Foods to Avoid When Creatinine Is High

sea salt in wooden spoon
Sea salt in a wooden spoon. (Image: Diana Taliun/iStock/Getty Images)

Creatinine levels indicate how well your kidneys are working. A waste product of creatine, a chemical your muscles use for energy, creatinine is cleared out of your blood solely by your kidneys. High blood levels may mean your kidneys aren't working well. Foods to avoid with a high creatinine level are those that may further tax the kidneys and include foods high in sodium, potassium and phosphorus and too much protein. Consult your doctor before making changes to your diet.

Salt and Salty Foods

Salt and foods high in sodium cause your body to retain fluids, which raises blood pressure and may cause further damage to your kidneys. If your creatinine levels are high, you need to stop adding salt to your food when cooking and at the table. You can also reduce sodium intake by avoiding processed meats such as deli meats, bacon, sausage and ham. Canned soups, frozen dinners, pickles and olives are also high in sodium and should be avoided.

Large Portions of Protein

Getting too much protein in your diet also makes your kidneys work harder. Protein is found in a variety of different types of food including meat, poultry, seafood, beans, milk, grains and vegetables. You do not need to avoid all of these foods, but you may need to avoid eating large quantities if your creatinine is high. Your doctor or dietitian can help you determine your protein needs. In general, when your kidneys aren't functioning well, protein is limited to 0.36 gram per pound of body weight, or 54 grams for a 150-pound person. When you need to limit protein intake, most should come from high-biological-value proteins, which provide all of the essential amino acids, such as meat, poultry, milk or soy foods.

Foods High in Potassium

If your creatinine levels are high, your kidneys may have a hard time eliminating potassium from your blood. Potassium is an essential mineral necessary for your muscles to work properly, but high blood levels of potassium are dangerous and can lead to an irregular heartbeat or muscle weakness. If your potassium levels are high, you may need to avoid foods high in potassium such as avocados, bananas, oranges, prunes, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, beans and brown rice.

Foods High in Phosphorus

Your kidneys are also responsible for eliminating phosphorus from your blood, a process that may be difficult when the kidneys are not functioning properly. High levels of phosphorus cause your bones to leach calcium, which may weaken them. You may need to avoid, or limit, high-phosphorus foods from your diet if creatinine levels are high due to poor-functioning kidneys. Your doctor or dietitian should determine the degree of restriction. Foods high in phosphorus that you may need to avoid include whole-grain bread, bran cereal, oatmeal, nuts, sunflower seeds and colas.

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