Doctor holding a kidney structure next to potatoes and tomatoes

EATING RIGHT: 7 Foods To Avoid When Dealing With Kidney Issues

The kidneys are small, bean-shaped organs located in the lower abdomen, just below the rib cage. Despite their size, they perform a significant role in the overall health of the body. They are responsible for filtering blood, balancing minerals, removing waste through urine, maintaining electrolyte levels and fluid balance and producing hormones.

However, when the kidneys are unable to function as properly as they should, it can result in a build-up of fluid in the body and cause an accumulation of waste and toxic chemicals in the blood. Fortunately, limiting or avoiding certain foods in our diet can be beneficial in improving kidney function and in decreasing the accumulation of waste in the blood, which can damage the kidneys.


Many factors can put a risk to kidney or renal health. And this includes high blood pressure, unmanaged diabetes, heart disease, alcoholism, hepatitis C, etc. However, diet is also one of the most significant risk factors for kidney disease. While some foods may benefit the kidney and enhance their performance, it is also important to know that there are certain foods that can put stress on them and cause damage, which can lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD).

It is crucial to know that not every ‚Äėhealthy‚Äô food is healthy and suitable for the kidneys, especially if you have a history of kidney disease. Foods with high sodium, phosphorous, and potassium content should be off the table as they can stress the kidneys and further damage the kidneys. Additionally, you may have more restrictions depending on how advanced your kidney disease is. To help with your dietary change and adjustment,

Here are some foods that should be off-limits, especially for people with kidney disease:

        1. Salt and Salty Foods

Junk food, Salty friends with ketchup and mayonnaise

Sodium is bad for the kidneys. Salt or any other salty food contains in them a good amount of sodium, which can be lethal for the kidneys. Try to limit your salt intake or avoid it altogether, especially if you have CKD.  Products such as soy sauce, processed meats, chips, instant foods, canned foods, etc are high in sodium and it is best to stay away from them. Try using herbs and spices in your foods for flavour, rather than adding salt. 

        2. Bananas

Although low in sodium content, bananas contain a high amount of potassium, which is one of the minerals a person with kidney disease should avoid at all costs. 1 medium banana contains 422 mg of potassium so it is best to avoid them if you are someone down with kidney disease. Fruits such as pineapple are a healthier option as they are low in potassium and they are also wonderful in taste and benefits.

        3. Potatoes

This includes sweet potatoes as well. This is because potatoes and sweet potatoes are naturally potassium-rich vegetables. A 156 g of potato contains 610 mg of potassium and a 114 g of sweet potato contains 541 mg of potassium. Be it baked, steamed, fried or mashed, it is best to limit the intake of potatoes, even if you can’t avoid it completely.

        4. Tomatoes

Another fruit-vegetable that is also high in potassium concentration is tomatoes. In fact, just a cup of sliced tomatoes can contain 900 mg or more of potassium. Minerals like potassium are known for helping the nerves and muscles function properly. But in the case of a person with CKD, too much of it cannot be filtered out by the kidney which can get accumulated in the blood, increasing the risk of serious heart problems. 

        5. Spinach

Green leafy vegetables like spinach are generally healthy but this may not be the case for someone with kidney disease. Spinach is high in potassium, no matter how small it shrunk into when being cooked. Moreover, it is also high in oxalic acid, which is an organic compound that can form oxalates once bound to minerals such as calcium. This can further develop into a kidney stone with susceptible individuals, which can further damage the kidneys and impair their functioning. 

        6. Dairy Products

Dairy products are known for their incredible nutrient content. However, they are also a natural source of potassium, phosphorous and proteins, which are harmful to people with kidney issues. Besides damaging the kidneys, too much phosphorous consumption, especially with damaged kidneys, can cause phosphorous accumulation in the blood, which can pull calcium from your bones. This can weaken the bones in the long run and increase the risk of bone fracture or breakage.

        7. Whole Grains

Raw and healthy grains of different types

A fitness enthusiast would suggest whole-grain products, such as whole-wheat bread, oats or brown rice, when it comes to maintaining weight, cholesterol levels, or overall health, in general. But this may not be the case for a person with kidney disease or kidney problems. This is because whole grains, unlike refined grains, are higher in phosphorous and potassium, which are nutrients to be avoided for a person with kidney problems. Also, most bread and bread products, be it refined or whole, can contain a relatively high amount of sodium in them. It is best to read the labels before purchasing these items.


Following a renal or kidney diet can seem overwhelming and a bit restrictive at times. But this doesn’t mean you have to suffer from it. There are plenty of healthy, delicious foods that are low in sodium, potassium and phosphorous that you can enjoy and improve your health with.

Preserva’s Nephrogold Tablets is also another healthy and natural way you can boost your kidney function and prevent further kidney damage. It contains a unique blend of a wide variety of potent Ayurvedic herbs and spices that are known for their amazing healing properties. The tablets act as a tonic for the kidneys by supporting healthy urinary flow, maintaining fluid balance, removing nitrogenous waste material and urinary oxalates from the body, just to name a few. The tablets are 100% plant-based, making them completely safe for consumption without having to worry about any side effects!

The Takeaway

Reducing your sodium, potassium and phosphorus intake is an important part of managing kidney disease and avoiding kidney problems. Yes, they can be restrictive and overwhelming at times but these foods can do serious damage to your renal health and overall health if not avoided. However, it is also important to know that dietary restrictions and recommendations can vary based on the severity of the kidney damage. So make sure to consult with a renal specialist to help you design a renal diet specific to your individual needs.

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