Foods to Avoid With Bad Kidneys


The job of the kidneys is to filter our blood of waste products and to flush them from our system with urination. As such, failure of the kidneys can result in many harmful effects as we get a build up of various harmful minerals and chemicals in our blood and are unable to remove them from our system.

As such then, if you suffer from kidney failure it is important to be able to help prevent these substances from building up in the blood by taking in less in our diet. This then means avoiding all of the usual things that the kidneys would flush from our body and that we would consider ‘unhealthy’. However at the same time it also means avoiding some of the foods and substances that we would normally considered healthy – as there are many instances here where you can otherwise get ‘too much of a good thing’. The following are some foods to avoid if you have bad kidneys.

1. Firstly you should aim to avoid electrolytes which are found in nuts, dairy and chocolate. This can otherwise build up as the kidneys are unable to flush them out of the system.

2. You should also avoid foods high in sodium (salt to you and me) which is intricately linked to our kidneys. Too much salt in the blood can not only be a symptom of kidney problems, but also a cause.

3. Foods containing potassium. As the kidneys fail this can result in a build up of potassium in the blood, and that in turn can result in cramping and in irregular heartbeats.  

4. High oxalate foods. These are things like berries, peanuts, coffee, beans, chocolate and dark leafy vegetables among other things. These can kidney stones which becomes more likely when you are suffering from kidney failure.

5. Animal derived sources of protein. Anything that is difficult to digest is bad for your kidneys if they are struggling. Replace these with sources such as soy.

6. High phosphorous foods. Foods high in phosphorous should also be avoided as this also builds up as a result of kidney failure and can result in itching and bone weakness among other things.

7. Alcohol can interfere with many medicines taken to fight kidney failure. It can also increase dehydration and can directly damage the kidney cells.

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Gary Wickman


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  • I'm trying to find a list of foods to avoid. I've been surfing and only find comments like "no electrolytes or oxalates." How the H would I know exactly what food is that. I just want to know can I eat tomatoes or green or red peppers, what type of lettuce can I have, which specific fruits and vegetables should I avoid, what meats can I have, etc.

    Can you send me a real list of foods?

  • My wife was just diagnosed with kidney failure. I had never heard most of the things in this article but I am far from being a doctor. I am not sure if this article is true but it was easy to understand and answered my questions, now I need to find out what is good for kidneys. I thought it was fruits berries nuts and beans, guess I was wrong!

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Gary Wickman