Are Bananas Bad for Kidneys? (2 Banana Medical Facts)

If you are suffering from renal issues, perhaps the question has crossed your mind, are bananas bad for kidneys?

If so, what element of a banana could be responsible for further ill health?

If your kidneys are not at full function, then obviously, you don’t want to exacerbate any problems.

Good nutrition is one factor in treating renal diseases.

Perhaps the opposite is true, and bananas are good for your kidneys.

Let’s take a look at this important subject.

Are Bananas Bad for Kidneys?

For a person in full health, bananas will not cause any kidney problems. However, for those with damaged kidneys, bananas should be avoided. Kidney disease typically allows potassium to build up in the bloodstream and this can lead to heart problems. Bananas contain a higher percentage of potassium than other fruit, and one portion may be as high as 400mg, accounting for 12 percent of a person’s daily intake of this mineral. Damaged kidneys will struggle to remove any excess potassium from the body. Therefore, bananas are bad for kidneys and should be substituted with other fruit such as pineapple.   

Why is Potassium Bad for Kidneys?

Although bananas cannot cause renal disease, they can be harmful to a person who already has damaged kidneys.

Your kidneys have multiple functions including the filtering of blood, producing hormones, and balancing minerals.

One mineral that has to be kept in check is potassium, as an excess can lead to heart problems.

Symptoms of too much potassium include irregular heartbeat and painful muscle cramps.

Damaged kidneys struggle to remove potassium, as well as sodium and phosphorus.

And as bananas contain a higher level of potassium than other fruit, your favorite snack will have to be avoided.

In fact, an average banana contains as much as 400mg of potassium, which can equate to 12 percent of the daily recommended intake.

For those on dialysis, even greater care needs to be taken with diet.

Unfortunately, some medication used in the treatment of kidney disease actually raises potassium levels, thus making it even more important to avoid bananas.

So, if you enjoy tropical fruit, then you may wish to try pineapple instead.

Pineapples are not bad for kidneys as they contain very little potassium.

Other Side Effects of Eating Bananas

Despite being thought of as a healthy, nutritious fruit, bananas can have some worrying side effects.

The first one to be aware of is that bananas can cause migraines.

Anybody who suffers from this painful, debilitating condition will know that some foods can trigger migraines.

As regards bananas, they contain an amino acid called tyramine which can cause severe headaches.

Tyramine is responsible for regulating blood pressure.

Having higher levels of tyramine in the body can cause changes in the brain, which in turn leads to headaches.

Many people are actually allergic to bananas.

There are a variety of allergic reactions that can occur after eating bananas.

These include having an itchy throat or mouth, red eyes, runny nose, swelling of the skin, or an itchy rash.

The symptoms would occur within just a few seconds of eating even a small piece of banana.

At its worst, a severe allergy to bananas could result in anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal.

One particular reaction to bananas, although thankfully rare, is the possibility of nerve damage.

And realistically, you would have to eat a huge amount of bananas, over 40 in one day for this to happen!

Known as hyperkalemia, damage to the nervous system is due to excessive vitamin B6 in the body.

This can result in damaged nerves in the arms and legs.

Foods That Are Bad For Kidneys

Final Thoughts

If a person already has damaged kidneys, eating bananas can make the problem worse.

Bananas contain potassium and those with renal disease cannot filter out this mineral.

Any excess potassium can cause heart problems.

Bananas can have other side effects such as migraines, allergic reactions, or nerve damage.

Please consult a medical professional if you have any concerns about the effect of bananas on your health.

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