Foods for Healthy Kidney Function

While chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects roughly 11% of adult Americans, for the elderly, the frequency rate jumps to nearly 40%. If an older adult in your life struggles with CKD, following the physician’s recommended dietary plan is crucial. The goal is to make certain that levels of electrolytes, minerals, and fluid remain balanced.

The National Kidney Foundation is a wonderful resource, with chapters in nearly all states, providing support and educational material to both patients with CKD as well as the loved ones who care for them. They offer the following nutritional guidelines for a diet rich in foods for healthy kidney function (but always check with your loved one’s health care provider before changing his or her diet):


Carbohydrates are a good energy source for those who have to follow a low-protein diet, along with providing necessary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. These generally include breads, grains, vegetables and fruits, in addition to sweets such as cookies/cakes, hard candy, sugar, honey, and jelly (limiting nuts, chocolate, bananas, and dairy).


The doctor or dietitian may recommend a low-protein diet, but proteins are nevertheless necessary, and may be acquired through pork, fish, poultry, eggs, or even protein powders or egg whites.


The levels of these minerals are checked regularly in individuals with chronic kidney disease. Phosphorous levels in particular that are too high may cause the body to use calcium from the bones, decreasing their strength and raising the possibility for a break. It’s recommended to avoid high-phosphorous foods, such as yogurt, milk, and cheese, but heavy cream, margarine, butter, 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 regulate hypertension too. 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 season food before eating, choosing instead for sodium-free seasonings such as herbs or lemon.


Potassium levels must also be supervised closely in people diagnosed with CKD. As many fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of potassium, it is safest to select 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, zucchini, yellow squash, lettuce, peppers, and onions
    • AVOID: avocado, asparagus, potatoes, winter squash, tomatoes, pumpkin, and cooked spinach


Low iron and anemia are typical in seniors with chronic kidney disease. Foods with high iron content include beef, pork, chicken, liver, kidney and lima beans, and cereals with added iron.

Compassionate Nursing Services can assist by shopping for, planning, and preparing healthy, nutritious meals according to any prescribed dietary plan, and we’ll even clean up your kitchen afterwards! We are also here to provide transportation to physicians’ appointments, pick up prescriptions, and provide pleasant companionship which will make life with CKD easier. Contact us online or give us a call at 314-432-4312 to learn more about our top-rated Chesterfield caregiving services. Visit our Service Area page to see all of the communities we serve.