Kidney care

What Not to Eat When You Have Kidney Disease

Nidhi Nangia
By Nidhi Nangia. Updated: July 9, 2020
What Not to Eat When You Have Kidney Disease

Kidneys are bean-shaped organs that are responsible for performing a number of important functions in the body. A human body carries two kidneys and their job are to: filter blood, remove waste via urine, produce hormones, balance minerals and maintain fluid balance. When your kidneys fail to function properly, fluid starts building up in your body and waste accumulates in your blood.

However, by avoiding certain foods you can improve the: general functions of you kidneys, reduce waste accumulation in the blood and prevent more damage. Here at oneHOWTO, find out what not to eat when you have kidney disease.

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  1. What are the different types of kidney diseases?
  2. Eating well with kidney disease
  3. Foods to avoid when you have kidney disease

What are the different types of kidney diseases?

Before you decide on a meal plan, you should know what the different types of kidney diseases are. Kidney diseases are classified into chronic kidney disease and acute kidney injury. If the functioning of your kidney worsens over age, it is termed as chronic kidney disease. If left untreated, it can lead to later stage kidney disease which can only be treated through a kidney transplant or dialysis.

Common causes of chronic kidney disease include:

  • Damaged blood vessels due to diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • Kidney tissue attack due to immunity or disease.
  • Cyst growth on the kidneys.
  • Backward urine flow into kidneys.
  • Congenital abnormality of the urinary tract or the kidney.

As far as acute kidney injury is concerned, it refers to sudden damage to your kidneys, likely due to severe infection, drug abuse or radioactive dyes. Often, this kind of injury is only temporary and the health of the kidneys can be revived after treatment. But if left untreated, acute kidney injury can gradually progress into chronic kidney disease.

What Not to Eat When You Have Kidney Disease - What are the different types of kidney diseases?

Eating well with kidney disease

The food that you eat largely affects your overall health. Eating balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight that is low in fat and salt, is very helpful in controlling blood pressure levels. If you are diabetic, you can control your blood sugar levels by making the right food choices. Keeping blood sugar and blood pressure levels under control is very important for preventing a further negative progression of kidney disease.

In addition, certain foods have certain minerals that may build up in your body and cause damage to your kidneys. This is why it is important to know which foods to avoid when you have a kidney disease.

Foods to avoid when you have kidney disease

Dietary instructions may vary, depending on the type and stage of your kidney disease. The general goal is to avoid the build up of certain nutrients and chemicals in your blood.

A kidney friendly diet often includes limiting consumption of: potassium, sodium and phosphorus. Damaged kidneys don’t efficiently filter protein waste products, therefore, the goal is to also limit protein intake.

List of foods you should not eat when you have a kidney disease:

  • Avocados are considered very healthy due to their high fiber, antioxidants and healthy-heart fat content. However, individuals suffering from kidney problems should avoid them due to the high amount of potassium that they contain.
  • Apricots are high in vitamin A, vitamin C and fiber, but a single cup of apricots contains as much as 427mg of potassium. Dried apricots have even higher concentrate of potassium.
  • Bananas are low in sodium, but have high amount of potassium which needs to be avoided. Healthier kidney friendly alternatives include pineapples.
  • Oranges not only are they the richest source of vitamin C, but unfortunately for kidney sufferers ,they are high in potassium. If you are on a renal diet, avoid oranges. Good substitutes include; grapes, cranberries and apples, as they are healthy and low in potassium.
  • Whole wheat bread is a healthier alternative to white, refined flour bread, but for individuals with kidney disease we recommend opting for white bread.
  • Brown rice is high in phosphorus and potassium. Instead choose: white rice, pearled barley, couscous, buckwheat or bulgur. These grains have low amount of phosphorus and are a good substitute for brown rice.
  • Dark colored colas contain high amounts of sugar, calories, salt and phosphorous that are easily absorbed by your intestinal tract.
  • Dairy products are rich in nutrients and vitamins, but they also have high natural amounts of protein, potassium and phosphorus.
  • Processed meats, including hot dogs, sausage, jerky, bacon and pepperoni, are salted, cured, dried and canned. They usually have high amounts of salt that are often added to preserve flavor and improve taste. In addition, processed meats are high in protein, both of which can be detrimental to your kidney health.
  • Pickles hold an extremely high salt content. One single spear of pickle can contain as much as 300mg of sodium. Processed olives are also highly salty, as too much of salt is added to them during their curing and fermenting process so that they become less bitter in taste. Grocery stores have certain varieties of pickles and olives that have less sodium amount. You can go for them if you need to.
  • Canned foods like soups, tuna, beans and vegetables contain a high sodium content which you need to stay away from. If you need to choose them due to low cost and convenience, opt for the ones that have ‘no salt’ on the label. Rinsing canned food can significantly reduce the amount of sodium in them.
  • Instant foods like instant noodles, frozen pizza or microwaveable meals are heavily processed and contain huge amounts of sodium. Likewise, they lack in nutrients.
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes are rich in potassium, but you can soak them for 4 hours to reduce their potassium content. You can also make lower their potassium content by cutting them into thin, small pieces and boiling them for 10 minutes.
  • Tomatoes are also very rich in potassium. A single cup of tomatoes may contain as much as 900mg of potassium. Raw, stewed or in sauces, they are still not kidney friendly. Healthier alternatives could be roasted red peppers.
  • Green leafy vegetables, like spinach, beet greens and Swiss chard, are highly nutritious and healthy, but they are high in minerals, including potassium. Even though the leafy vegetables shrink in size when you cook them, the content of potassium stays the same. So, it’s best to avoid them if you have a kidney disease.
  • Dried fruits like prunes, dates and raisins are rich in concentrated nutrients, including potassium. It would be better to consume their raw counterparts instead of eating them in dried form.
  • Chips and crackers are low in nutrients and high in salt content. Since most chips are made of potatoes, they have the added disadvantage of potatoes as well.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to What Not to Eat When You Have Kidney Disease, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.

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REGINALD SMITH you told me what not eat with 3rd stage kidney desese SO WHAT CAN I EAT....THANX
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