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7 worst foods for kidney health, from avocados to brown rice

Some foods you might think are healthy could actually be affecting your kidneys.

Foods like avocados, bananas and brown rice aren't good foods for kidney health. (Stock Image)
Foods like avocados, bananas and brown rice aren't good foods for kidney health. (Stock Image)

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact a qualified medical professional before engaging in any physical activity, or making any changes to your diet, medication or lifestyle.

Kidneys play a vital role in your health, from filtering blood, balancing fluids, removing waste products from your blood and more. However, it's estimated that one in 10 Canadians suffers from chronic kidney disease (CKD). Over time, CKD can lead to other health problems, such as heart disease.

To help your kidney health, avoid consuming too much sodium, potassium and phosphorous. Too much of these minerals in your bloodstream can put additional stress on your kidneys to adequately filter them.

Kidney disease can often go untreated as the signs and symptoms aren't always apparent until the disease is advanced. If you have a family history of kidney disease or you're concerned about your kidney health, contact your doctor to learn more about what you can do. Additionally, here are seven suggested foods to avoid when thinking about your diet.

1. Avocados

Yes, this is sad news for guacamole lovers everywhere, but it's true — avocados aren't great for your kidneys since they're high in potassium. An average-sized avocado weighing about 200 grams can contain around 970 milligrams of potassium, nearly half the recommended dose for someone with kidney disease.

2. Canned foods

Canned foods, including soups and sauces, are high in sodium, potentially raising your blood pressure. Since those with kidney disease are already prone to sodium buildup and high blood pressure, adding extra sodium can adversely affect your health.

But choosing lower sodium varieties or those labelled "no salt added," as well as rinsing canned goods, can decrease sodium content by 33 per cent.

Filtering excess potassium is difficult for people with kidney disease. (Photo via Getty Images)
Filtering excess potassium is difficult for people with kidney disease. (Photo via Getty Images)

3. Bananas

Bananas are a potassium-rich food that can help you meet your daily requirement, but they may not be the best option for people with kidney disease. Your kidneys usually regulate your potassium levels, but filtering excess potassium is difficult for those with kidney disease. In fact, someone with chronic kidney disease should limit their potassium intake to 2,000 to 3,000 milligrams per day. Be aware, as a single large banana contains 500 milligrams of potassium.

4. Pop

A single can of artificially dyed pop has about 10 teaspoons of sugar — it's basically liquid candy. Over time, a diet too high in sugar can cause health problems like diabetes and kidney disease.

Pop also contains high levels of phosphoric additives. High phosphorus levels in urine are linked to kidney stones and can lead to kidney disease over time. Just drinking two cans of pop per day can increase your risk of developing kidney disease down the road.

Do your kidneys a favour and watch out for "phos" words in the ingredients list on the back of your carbonated beverages.

Dairy products are a natural source of potassium and phosphorus, the latter of which isn't good for damaged kidneys. (Photo via Getty Images)
Dairy products are a natural source of potassium and phosphorus, the latter of which isn't good for damaged kidneys. (Photo via Getty Images)

5. Dairy products

Dairy products — such as milk, cheese and yogurt — are a natural source of potassium and phosphorus. If your kidneys are damaged, too much phosphorus consumption can cause a buildup in the blood. The imbalance between calcium and phosphorus can then withdraw calcium from your bones.

If you want to maintain a healthy phosphorus and calcium balance but love dairy products, consider dairy alternatives, such as rice or almond milk.

6. Dried fruits

Dried fruits are healthy when eaten in small doses, but they're also ingredient-dense and high in sugar and potassium. For example, 200 grams of raisins can have up to 493 calories, while a whole fresh apple has fewer than 100 calories.

If you enjoy dried fruits, look for low-potassium options, like dried apples or cranberries.

7. Brown rice

Brown rice is a good source of fibre, vitamins and minerals. However, it's higher in potassium and phosphorus than white rice. One cup of cooked brown rice contains 150 milligrams of phosphorus and 154 milligrams of potassium, while one cup of cooked white rice contains only 68 milligrams of phosphorus and 55 milligrams of potassium.

If you're looking out for your kidney health, opt for white rice instead of brown.

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