10 Foods to Avoid if You Have Chronic Kidney Disease

Good nutrition is a key part of staying healthy.

Eat a balanced diet, and you’ll support your overall wellness, keeping yourself as physically fit as possible. Eat too many of the wrong foods, however, and you greatly increase your risk of developing harmful health conditions like heart disease and high cholesterol.

When you have chronic kidney disease, it’s even more important to watch what you eat. Certain foods can harm your kidneys more than others because they put a significant strain on the kidneys.

How Your Diet Impacts Your Chronic Kidney Disease

Kidney damage and failure can’t be cured, but eating right can help to stabilize the condition and prevent the damage from getting worse.

Following a renal diet means choosing meals with your kidneys in mind and avoiding certain foods. This often means that you need to avoid foods that are usually viewed as healthy and are promoted by others as such.  So, it’s important to know as an individual with chronic kidney disease what you can and can’t eat.

Dietary Changes and Chronic Kidney Disease Treatment

Your kidneys’ main job is to filter out different substances in your blood. It’s a purification process in which vital nutrients are processed and returned to the bloodstream. These include various vitamins, amino acids, and hormones.

You get many of these nutrients from your diet, specifically in the form of salt, acid, and potassium. A functioning kidney is able to manage a diet high in sodium, potassium, and phosphorus, but when you have weakened kidney function due to chronic kidney disease, it becomes almost impossible to manage these elements.

To support your overall health and reduce further kidney damage, you should avoid eating excessive amounts of these minerals. This means literally avoiding certain kinds of foods.

Avoid These Foods

You probably know the basics of eating healthy such as cutting out junk food, but even though some foods don’t fall into the category of junk food, they are still bad for you if you have kidney disease.

Avoid eating any of the following foods to stay in good shape and improve your kidney health.


Bananas are known for being high in potassium. Normally, this is a good thing, but it’s something to avoid on a renal diet since your body isn’t as well equipped to process potassium.

You should also avoid eating other tropical fruits like mangos, kiwis, and even avocados.


Dairy is normally healthy food to promote good bone health, but people with chronic kidney disease should not be consuming dairy.

Dairy is high in both phosphorus and potassium. In chronic kidney disease, the kidneys are unable to manage phosphorus efficiently, and too much phosphorus reduces bone mass which leaves your bones brittle. Limit dairy as much as possible if you’ve got chronic kidney disease.

Brown Grains

Both brown rice and whole grains are higher in phosphorus and potassium than their white counterparts. Keep your portions small, or stick with more kidney-friendly options like couscous and buckwheat.

Processed Meat

Any cured meat contains a lot of salt, and too much sodium is hard on your kidneys. On top of kidney health concerns, it’s best to avoid the preservatives that are routinely added to processed meat, as well.

Pickled Foods

Like processed meat, pickled foods contain high amounts of salt added during the curing process. Foods to avoid include pickles, relish, olives, sauerkraut, and other pickled or fermented foods.

Many stores offer low-sodium versions of these products, but you should always check the labels to see how much sodium they actually contain.


Though they’re high in vitamin C, oranges also contain a lot of potassium. This means you should avoid orange juice too.

If you’re craving something sweet, try cranberry or apple juice instead.


Sodas, especially dark colas, should be avoided on a renal diet due to their high phosphorus content. Soda is also full of calories and sugars your body doesn’t need, so it’s best to cut it out completely.

Canned Soup

Since sodium is used as a preservative for soup, most canned soups are incredibly high in salt. This is also true of many other canned goods like beans and various vegetables.


Potatoes and other starchy root vegetables are very high in potassium. However, soaking and boiling them can reduce their potassium content so that you can enjoy them occasionally.

Dried Fruits

Dried fruits like raisins and prunes have a much higher concentration of potassium than fresh fruits. Avoid trail mix and dried fruit snack packs.

Final Thoughts

Eating healthy is all about moderation and balance. While it’s best to avoid these foods as often as you can, consuming moderate amounts of them is okay from time to time.

Avoid eating too many unhealthy foods, and reinforce good nutrition with other healthy habits like routine exercise and plenty of sleep at night. Good nutrition is an essential part of chronic kidney disease treatment.

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