While chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects approximately 11% of adult Americans, for older people, the incident rate jumps to nearly 40%. If a senior in your life struggles with CKD, following the doctor’s recommended dietary plan is crucial. The aim is to make sure that levels of electrolytes, minerals, and fluid remain balanced.
The National Kidney Foundation is a great resource, with chapters in the majority of states, providing support and educational material to both patients with CKD and the family members who take care of them. They offer the following nutritional guidelines, outlining foods that promote kidney health (but always check with your loved one’s physician before adjusting his / her diet):
Carbohydrates are a good source of energy for folks who need to follow a low-protein diet, along with providing necessary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. These generally include breads, grains, fruits and vegetables, along with sweets such as cookies/cakes, hard candy, sugar, honey, and jelly (limiting chocolate, bananas, nuts, and dairy).
The physician or dietitian may recommend a low-protein diet, but proteins are still essential, and can be obtained through pork, fish, poultry, eggs, as well as protein powders or egg whites.
The levels of these minerals are checked frequently 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 raising 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 be approved as part of the senior’s dietary plan. Calcium and vitamin D supplements might be necessary to prevent bone disease as well.
Reducing sodium in the diet is a good idea not just for kidney health, but to manage high blood pressure also. To reduce sodium intake, try to find foods labeled “low-sodium,” “no salt added,” “unsalted,” etc., and try to avoid adding salt while cooking or to season food before eating, opting instead for sodium-free seasonings such as herbs or lemon.
Potassium levels should also be watched closely in people diagnosed with CKD. As many vegetables and fruits contain high amounts of potassium, it’s safest to choose those from these options:
- Fruit: grapes, pears, peaches, apples, 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, peppers, yellow squash, lettuce, zucchini, and onions
- AVOID: avocado, asparagus, tomatoes, potatoes, winter squash, pumpkin, and cooked spinach
Low iron and anemia are common in those diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. Foods with high iron content include liver, pork, chicken, beef, kidney and lima beans, and cereals with added iron.
Absolute Companion Care, top-rated senior care providers, can help by shopping for, organizing, and preparing healthy and balanced, nutritious meals according to any prescribed dietary plan, and we’ll even tidy up the kitchen afterwards! We’re also available to provide transportation to physicians’ appointments, pick up prescriptions, and provide friendly companionship to help make life with CKD easier. Contact us online or give us a call at 410-357-9640 to find out more about our Sparks senior care team and the surrounding communities we serve.