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 recommended dietary plan with foods that support kidney health is extremely important. The aim is to ensure that levels of electrolytes, minerals, and fluid remain balanced.
The National Kidney Foundation is a good resource, with chapters in most states, providing educational material and support to patients with CKD as well as the family members who care for them. They offer the following nutritional guidelines, outlining foods that support kidney health (but always check with your loved one’s health care provider before modifying his / her diet):
Carbohydrates are a good energy source for people who have 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, honey, sugar, hard candy, and jelly (limiting chocolate, bananas, nuts, and dairy).
The physician or dietitian may recommend a low-protein diet, but proteins will still be essential, and may be obtained through fish, poultry, eggs, pork, or even protein powders or egg whites.
The levels of these minerals are checked regularly in those with chronic kidney disease. Phosphorous levels in particular that are too high may 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 yogurt, milk, and cheese, but butter, margarine, heavy cream, 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 required to prevent bone disease as well.
Reducing sodium in the diet is helpful not simply for kidney health, but to control high blood pressure, too. To minimize sodium intake, look for foods labeled “low-sodium,” “no salt added,” “unsalted,” etc., and try to avoid adding salt while cooking or to season food prior to eating, opting instead for sodium-free seasonings such as herbs or lemon.
Potassium levels should also be watched closely in those with CKD. As many fruits and vegetables contain high degrees of potassium, it’s safest to choose those from these options:
- Fruit: apples, peaches, pears, grapes, pineapple, tangerines, watermelon, berries, plums
- AVOID: nectarines, oranges, dried fruits, 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
Low iron and anemia are common in seniors with chronic kidney disease. Foods with high iron content include beef, pork, chicken, liver, kidney and lima beans, and cereals with added iron.
Abby Senior Care, providers of senior in home care in Denver and surrounding areas, can assist by shopping for, planning, and preparing healthy and balanced, nutritious meals in accordance with any prescribed dietary plan, and we’ll even tidy up the kitchen afterwards! Our compassionate care team is also available to provide transportation to doctors’ appointments, pick up prescriptions, and provide friendly companionship in order to make life with CKD easier. Email or call us at 303-699-8840 to learn more about the senior in home care Denver and surrounding areas trust most!