milligrams
  • Potassium: 353 milligrams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Sugar: 18 grams
  • Calcium: 66 milligrams


This content is provided for informational use only and is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for the medical advice of a healthcare professional.

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