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Diet For Seniors With Kidney Health Problems

meal in a deep dish

If an individual has a chronic kidney disease, it’s important to understand the importance of kidney healthy diet to reduce strain on the kidneys. In such situation, kidneys are not able to remove waste products from the body like they should.

Another reason is that as we age, kidneys become less effective in removing waste products from our bodies. As a result seniors are at a greater risk of developing chronic kidney diseases or kidney failure.

To protect the kidneys or reducing strain on them, healthy kidney diet limits intake of sodium, potassium and phosphorous. This diet is commonly referred to as “The renal diet”. It limits the buildup of certain minerals in the body.

Reduce Sodium

This mineral (also known as salt) is naturally found in many foods. If an individual has healthy kidneys, it keeps sodium level in check. However in the case of chronic kidney diseases, minerals start to build up and can cause other health problems such as high blood pressure, swollen ankles and fluid buildup around heart and lungs.

How to reduce sodium in the diet?

1. Do not eat frozen foods.

2. Also stay away from food which has been preserved in a solution.

3. Don’t add salt in cooked meals.

4. Check labels to make sure no salt has been added.

5. Add new spices in place of salt.

6. Prefer home cooked meals and avoid fast food since they are high in salt.

7. When using canned vegetables, rinse them thoroughly before adding them to food.

Reduce Potassium and Phosphorous

The mineral Potassium found in various foods helps with muscle movement and keeps the nervous system healthy. Damaged kidneys are not able to regulate it’s levels and hence causes a buildup of the mineral. Foods such as avocado, spinach, dried apricots, wild-caught salmon, pomegranate, banana, white beans, acorn squash, coconut water and sweet potato are high in potassium.

Phosphorous is another mineral that is found in various foods and is responsible for strong and healthy bones and teeth. It also helps in converting food into energy and metabolism. Healthy kidneys release extra phosphorous into urine but kidney disease prevents them from doing so. Milk and dairy products, processed cheeses, whole grains, processed meats, nuts and seeds, chocolate, soda or flavored water.

How to reduce sodium and phosphorous in the diet?

1. Discard liquids from canned fruits and vegetables.

2. Limit foods that are high in potassium and phosphorous.

3. Avoid melons and bananas.

4. Reduce intake of tomato based foods such as pasta.

5. Wash and peel potatoes

6. Do not drink orange, grapefruit or prune juice.

7. Don’t eat cooked greens, collards, spinach or swiss chard.

8. Limit foods with dairy products and replace them with non-dairy substitutes.

9. Don’t drink soda or beer.

10. Read labels on packaged foods and avoid potassium chloride.

11. Eat apples, berries or grapes.

Also check for additives and avoid any ingredient with “phos” in it.

  • Calcium phosphate
  • Disodium phosphate
  • Phosphoric acid
  • Monopotassium phosphate
  • Sodium acid pyrophosphate
  • Sodium tripolyphosphate

Talk to a renal dietitian to create a diet plan for you or your loved one. It will also contain the quantity in which the foods should be eaten.

More information about eating healthy with kidney disease can be found here.