Foods That Promote Healthy Kidneys

While chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects roughly 11% of adult Americans, for older adults, the incidence rate jumps to nearly 40%. If a family member in your life struggles with CKD, following the doctor’s recommended dietary plan is critical. The aim is to make sure levels of fluid, minerals, and electrolytes remain balanced.

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


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


The physician or dietitian may recommend a low-protein diet, but proteins will still be necessary, and may be obtained through pork, fish, poultry, and eggs, as well as protein powders or egg whites.


The levels of these minerals are checked frequently in those with chronic kidney disease. Phosphorous levels in particular that are too high can cause the body to utilize calcium from the bones, reducing their strength and increasing the possibility for a break. It’s recommended to avoid high-phosphorous foods, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese, but butter, margarine, heavy cream, 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 be necessary to prevent bone disease as well.


Reducing sodium in the diet is helpful not only for kidney health, but to regulate hypertension too. To reduce sodium intake, look for 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 should also be watched closely in individuals with CKD. As many fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of potassium, it’s 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, 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 seniors with chronic kidney disease. Foods with high iron content include beef, pork, chicken, liver, kidney and lima beans, and cereals with added iron.

At-Home Care Company, the top-rated senior helpers in Urbandale, Iowa and surrounding areas, can help by shopping for, planning, and preparing healthy and balanced, nutritious meals relating to any prescribed dietary plan. We’re also here to provide transportation to doctors’ appointments, pick up prescriptions, and offer cheerful companionship to make life with CKD easier. Contact us online or give us a call at (515) 292-2650 to find out more about our senior helpers in Urbandale, Iowa and the surrounding communities.