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How to Follow a Kidney-Healthy Diet

Many seniors experience kidney trouble at one time or another. Over time, the kidneys tend to perform less effectively. As a result, seniors are at higher risk of kidney problems and kidney failure. A diet that protects kidney health can help.

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:

Reducing Sodium

  • Never add salt to food
  • Only consume reduced-sodium soups or broths
  • Avoid frozen meals
  • Don’t eat foods with 300mg or more sodium per serving
  • Check labels to be sure no salt is added
  • Do not buy foods preserved in a “solution.”


Reducing Potassium

  • Avoid melons and bananas
  • Do not drink orange, prune, or grapefruit juice
  • Limit tomato-based foods like pasta sauce
  • Never eat dried beans
  • Don’t eat cooked greens, spinach, collards, or swiss chard
  • Always wash and peel potatoes


Reducing Phosphorus

  • Reduce dairy 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 also be limited if the kidneys are having trouble with filtration, the consumption of foods like meat and nuts should be reduced too.

(Cleveland Clinic)

Kidney-Friendly Foods

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 seniors with kidney problems to consume:

  • Veggies like bell peppers, cauliflower, cabbage, radishes, and turnips
  • Seafood rich in Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Low-potassium fruits like blueberries, red grapes, cranberries, and pineapples
  • Easier-to-digest proteins like egg whites or skinless chicken
  • Unsalted seasonings like garlic and onion
  • Light grains like bulgur and buckwheat


Caring for the caregiver, in home careHome Care 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.

Contact Caregivers by Whole Care for more great tips. We are happy to help in any way we can.

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