12-04-2021 / Kidney and Nephrology

10 Foods to Avoid If you have Kidney Problems

The kidney is responsible for the reabsorption of water and other minerals from the urine we pass out. Here, we will discuss some of the Foods that you must need to avoid to keep your kidney fit and fine.

10 Foods to Avoid If you have Kidney Problems
Mazia AhmedMazia Ahmed

Mazia Ahmed

MSc Nutrition Science, Ph.D. Scholar

Table of Content


  • In this busy world, we sometimes ignore the importance of health and healthy habits. Often, what we lack in our daily busy lives is time, which directly reflects our food intakes. We try to find options for quick and easy foods. In such a hectic life, eating something that refreshes your mood is often preferred. The kidney is one of the essential organs in our body. It is the central processing unit of our excretory products. 

  • The kidney is responsible for the reabsorption of water and other minerals from the urine we pass out. God has gifted humans with two kidneys, and a human is very much capable of living on even one of them. But these days, even two kidneys are not enough to sustain our unhealthy food habits. Here, we will discuss some of the Foods that you must need to avoid to keep your kidney fit and fine.

Infographics Food to Avoid for Kidney Health

10 Foods to avoid for Kidney Health

1. Pickles- To start our list, we have pickles in the topmost priority. Pickles are not something that we have on occasions or with certain dishes. In India, pickles are something that we consume daily. This is more of an addition to our primary course to make our meal taste better. Even if you visit an Indian restaurant, pickles are something very common you can get. To answer why pickle is not suitable for renal health is the excess amount of vegetable oil and salt (sodium). 

The kidney works and purifies the blood. It also plays a significant role in absorption and secretion in the urine. Hence sodium plays a great role in the Countercurrent Mechanism. Sodium and potassium are two action pumps that do play a role in maintaining this cycle. Pickles have sodium in lots of amounts; hence one should control the uptake of sodium via pickles if he/she wants to have a healthy kidney.

2. Potatoes- Potato and sweet potato are also among the significant diets in Indian meals. Interestingly both of these, if taken in excess, can have a terrible effect on renal health. As mentioned above, sodium and potassium both play significant roles in the Countercurrent Mechanism. And potatoes have excess potassium content, and you can easily get a lot of these reserves in your body if you eat potatoes often. 

A medium-sized baked potato has more than 900 mg of Potassium content. On the other hand, there could be an escape to this demerit. If you want to eat potatoes, it is better to soak them in water for a few hours or cut it into small pieces and boil them in water before consuming them.

3. Tomato- A medium-sized Tomato can have a content of more than 300 mg of potassium. Isn't it a significant number? Lycopene and other components present in tomatoes can help you develop better skin and health, but potassium content can disturb your entire renal system. For a better kidney, it is always advised to consume tomato in cooked form. Cooking breaks up the potassium to a reasonable extent. Excess tomatoes can even cause toxicity in the blood.

Potatoes and Tomatoes

4. Processed meat and chicken- Processed meat has a lot of preservatives. These preservatives are the main factor to keep it in a good state for a more extended period. We consume this type of meat regularly, but what we don't know is that all these preservatives can be a very dangerous factor for our health. The kidney has a special function to pass out different constituents and different toxins such as antibiotics, drugs, and other substances that are considered harmful to the body via urine. 

In this process, it passes the blood through a structure called Glomerulus. The glomerular cells are very much sensitive to preservatives. Excess of preservatives can cause damage to these cells. Even the food preservatives have a high content of sodium, and this can harm your kidney. Besides, high protein foods such as meat, when taken in excess, can exert pressure on your renal system. So, it is better to avoid them. 

Preserved meats are a high source of sodium as they provide more than 20,000 mg of sodium per meal.

Processed Meat

5. Brown rice- Brown rice has become one of the most preferred rice varieties these days. The reason for being so is the fact that brown rice has extra vitamins that are absent in normal rice. These vitamins help you to grow more efficiently. But if we talk of renal health, brown rice is not a great catch. A bowl of Brown rice contains more than 80 mg of potassium, and overconsumption of brown rice can be a terrible thing for your kidney. 

Brown rice is a type of whole grain and contains a lot of phosphorus and potassium. If you want to limit things up and maintain your renal health and gain the benefits of brown rice, then opt for a properly balanced diet. 

6. Banana- The mystery fruit with the maximum amount of potassium on the list is Banana. One medium piece of Banana has 422 mg of potassium. If you like to have a banana shake in the morning, then things can be hard on you as a whole banana can give you so much potassium to destroy your renal health. Banana can also give you extra amounts of fructose. This can be harmful if you don't want a rich sugar intake. If you have diabetes mellitus or any such diseases, then it is always better to avoid Bananas.

7. Dairy Products- People think that drinking a lot of milk or consuming a lot of Dairy products can be beneficial for their health as it can build up the body. But this is not entirely true. There can be many components in dairy products, such as high amounts of potassium that can be harmful to the body. Many dairy companies add potassium to enrich the content, but this can exert pressure on the kidney. Hence, all you have to do is to take potassium in a calculated amount. A lot of phosphorus can even extract excess calcium from your bones and make them fragile. A whole cup of milk can have more than 350 mg of potassium, so you should be very conscious of the amount of milk you drink.

Banana and Dairy

8. Orange- Orange is one of the best sources of Vitamin C in our body. Vitamins are essential for the human system, but on the other side, it is to be controlled with any excess amounts of consumption. Any excess amount can boost the level of potassium in your body. One large orange can have more than 200 mg of potassium. So the number is enough to tell you the excess amount of potassium in an orange. Eating an orange is a good thing. It provides you instant energy, an instant source of sugar with lots of Vitamin C. But overconsumption should be strictly prohibited to ensure good Kidney health.

9. Flavored Soda- Many of you might not know this, but Flavored Sodas have added preservatives and flavors to them. All these added flavors contain a considerable amount of phosphorus. Companies are free not to tell you the amount of phosphorus added. Such sodas can have free phosphorus, which is very much different from the ones found in our bodies. The body's phosphorus is bound to protein, but the free phosphorus is very much open to absorption, and your body will absorb all of it very quickly and can harm your kidney health. So it is better to avoid such drinks.

10. Avocado- Now, this can be something that is not consumed a lot in India, but if you consume a lot of these, you need to stop to restore your renal health. Avocado is very rich in nutrients, it is good for the heart and many more, but it again has an excess amount of potassium. One cup of Avocado can have more than 700 mg of potassium so beware before eating many of these tasty fruits. 

Word of Wisdom

People nowadays do not consider a lot of their renal health before consuming anything. Most of the food items mentioned above in the list are consumed in daily diets. Many of them are not even considered to be even close to being harmful to the kidney. But the sad truth is the fact that all these can ruin your Kidneys' life. It's time we start caring about our bodies and take action to prevent organ damage. One should try to balance out the intake of these food items for the best results. 

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