Following a Kidney-Healthy Diet
Many older adults experience kidney trouble at some point in their life. When this happens, it is important to watch what you eat and adjust to protect kidney health.
As we age, our kidneys tend to perform less effectively, resulting in a greater risk of kidney problems and kidney failure. A kidney friendly diet can help.
The kidney organs main function is to filter our blood causing the wastes and extra fluid to form urine. Other functions include hormone production and body fluid regulation. Since kidneys serve as filters, what we eat affects their function. A kidney-healthy diet can reduce strain on the kidney and improve health.
Dietary Tips for Kidney Health
Generally, protecting the kidneys or reducing strain on them involves limiting the intake of sodium, potassium, and phosphorus. Limiting these nutrients is commonly referred to as “the renal diet.”
These tips can help seniors follow “the renal diet”
- Never add salt to food
- Only consume reduced-sodium soups or broths
- Avoid pre-packaged frozen meals
- Don’t eat food with 300mg or more sodium per serving
- Check labels to be sure no salt is added
- Avoid foods preserved in a “solution”
- Avoid bananas and melons
- Do not drink grapefruit, orange, or prune juice
- Limit tomato based foods like pasta sauce
- Never eat dried beans
- Don’t eat cooked green, spinach, collards, or swiss chard
- Always wash and peel potatoes
- Reduce Diary intake to 1 cup per day
- Limit broccoli, mushrooms, and brussels sprouts to 1 cup per week
- Cereals like bran or oatmeal should be eaten no more than once a week
- Do not drink soft drinks or beer
- Choose white bread over whole grains
Since protein should be limited if the kidneys are having trouble with filtration, the consumption of foods like meat and nuts should be reduced as well.
Kidney-Friendly Food (What you can eat!)
Given the many limitations a renal diet requires, many seniors are at a loss about what they can eat. These foods are generally safe for older adults with kidney problems:
- Vegetables like bell peppers, cauliflower, cabbage, radishes, and turnips.
- Seafoods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids (like salmon)
- Low-potassium fruits like blueberries, red grapes, cranberries, and pineapples
- Easy to digest proteins like egg whites or skinless chicken
- Unsalted seasonings like garlic and onion
- Light grains like bulgur and buckwheat
TIP: Many seniors grow discouraged by restrictive diets like the renal diet. One way to encourage them is to make their favorite meals or treats using kidney-friendly alternative ingredients.