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Caribbean: Phosphorus and the Kidney Diet


Making healthy food choices is important to us all, but it is even more important if you have chronic kidney disease (CKD). Good nutrition gives you energy to do your daily tasks, prevent infection, build muscle, help maintain a healthy weight— and it may keep your kidney disease from getting worse.

Your kidneys help keep the right balance of nutrients and minerals in your body. But if you have kidney disease, your kidneys may not do this job very well. There are five key nutrients you may need to control: Protein, Sodium, Fluid, Potassium, and Phosphorus. Additional handouts will give you more information about each of the key nutrients. Eating the right amount of each of these can help control the buildup of waste and fluid in your blood.

Let’s see how phosphorus fits into the kidney diet.

Why is phosphorus important?

  • Phosphorus helps build strong bones and teeth.
  • High blood phosphorus pulls calcium out of bones, making them weak and brittle
  • High phosphorus and calcium levels lead to calcium deposits in blood vessels and heart

How much phosphorus should I have?

Eating too much phosphorus can be bad for your health if your kidney function is in decline. The source of dietary phosphorus can make a difference in your blood phosphorus level. For example, phosphorus from phosphate food additives is more highly absorbed than phosphorus from natural food sources. Ask your doctor about meeting with a registered dietitian with special training in kidney disease to help you manage your phosphorus intake.

Sources of high phosphorus

  • Keshi Yena (cheese dish)
  • Ackee and salt fish
  • Pelau (meat dish)
  • Conch fritters
  • Fried dumplings
  • Coconut rice pudding
  • Cheese flan

Best changes to control phosphorus intake

  • Avoid processed and fast foods with phosphate additives such as phosphoric acid, tricalcium phosphate, etc.
  • Use non-dairy creamers and milk substitutes in place of milk in callaloo, curry, or pelau.
  • Serving size is important because most foods have phosphorus. A large amount of a low phosphorus food can turn into a high-phosphorus food.
  • If your doctor orders a phosphate binder medicine be sure to take it with meals and snacks as directed.
  • If you are on dialysis, be sure to get all the treatment or exchanges prescribed to you.

Nutrition Facts for Select Caribbean Foods

*Values approximate based on recipe*

Golden apple (1 small)

  • 73.5 Calories
  • 0.361g Protein
  • 2.58mg Sodium
  • 129mg Potassium
  • 12.9mg Phosphorus


Pineapple (½ cup)

  • 41 Calories
  • 0.44g Protein
  • 0.82mg Sodium
  • 90mg Potassium
  • 6.5mg Phosphorus

Tangerine (1 small)

  • 40.3 Calories
  • 0.616g Protein
  • 1.52mg Sodium
  • 126mg Potassium
  • 15.2mg Phosphorus

Chayote/cho-cho/christophene (½ cup)

  • 12.5 Calories
  • 0.5g Protein
  • 1.32mg Sodium
  • 82.5mg Potassium
  • 11.9mg Phosphorus

Jicama (½ cup)

  • 24.7 Calories
  • 0.36g Protein
  • 2.6mg Sodium
  • 97.5mg Potassium
  • 11.7mg Phosphorus

Okra/ochro (½ cup)

  • 33 Calories
  • 1.93g Protein
  • 7mg Sodium
  • 150mg Potassium
  • 30.5mg Phosphorus

Nopale (cactus) (½ cup)

  • 6.9 Calories
  • 0.57g Protein
  • 9mg Sodium
  • 110mg Potassium
  • 6.9mg Phosphorus

Cornmeal porridge (½ cup)

  • 221 Calories
  • 4.5g Protein
  • 21mg Sodium
  • 175mg Potassium
  • 147mg Phosphorus

Curried goat (100g)

  • 109 Calories
  • 20.6g Protein
  • 82mg Sodium
  • 385mg Potassium
  • 180mg Phosphorus

Ceviche (½ cup)

  • 62 Calories
  • 10.3g Protein
  • 158mg Sodium
  • 286mg Potassium
  • 106mg Phosphorus

Paella (1.5 cup)

  • 289 Calories
  • 3g Protein
  • 150mg Sodium
  • 407mg Potassium
  • 183mg Phosphorus

Picadillo (¾ cup)

  • 162 Calories
  • 18g Protein
  • 133mg Sodium
  • 380mg Potassium
  • 152mg Phosphorus

Rice with pigeon peas (½ cup)

  • 216 Calories
  • 5g Protein
  • 162mg Sodium
  • 239mg Potassium
  • 173mg Phosphorus


Jerk chicken (½ breast)

  • 113 Calories
  • 16g Protein
  • 161mg Sodium
  • 192mg Potassium
  • 217mg Phosphorus

Roti (1 piece)

  • 129 Calories
  • 3.38g Protein
  • 128mg Sodium
  • 84.3mg Potassium
  • 67.9mg Phosphorus

Recipe: Arroz con Pollo

Arroz con Pollo is a Caribbean dish that is good for patients with kidney disease. It includes chicken, white rice, low-sodium chicken broth, onion, bell pepper, garlic, olive oil, turmeric, black pepper, and chili powder. Rinsing the rice removes extra potassium. Using low-sodium broth keeps it kidney-friendly. This dish is low in phosphorus and is tasty and healthy. 

Arroz con Pollo

Arroz con Pollo Recipe

Tender chicken and low-potassium rice in a savory, low-sodium broth. A delicious, simple meal for CKD patients.

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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