Health & Wellness

7 Early Warning Signs of Kidney Disease and 11 Foods to Avoid

Signs of Kidney Disease: The kidney is one of the vital organs in the human body and any alterations in the normal functioning can be assessed by careful observation. The main function of kidneys is the removal of waste from the body, maintenance of normal electrolyte balance, controlling blood pressure, production of RBCs, and making the active form of Vitamin D.

The human body sends indications when the functioning is compromised, here we present you 7 early warning signs of kidney disease:

1. Blood in urine and Increased urination:

The filtration system in compromised kidneys is impaired, hence the individuals have the urge to urinate frequently.

There can also be the presence of red blood cells as they tend to leak from the damaged filters. It can be an indication of UTI, kidney stones, or enlarged prostate.

2. Swollen Ankles and Feet: 

Impaired kidney function can lead to sodium retention. The swelling in ankles and feet can be due to kidney disease, heart disease, or liver disease.

3. Low Back pain and Muscle Cramping:

Lower back pain is also a signs of kidney disease. As the kidneys are situated to the side of the spine, the pain is also situated there. May spread to the bladder area or genitals.

There will be an imbalance in the important minerals in the body; these minerals are also responsible for muscle contraction and relaxations. An imbalance in the minerals can contribute to muscle cramping.

4. Fatigue and Trouble sleeping:

It can be due to excess build-up of toxic elements in the body or due to anemia. These factors make you feel tired, lethargic and induce fatigue.

The studies support the link between chronic kidney disease and sleep apnea.

5. Puffiness around Eyes:

In kidney disease, there can be leakage of proteins in the urine. The puffiness indicates a large number of proteins are being eliminated.

6. Itchy skin:

It can be an indication of advanced kidney disease. The dry and itchy skin can be due to imbalance in the minerals and lack of nutrients in the blood

7. Decreased appetite and weight loss:

Due to the build-up of toxins, there will be a loss of appetite that results in an intentional weight loss.

ALSO READ: Reduce Creatinine Level Fast and Improve Kidney

What causes kidney problems?

There can be several reasons for kidney disease such as

  • Immune diseases
  • Viral infections
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Inflammation
  • Certain medicines such as NSAIDs and naproxen
  • Direct damage to the kidney
  • Dehydration
  • Muscle breakdown
  • Insufficient supply of blood to the kidneys

ALSO READ: Most common bad habits that damage your kidneys

Foods to Avoid with Kidney Disease:

Foods can play an important role in the worsening of existing symptoms of diseases. Here are some foods that should be avoided in people with kidney problem

1. Avocados:

This fruit is a part of a healthy nutritious diet and is rich in heart-healthy fats, fiber, potassium, and antioxidants. Avocados should be avoided due to high potassium.

2. Whole-wheat bread:

It is rich in phosphorus and potassium, so it is advised to consume white bread. Select the bread with low sodium levels or monitor the quantity of bread you consume.

3. Brown Rice: 

The amount of phosphorus and potassium in brown rice is greater than white rice. Bulgur, buckwheat, pearled barley, and couscous can be a good alternative to brown rice.

4. Banana:

They are rich in potassium and low in sodium and its consumption should be monitored in people with kidney problems. 

5. Processed meats:

These are salted, dried, cured, or canned. They will be rich in salt as a preservative and to improve the taste.

People suffering from kidney disease should be monitored for protein intake and salt content.

6. Pickled foods:

The processed olives, relish, and pickled food that is added during the process of pickling. Each teaspoon of pickled food can contain 125 mg of sodium.

People who have a kidney problem or high blood pressure should avoid eating pickled food.

Various food manufacturing units are introducing a low-sodium variant of pickled food, but still, they will be high in sodium content.

7. Apricots:

One cup of fresh fruit contains 450 mg of potassium approx. In addition to potassium, they are rich in ascorbic acid, fiber, and vitamin A.

The dried apricots have thrice higher amounts of potassium than the fresh ones. When on a renal diet, it is better to avoid the consumption of apricots.

8. Potatoes and Sweet potatoes:

It is another potassium-rich vegetable that is harmful to kidneys. The good news is the potassium levels can be reduced by methods such as “potassium leaching,” or the “double cook method.

Potassium content can be reduced by soaking, baking or boiling. Cut the vegetable into small pieces soak in water for 4 hours or boil for 10 mins, the potassium content is reduced considerably.

9. Tomatoes:

This is a commonly used vegetable that is rich in potassium. It can be consumed raw or stewed and is added to dishes to improve the taste. One cup of sauce can contain up to 1000 mg of potassium.

People with renal problems should look for an alternate option, as increased potassium levels are harmful to the kidneys.

10. Processed or Canned foods:

Packaged and instant foods are rich in sodium and are heavily processed. These foods do not have any nutrient value and are bad for renal health.

11. Spinach and Beet Green:

These vegetables are high in minerals such as potassium. The amount of minerals in the raw spinach or beet green is the same when cooked. These vegetables should be consumed only in moderation.

ALSO READ: List of Foods that Cause Kidney Stones

Do’s and Don’t:


  • Keep yourself hydrated
  • Add foods that are low in sodium and potassium
  • Perform regular exercise
  • Vitamin C supplements can help in maintaining pH
  • Include Mint, ginger, and turmeric in the diet as they are perfect detoxifying agents and reduce infection and inflammation
  • Rinse canned food
  • Read the nutritional information for sodium and potassium


  • Reduce the intake of sugar and salt
  • Avoid processed food
  • Do not consume alcohol
  • Quit smoking
  • Do not drink dark-colored sodas
  • Reduce the intake of dairy products

Kidneys are important for the expulsion of toxic elements and maintaining electrolyte balance in the body. The impaired functioning in the kidneys can be due to damage to the kidneys, infection or existing diseases.

The major symptoms of kidney disease include swollen limbs, puffy eyes, fatigue, weakness, lack of sleep, and loss of appetite.

Foods rich in minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, and sodium should be avoided as it is not healthy for a renal diet. Check the label content for sodium and potassium contents and monitor the proportion of minerals you consume.

So, friends, we hope that after going through the above Signs of Kidney Disease and 11 Foods to Avoid will surely help you. Eat right and stay active for good health!

Dr Maria

MD. Board Certified physician. Fellowship In Family Medicine UK. 8 years of medical experience in Lifestyle-related health disorders. Graduated from AIIMS – All India Institute Of Medical Science, INDIA

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