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The Worst Foods for a Polycystic Kidney Diet

author image Linda Tarr Kent
Linda Tarr Kent is a reporter and editor with more than 20 years experience at Gannett Company Inc., The McClatchy Company, Sound Publishing Inc., Mach Publishing, MomFit The Movement and other companies. Her area of expertise is health and fitness. She is a Bosu fitness and stand-up paddle surfing instructor. Kent holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Washington State University.
The Worst Foods for a Polycystic Kidney Diet
Processed foods like lunch meats are a bad idea if you have polycystic kidney disease. Photo Credit: Igor Sinkov/iStock/Getty Images

If you have polycystic kidney disease, the food you choose to eat may help slow progression of symptoms related to the disease, for which there is no cure. If you have the disease, you develop multiple cysts in your kidneys. These can enlarge your kidneys and replace much of the organ’s regular structure, leading to reduced kidney function and kidney failure. High blood pressure is another typical symptom. Avoid several foods to potentially slow the progression of your symptoms.

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Salty Food

The National Kidney Foundation recommends that you do not add extra salt to your foods and also advises against choosing foods that are high in salt if you have polycystic kidney disease. That makes processed and prepared foods bad choices. Eating a low-salt diet may help slow down or prevent kidney function loss, according to the foundation. It also helps control the high blood pressure associated with the disease.

High-protein Meals

Pass on the protein shakes or other foods that can contribute to excessive protein intake. It is unwise for people who have polycystic kidney disease or advanced kidney disease to consume large amounts of protein, according to the National Kidney Foundation. While avoiding a high-protein diet is helpful, information on just how beneficial a low protein diet might be -- and what your protein intake level should be -- remains to be clearly established.

Caffeine-containing Foods and Drinks

Coffee, tea, colas and other caffeine-containing foods and beverages are poor choices if you have polycystic kidney disease. Caffeine is a risk factor for enlarged cysts, says Franck A. Belibi, lead author for a study published in the "Journal of the American Society of Nephrology." Drinking lots of water, on the other hand, is a good choice, according to the Cleveland Clinic. That’s because dehydration can provokes kidney cyst development.

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