Are you suffering from kidney disease and searching for ways to keep your kidneys healthy? Here are a few healthy kidney tips and a list of foods to avoid for people with kidney problems….
If you are on a renal diet due to chronic kidney disease (CKD), it is essential to know about foods bad for kidneys.
- So what foods should you avoid if you have kidney problems?
Kidneys perform the important task of filtering blood and eliminating the waste in the form of urine. Kidney disease could be caused by diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, hepatitis C, HIV infection and alcoholism amongst others.
Once your kidneys are damaged waste will not be eliminated effectively and fluid retention or build up could occur. However, you can avoid certain foods so that formation of waste production in the blood is reduced.
A kidney friendly diet means that you have to get the right balance of proteins, vitamins and minerals and stick to foods that are easy on the kidneys. This helps in kidney functioning and prevents deterioration of kidney disease.
Let’s Find Out What Not to Eat When You Have Kidney Disease?
Dark Colored Colas/Fluids
Studies have linked drinking of regular sodas with kidney damage.
- Even drinking of diet sodas could cause kidney damage or accelerate and worsen the condition.
- Dark colas contain large amounts of phosphorous, so it does not matter if it is caffeine free or a regular one, it should be avoided.
Clear sodas are comparatively better, as they don’t have much phosphorus. However, it is recommended that you opt for water instead, if possible!
- Dark colas contain phosphoric acid that promotes kidney stones.
If you have more than 2 sodas a day, it is more likely that you have protein in the urine, which is a clear marker of kidney damage.
Shellfish and Meat – (Harmful Foods for Kidneys)
Sure, the protein found in shellfish and meat is good for muscle building. However, you need to avoid these if you have chronic kidney disease (CKD).
- However, the byproducts formed from the protein in these foods can start building up in the blood and this means that the kidneys will have to work harder.
- Avoid red meat, as it has high amounts of saturated fat.
- You can eat other meat, but lower the protein intake. For instance, you could make a sandwich using a thinner slice of meat. Try bulking it up by adding lettuce or apple slices, cucumber and other garnishing.
Fruits and Juices
When considering foods to avoid if you have kidney problems, avoid these fruits, while also checking out fruits recommended for kidney problems!
- Avoid Avocados while on a renal diet!
- Dates, Raisins and Prunes are also among the harmful foods for kidneys for those with kidney disease.
- Fresh Pears
- Honeydew melon, Kiwis, kumquats, star fruit, mangoes and papaya
- Nectarines, oranges, orange juice, pomegranates
- Fruits that are offered in canned syrup
Sweets and Starches and Fats
In general, avoid foods high in sugar, salt and trans fats!
Starchy foods that should be avoided include:
- Biscuits and muffins
- Pancakes and waffles
- Pretzel sticks and rings
- Sandwich cookies
Fats to be avoided include:
- Coffee creamer
- Deli style roast beef; ham and turkey
- Cottage cheese
- Processed cheese and cheese spreads
- Smoked meat, bacon, ham as well as sausage and hot dogs.
- Red meat, poultry as well as whole milk and butter contain saturated fats and should be avoided. These fats usually solidify at room temperature.
- Also avoid trans fats found in bakery goods, cookies, cakes, doughnuts and french fries.
Limit saturated fats and trans fats. Check out food labels before buying them! If you’re wondering about the best foods to eat when you have kidney disease, supplement your diet with fats from vegetable oils, like safflower oil, which is better than butter, lard etc. However, avoid hydrogenated vegetable oils as they contain trans fatty acids. Oil from olives, peanuts and canola oil are healthier alternatives and work better as food for kidney cleansing.
All of us need dietary fat, but there are some fats that are healthy while others are not. People with kidney disease are at a higher risk of a stroke or a heart attack, hence they should be careful about dietary fat.
Sweets to Avoid
Sugar is linked with diabetes as well as obesity and both these are connected with kidney problems!
- Some candies are high in phosphorus as well as potassium and sodium and should be avoided. Avoid popular candies containing chocolate and nuts.
Tip: Check out the nutritional label on candies in order to see which ones are low in phosphorus, sodium.
Processed Food – (Foods to Avoid if You Have Kidney Problems)
- Canned Soups, frozen dinners are taboo for those with kidney disease!
- Deli meat
- Give up on processed food, such as potato chips; cheese spreads; crackers and instant potato mix. These have high amounts of phosphorus additives as well as sodium, both of which can damage kidneys.
Foods High in Protein
Eating more protein than what your body actually needs could strain your kidneys, as they need to work harder to eliminate protein waste.
- Chicken, fish, meat and eggs
- Beans, nuts and grains
- Avoid ground beef; halibut; shrimp; salmon; tuna; chicken breast and roasted chicken, as all of these are high protein foods. Instead, you can opt for lower protein alternatives like beef stew, egg substitutes, tofu and imitation crab meat.
Tip: Eat smaller portions of a protein food. Select the right combination of plant and animal protein by consulting with your dietician about kidney friendly meal plans.
Foods High in Potassium
People with kidney problems must avoid or limit food that are high in potassium. Damaged kidneys are not capable of processing these foods, so it leads to fatigue, muscle cramps and heart problems.
If you must have these fruits, ensure that you have very small portions, maybe just one or two cherry tomatoes for your salad and a few raisins with your oatmeal.
- Nuts, beans and legumes
- Potatoes (Tip: You can reduce the potassium content of potatoes in this way)
- Dairy products
- Salty foods and fast foods
- Bran, whole grains
- Vegetable juices
- Dates, raisins and prunes
- Bananas and kiwis
Foods High in Phosphorus – (Foods Bad for Kidneys)
Warning: Many packaged foods contain additional phosphorous. Look out for the words PHOS on the ingredient label.
- Beer and chocolate drinks
- Beverages with phosphate additives
- Custard, cheese, cream soups
- Oysters, beef liver, fish roe. Deli meat as well as fresh meat and even poultry can have additional phosphorous.
Tip: You can ask your butcher to assist you in picking out fresh meats that don’t contain added phosphorus.
- Chocolate candy, caramels, oat bran muffins
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Canned Food, Packaged and Pre Made Meals
- Canned and frozen meals are high in salt content and must be avoided.
- Avoid pickled food, such as olives or pickles. Also avoid high salt containing foods, such as BBQ sauce or ketchup and soy sauce.
Be careful about foods labelled ‘reduced sodium’, as many sodium substitutes are also high in potassium.
If you do eat canned vegetables, remember to drain and then rinse and use them, in order to remove excess salt before you cook or consume them.
Brown rice has a high content of potassium and phosphorous, as compared to white rice.
- There is about 150 grams of phosphorus with 154 mg of potassium in a cup of cooked brown rice. On the other hand, one cup of cooked white rice contains only 69 mg phosphorus with 54 mg potassium.
You can still have brown rice in your renal diet, provided you control the portions and avoid excess consumption of potassium and phosphorus from other foods.
- Instead, you can substitute brown rice with bulgur or buckwheat or even pearled barley. These are nutritious options and contain lower amounts of phosphorus.
Wrap Up – Foods to Avoid If You Have Kidney Problem
Foods to avoid or diet restrictions for kidney problems will change according to the stage of the kidney disease. In general, it is safe to avoid excess of sodium, potassium as well as phosphorus, as kidneys will not be able to eliminate higher levels of these elements.
It is advisable to stick to 2000 mg of sodium and potassium and 1000 mg of phosphorus to be on the safe side.
You must also limit your protein intake, as damaged kidneys find it difficult to filter waste products from protein metabolism.
The important foods to avoid are those that contain a high level of sodium, potassium and phosphorous. However, the restrictions might vary according to the level or intensity of your kidney damage.
It might seem difficult to avoid these foods, but if you work with your registered dietitian, you can create a renal friendly diet and still obtain all the necessary nutrients for a healthy body!