Foods for Kidney Health

While chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects roughly 11% of adult Americans, for the elderly, the frequency rate jumps to nearly 40%. If an older adult in your life struggles with CKD, following the doctor’s suggested dietary plan is extremely important. The goal is to ensure that levels of electrolytes, minerals, and fluid remain balanced.

The National Kidney Foundation is a great resource, with chapters in most states, providing support and educational material to both patients with CKD and the loved ones who take care of them. They offer the following recommendations for a diet rich in foods for kidney health (but always check with your loved one’s physician before adjusting his or her diet):

Carbs:

Carbohydrates are a good energy source for folks who need to follow a low-protein diet, as well as providing necessary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. These include breads, grains, vegetables and fruit, as well as sweets such as cookies/cakes, hard candy, sugar, honey, and jelly (limiting chocolate, bananas, nuts, and dairy).

Proteins:

The doctor or dietitian may suggest a low-protein diet, but proteins will still be necessary, and can be acquired through fish, poultry, eggs, pork, and even protein powders or egg whites.

Calcium/Phosphorous:

The levels of these minerals are checked regularly in people diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. Phosphorous levels in particular that are too high can cause the body to use calcium from the bones, reducing their strength and increasing the possibility for a break. It’s recommended to avoid high-phosphorous foods, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese, but heavy cream, margarine, butter, ricotta, and brie cheese contain lower levels and may also be approved as part of the older adult’s dietary plan. Calcium and vitamin D supplements might be necessary to prevent bone disease as well.

Sodium:

Reducing sodium in the diet is a good idea not just for kidney health, but to control high blood pressure too. To help reduce sodium intake, try to find foods labeled “low-sodium,” “no salt added,” “unsalted,” etc., and refrain from adding salt while cooking or season food before eating, choosing instead for sodium-free seasonings such as herbs or lemon.

Potassium:

Potassium levels also need to be watched closely in those with CKD. As many fruits and vegetables contain high levels of potassium, it is safest to select from these options:

  • Fruit: grapes, pears, peaches, apples, pineapple, tangerines, watermelon, berries, plums
    • AVOID: dried fruits, oranges, nectarines, bananas, prunes, honeydew, kiwis, cantaloupe, nectarines
  • Vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, celery, eggplant, green beans, zucchini, yellow squash, lettuce, peppers, and onions
    • AVOID: avocado, asparagus, tomatoes, potatoes, winter squash, pumpkin, and cooked spinach

Iron:

Low iron and anemia are typical in those diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. Foods with high iron content include liver, pork, chicken, beef, lima and kidney beans, and cereals with added iron.

Anthem Home Care, the top-rated provider of home health services in Corpus Christi, TX, can help by shopping for, planning, and preparing healthy and balanced, nutritious meals according to any prescribed dietary plan, and we will even clean up the kitchen afterwards! We are also here to provide transportation to doctors’ appointments, pick up prescriptions, and offer cheerful companionship which will make life with CKD easier. Contact us at 361-643-2323 for additional information about our professional home health services in Corpus Christi, TX and the surrounding areas.