Kidneys play a very important role in your body — they are in charge of removing waste through urine, producing hormones, and filtering out toxins and extra fluid in your blood. That’s why you should take good care of your kidneys and try to keep them healthy. Sadly, some foods can harm them and affect their normal functioning if eaten in excess.

Bright Side made a list of 7 of the most popular foods that can seriously damage your kidneys.

1. Avocados

Although avocados are popular and praised for their various nutritious qualities, eating too many of them might be dangerous for your kidneys, especially if you already have a kidney disease. And the reason is that this fruit has a very high level of potassium.

Our bodies need this mineral, but too much potassium in the blood can cause serious problems like muscle cramping and an irregular heartbeat.

2. Meat

Eating too much meat may cause kidney problems because animal proteins can be very hard to metabolize, making the elimination of waste products a burden for the kidneys. A diet rich in animal proteins could also lead to developing kidney stones. Meat stimulates the production of uric acid, which is one of the common causes of kidney stones.

You could eat more vegetables and nuts instead and you’ll still get the proteins your body needs.

3. Salt

A healthy diet should include a maximum of 2300 mg of sodium per day (about a teaspoon of salt). If you eat too much salt, your kidneys have to work harder in order to eliminate the excess of sodium, so they might start retaining water which could lead to high blood pressure.

To keep your kidneys healthy, you could add spices and herbs to your foods instead of abusing the salt shaker. You could also reduce the consumption of processed and packaged foods, like canned soups or vegetables, frozen pizza, and salad dressings, as they usually contain lots of salt.

4. Bananas

If you suspect you have kidney problems, good nutrition and a proper diet are essential to staying healthy. And this means limiting the consumption of some foods like bananas, because they have a very high level of potassium, which could be harmful for those whose kidneys don’t function properly.

A healthy adult should have an intake of 3,500–4,700 mg of potassium daily from foods and an average banana (150 g) already contains 537 mg. But if you suffer from a kidney disease, the potassium intake should be lower since your body can’t manage to filter out the excess, which could lead to serious health issues.

5. Dairy

Although dairy products are rich in vitamins and nutrients, too much milk, yogurt, and cheese might cause more harm than good. And this could happen because of the high amount of phosphorus contained in these foods that might put stress on your kidneys.

Moreover, if your kidneys are not fully functional, they won’t be able to remove the extra phosphorus from your blood and this could lead to thin and weak bones over time and an increased risk of fractures.

6. Whole-wheat bread

Whole wheat bread is healthy and nutritious but when eaten in large quantities, especially by individuals with renal problems, it might cause serious harm to the kidneys. This is due to the high amounts of phosphorus and potassium contained in this type of bread.

One slice of whole-grain bread contains 81 mg of potassium and 57 mg of phosphorus, compared to one slice of white bread, which has only 37 mg of potassium and 35 mg of phosphorus.

7. Oranges and orange juice

While oranges and orange juice are low in calories and rich in vitamin C, they also contain high levels of potassium. One medium orange provides 240 mg of potassium and one cup of orange juice can contain about 470 mg.

Given these numbers, the consumption of oranges and orange juice should be limited, especially when you don’t have fully functional kidneys. If they can’t eliminate the excess potassium from the blood, this could be very dangerous for your body.

Do you eat any of these foods in large quantities? Would it be hard for you to limit your consumption? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!