07/06/2022 / Kidney and Nephrology

20 Foods to avoid with kidney disease

In this article we have shared a list of 20 foods to avoid with kidney disease that were not known before.

20 Foods to avoid with kidney disease
Aastha MahapatraAastha Mahapatra

Aastha Mahapatra

M.Pharm, Research Associate

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.

Renal diet

  • Renal diet also known as kidney diet, is aimed at keeping the levels of fluid electrolytes and minerals balanced in the body. This diet is mainly recommended for people with chronic kidney disease or with people on dialysis. 

  • Keeping up with a renal diet may include dietary changes like restriction of protein and electrolytes like sodium, phosphorus and calcium. 

  • This diet will limit the build up of unwanted minerals in the body and reduce the strain on the kidney.

Kidney friendly diet

  • Kidney friendly diet is mainly the diet to be followed for a kidney friendly eating plan. Following this diet means eating right for chronic kidney disease.

  • The main function of this diet is to get rid of waste and extra fluid from the body.

Kidney friendly diet
  • Lowering the intake of sodium, potassium, and calcium is an important part of the kidney friendly diet.

  • This diet includes fruits like cranberries, orange, apple, cucumber and pineapple. 

  • It’s a diet rich in fruits, veggies, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts. It’s low in sodium, sugars and sweets, fats, and red meats.

20 Foods to avoid for Kidney disease

20 Foods to avoid with Kidney disease

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. 

Potatoes and Tomatoes

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 them 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.

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. 

Processed Meat

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.

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. Bananas 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.

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. 

11. Dark coloured soda

These types of sodas have additives which have a reasonable amount of phosphorus in it. This is mainly added to enhance the shelf life and prevent discolouration of the soda. In order to avoid the deposition of excess phosphorus, this  kind of soda needs to be avoided. 

12. Canned foods

These foods are easy to make and low in price therefore many people prefer this over freshly cooked food. However, this food has high sodium content in it which is added as a preservative. This food is not recommended for people with kidney disease as it will increase the sodium content. 

13. Whole wheat bread

This bread may be a more nutritious choice, mostly due to its higher fibre content. However, white bread is usually recommended over whole wheat varieties for individuals with kidney disease. This is because of its phosphorus and potassium content. The more bran and whole grains in the bread, the higher the phosphorus and potassium contents. 30-gram serving of whole wheat bread contains about 57 mg of phosphorus and 69 mg of potassium. In comparison, white bread contains only 28 mg of both phosphorus and potassium. 

14. Pickles, olives and relish

There is a large amount of salt addition during the curing and pickling process. This will increase the intake of sodium in the body. Consumption of excess olives, pickles and relishes can be harmful for the health of the kidney. One pickle spear can contain more than 300 mg of sodium. Similarly, there are 244 mg of sodium in 2 tablespoons of sweet pickle relish.

15. Swiss Chard and beet greens

These leafy green vegetables like swiss chard and beet greens have a good content of nutrients and minerals including potassium. In the raw green leafy vegetables the content of potassium varies from 140-290 mg per cup. There should be a moderate intake of these foods as they have a high oxalate content as well.  

16. Dates, raisins and prunes

Dates, raisins, and prunes are common dry fruits. When fruits are dried, all of their nutrients are concentrated, including potassium.1 cup of prunes provides 1,274 mg of potassium, which is nearly 5 times the amount of potassium found in 1 cup of plums, its raw counterpart. 668mg of potassium content can be observed in four dates. This high amount of potassium in these common dry fruits is not good food for renal health.

17. Chips and crackers

Ready to eat snacks and food have a lack of nutrients and have a very high salt content. Also, these snacks are mainly made up of potatoes and it is already mentioned that the potato which needs to be avoided for having a healthy kidney. 

18. Certain herbal supplements and vitamins

If you have a chronic disease then you should always consult a doctor before taking certain vitamins and supplements. These supplements may elevate portions of some vitamins A, E and K which might be a damage to the kidney. 

19. Trans-fat

There should be a limit to the consumption of trans fat (or the “bad fats”) in your diet. It is particularly harmful as it can increase the risk of clogged blood vessels and heart disease. While healthy fats, such as those found in salmon, avocado, olive oil and nuts, are necessary, trans fat is not and is only harmful. Foods that contain trans fats, such as fried foods, pie crusts, crackers, frozen pizza, margarine and cakes should be avoided. 

20. Alcohol

In order to avoid severe damage people with chronic kidney health conditions must avoid or limit alcohol. As per studies the drinking should be  limited as in moderate drinking for women who are age 21 and older is one drink per day and up to two drinks per day for men. 

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 consulting a kidney doctor for the best results.

FAQ on foods to avoid with kidney disease

1. What kind of food is harmful for kidneys?

Ans. Dark colour soda, avocados, canned foods, whole wheat bread, pickles, olives , brown rice, banana and dairy are some foods which can be avoided in order to prevent kidney disease. 

2. What foods make your kidneys work harder?

Ans. Your kidneys process everything you eat or drink, including anything that's bad for you, like lots of fat, salt, and sugar. Over time, a bad diet can lead to high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and other conditions that are hard on your kidneys.

3. Is coffee good for kidneys?

Ans. Coffee is an acceptable beverage for kidneys. Although excess of coffee can harm the kidney as well. 

4. What are kidney friendly fruits?

Ans. Grapes, apples and cranberries and their respective juices can be considered as kidney friendly fruits. 

5. What is Kidney Failure?

Ans. When the kidney function falls to 15 percent of the normal that the kidney is considered as a failing kidney and the condition or process is called as kidney failure. 

6. Are bananas good for kidney?

Ans. Bananas should be avoided in order to maintain good kidney health as they are high in potassium content. 

7. What foods are good for kidney repair?

Ans. Good foods that help repair your kidneys include apples, blueberries, fish, kale, spinach, and sweet potatoes.

8. Is avocado good for kidney stones?

Ans. Avocado is not good for someone suffering from a kidney disease. Although, avocado leaves extract offers an alternative prevention from the formation of crystal that would become a kidney stone. 

9. Are pickles good for kidney health?

Ans. Pickles are considered to be high on sodium and are therefore restricted for good renal diet. These are not considered good for kidney health.

10. Can I eat rice if I have kidney stones?

Ans. Diets rich in fibre can be consumed during kidney stones and rice is one of them. 

11. Does Tomato cause kidney stones?

Ans. No consumption of tomato does not have any effect on kidney stones. 

12. Is Ginger good for kidneys?

Ans. Ginger is a kidney friendly seasoning. Research shows Ginger reduces the results of diabetes complications such as kidney disease.  

13. Is Brown rice good for kidney disease?

Ans. Brown rice has a high content of phosphorus and potassium and will likely need to be portion-controlled or limited on a renal diet.

14. Is turmeric good for kidney?

Ans. Turmeric contains oxalates and this can increase the risk of kidneys stones. The intake of turmeric can significantly increase urinary oxalate levels.  

15. Is lemon water good for kidneys?

Ans. Lemon water has a good content of citrate which prevents the deposition of calcium and building up of kidney stones . 

16. Is cucumber good for kidney? 

Ans. Cucumber has kidney cleansing properties they help to wash the kidneys and bladder of debris and stones.

17. What is the best thing to drink for your kidneys?

Ans. Water is the best thing to drink for kidney health because it gives your kidneys the fluids they need to function well, without sugar, caffeine, or other additives that do not benefit your kidneys.

18. What diet is good for kidneys?

Ans. A diet of whole grains and healthy carbs such as fruits and vegetables.

19. Is wine good for kidneys?

Ans. Moderate consumption of wine is beneficial for kidney health but high consumption can be harmful. 

20. Is beer good for your kidneys?

Ans. A little alcohol like one or two drinks usually has no serious effects. However, excessive drinking–more than four drinks daily can affect your health and worsen kidney disease.


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