While chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects roughly 11% of adult Americans, for the elderly, the incidence rate jumps to nearly 40%. If a senior in your life struggles with CKD, following the doctor’s suggested dietary plan is vital. The goal is to make certain that amounts of fluid, minerals, and electrolytes remain balanced.
The National Kidney Foundation is a wonderful resource, with chapters in the majority of states, providing educational material and support to patients with CKD as well as the loved ones who care for them. They offer the following nutritional guidelines, outlining a healthy diet plan for kidney disease (but always check with your loved one’s doctor before modifying his / her diet):
Carbohydrates are a good source of energy for people who need to follow a low-protein diet, as well as providing necessary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. These include breads, grains, fruits & vegetables, along with sweets such as cookies/cakes, honey, sugar, hard candy, and jelly (limiting chocolate, bananas, nuts, and dairy).
The doctor or dietitian may recommend a low-protein diet, but proteins are nevertheless necessary, and can be obtained through pork, fish, poultry, eggs, and even egg whites or protein powders.
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 utilize calcium from the bones, decreasing their strength and raising the possibility for a break. It is advised 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 be approved as part of the older adult’s dietary plan. Calcium and vitamin D supplements might also be required to prevent bone disease.
Reducing sodium in the diet is a good idea not just for kidney health, but to control hypertension also. To minimize sodium intake, try to find foods labeled “low-sodium,” “no salt added,” “unsalted,” etc., and avoid adding salt while cooking or season food before eating, choosing sodium-free seasonings such as herbs or lemon.
Potassium levels must also be supervised closely in those with CKD. As many vegetables and fruit contain high degrees of potassium, it is safest to select those from these options:
- Fruit: apples, peaches, pears, grapes, pineapple, tangerines, watermelon, berries, plums
- AVOID: dried fruits, oranges, nectarines, kiwis, bananas, honeydew, prunes, cantaloupe, nectarines
- Vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, celery, eggplant, green beans, peppers, yellow squash, lettuce, zucchini, and onions
- AVOID: avocado, asparagus, potatoes, winter squash, tomatoes, pumpkin, and cooked spinach
Low iron and anemia are common in those diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. Foods with high iron content include beef, pork, chicken, liver, kidney and lima beans, and cereals with added iron.
Live Free Home Health Care, providers of senior care services in Concord and the surrounding areas, can help by shopping for, planning, and preparing healthy, nutritious meals in accordance with any prescribed dietary plan, and we will even clean up the kitchen afterwards! We are also here to provide transportation to physicians’ appointments, pick up prescriptions, and provide friendly companionship to help make life with CKD easier. Email or call us at 847-787-7572 to find out more about our exceptional senior care services in Concord or the surrounding cities in New Hampshire. To learn about all of the communities we serve, please visit our Locations Served page.