List of Restricted Foods for Kidney Problems

Your kidneys perform major functions in the body, including removing excess waste products, controlling your electrolyte balance and regulating your fluid status via urine production and output. When your kidneys are not functioning well, you may need to avoid certain foods to avoid the build-up of certain electrolytes, minerals and waste products.

Foods That Contain Phosphorus

Phosphorus is a mineral that's primarily found in your bones 2. Your kidneys help regulate and control your blood phosphorus level 2. When your blood phosphorus level is high -- above 5.5 milligrams per deciliter -- this may increase your risk of bone disease.

Foods That Contain Potassium

Potassium is an important electrolyte in your body that your kidneys regulate, and it plays an important role in muscle contraction and in maintaining normal heart rhythms. If your blood potassium level is high, you may be at risk of having irregular heartbeats or a heart attack. Foods high in potassium include bananas, oranges, pumpkins, tomatoes and potatoes.

Foods That Contain Protein

If you have a decline in kidney function, your doctor may want you to eat less protein 4. When you eat foods that are high in protein, your body produces a waste product called urea. A byproduct of protein metabolism, urea can be toxic to your body. When your kidneys are not functioning well, it’s more difficult for your body to remove urea. High levels of urea in the blood can cause symptoms of poor appetite and fatigue. Foods high in protein include:

  • beef
  • chicken
  • turkey
  • pork
  • eggs
  • dairy products

Foods That Contain Sodium

Sodium is a natural mineral found in many foods and is most commonly found in table salt. When you consume too much sodium, fluid can build-up in the body, especially around your heart and lungs. Uncontrolled hypertension and shortness of breath are common symptoms of excess of fluid in the body. Uncontrolled hypertension is one of the leading causes of kidney disease. To avoid consuming high amounts of sodium, limit your use of table salt and other salt seasonings. Other ways to avoid sodium is to limit processed foods like chips, salted nuts and seeds, cured meats, cheese and canned foods.