It is true that all the organs are charged with specific functions for the overall wellbeing of the body, the kidney is one of the most vital organs in the body.
Your kidneys are bean-shaped organs that perform many important functions. They are charged with filtering blood, removing waste particles in the body through urine and stool, producing hormones, balancing minerals we consume with the ones in the body and maintaining fluid balance.
There are a lot of factors that can trigger kidney disease, of which the most common are diabetes and high blood pressure. Cardiovascular diseases, HIV infection, hepatitis C virus and alcoholism are also factors that can trigger kidney diseases.
Damaged kidney inhibits proper functioning of the body. For instance, when the kidney is damaged, fluid can easily build up in the body, hence allowing waste to accumulate in the blood.
However, avoiding or limiting intake of certain foods in your diet can help reduce the accumulation of waste products in the blood, improve kidney function and prevent further damage.
The connection between your diet and your kidney
Dietary restrictions vary depending on the stage of kidney disease.
For instance, people who are in the early stages of chronic kidney disease will have different dietary restrictions than those with end-stage renal disease, or kidney failure. Those with end-stage renal disease who require dialysis will also have varying dietary restrictions. Dialysis is a type of treatment that removes extra water and filters waste.
The majority of those in the late stages or with end-stage kidney disease will need to follow a kidney-friendly diet to avoid build-up of certain chemicals or nutrients in the blood. In those with chronic kidney disease, the kidneys cannot adequately remove excess sodium, potassium and phosphorus. As a result, they are at higher risk of elevated blood levels of these minerals.
A kidney-friendly or renal diet usually includes limiting sodium and potassium to 2,000 mg per day and limiting phosphorus to 1,000 mg per day.
Damaged kidneys may also have trouble filtering the waste products of protein metabolism. Therefore, individuals with chronic kidney disease in stages 1–4 may need to limit the amount of protein in their diets
However, those with end-stage renal disease undergoing dialysis have an increased protein requirement
So, here are some foods to avoid if you have a bad kidney;
In addition to the calories and sugar that colas provide, they also contain additives that contain phosphorus, especially dark-colored colas. Many food manufacturers add phosphorus during the processing of food and beverages to enhance flavor, prolong shelf life and prevent discoloration.
This added phosphorus is much more absorbable by the human body than natural, animal- or plant-based phosphorus.
Unlike natural phosphorus, phosphorus in the form of additives is not bound to protein. Rather, it’s found in the form of salt and highly absorbable by the intestinal tract.
Additive phosphorus can typically be found in a product’s ingredient list. However, food manufacturers are not required to list the exact amount of additive phosphorus on the food label.
While additive phosphorus content varies depending on the type of cola, most dark-colored colas are believed to contain 50–100 mg in a 200-ml serving
As a result, colas, especially those dark in color, should be avoided on a renal diet.
Avocados are often touted for their many nutritious qualities, including their heart-healthy fats, fiber and antioxidants.
While avocados are usually a healthy addition to the diet, individuals with kidney disease may need to avoid them.
This is because avocados are a very rich source of potassium. One cup (150 grams) of avocado provides a whopping 727 mg of potassium
That’s double the amount of potassium than a medium banana provides. Therefore, avocados, including guacamole, should be avoided on a renal diet, especially if you have been told to watch your potassium intake.
Canned foods, such as soups, vegetables and beans, are often purchased because of their low cost and convenience. However, most canned foods contain high amounts of sodium, as salt is added as a preservative to increase its shelf life
Because of the amount of sodium found in canned goods, it’s often recommended that people with kidney disease avoid or limit their consumption. Choosing lower-sodium varieties or those labeled “no salt added” is typically best.
Additionally, draining and rinsing canned foods, such as canned beans and tuna, can decrease the sodium content by 33–80%, depending on the product
Choosing the right bread can be confusing for individuals with kidney disease.
Often for healthy individuals, whole-wheat bread is usually recommended over refined, white flour bread.
Whole-wheat bread may be a more nutritious choice, mostly due to its higher fiber 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.
Note that most bread and bread products, regardless of being white or whole wheat, also contain relatively high amounts of sodium. Therefore, It’s best to compare nutrition labels of various types of bread, choose a lower-sodium option, if possible, and monitor your portion sizes.
Bananas are known for their high potassium content. While they’re naturally low in sodium, one medium banana provides 422 mg of potassium.
It may be difficult to keep your daily potassium intake to 2,000 mg if a banana is a daily staple. Unfortunately, many other tropical fruits have high potassium contents as well.
However, pineapples contain substantially less potassium than other tropical fruits and can be a more suitable, yet tasty, alternative.
Dairy products are rich sources of various nutrients even vitamins and minerals. They’re also a natural source of phosphorus and potassium and a good source of protein. Therefore, consuming too much dairy, in conjunction with other phosphorus-rich foods, can be detrimental to bone health in those with kidney disease.
This may sound surprising, as milk and dairy are often recommended for strong bones and muscle health.
However, when the kidneys are damaged, too much phosphorus consumption can cause a buildup of phosphorus in the blood. This can make your bones thin and weak over time and increase the risk of bone breakage or fracture
Also, dairy products are a rich source of protein. It may be important to limit dairy intake to avoid the buildup of protein waste in the blood.
Dairy alternatives like unenriched rice milk and almond milk are much lower in potassium, phosphorus and protein than cow’s milk, making them a good substitute for milk while on a renal diet.
Pretzels, Chips and Crackers
Ready-made-easy to chomp on snacks like pretzels, chips and crackers do not only lack in nutrients, they also have a relatively high amount of salt in them. It is also very easy to eat more than the daily recommended intake of these snacks, resulting in even higher salt intake.
More than anything else, you do not want to have a high salt intake when your kidney is bad.