In honor of National Kidney Month, family caregivers in Prescott should pay special attention to what their senior loved ones eat in the event those foods are unhealthy for the kidneys. Here is a list of a few to watch for, brought to you by the senior care experts at Home Care Assistance.
Many people believe they are doing themselves a favor by using artificial sweeteners instead of sugar to save on calories. In reality, the synthetic chemicals in these sweeteners are toxic, acidifying, and put a strain on the kidneys. Studies show drinking as little as two diet sodas with artificial sweeteners a day can lead to a decrease in renal function and can increase the risk of chronic kidney disease. Encourage your loved one to switch to plant-based sweeteners like stevia instead of sugar substitutes containing aspartame or saccharine.
The kidneys are responsible for maintaining the body’s balance of electrolytes, including sodium and potassium. If your loved one eats a diet high in salt, his or her kidneys have to work overtime to correct the sodium balance in the blood. The body holds on to extra water to maintain the intercellular fluid balance. This creates extra blood volume, which puts additional strain on the renal and cardiovascular systems.
Dairy products cause the body to excrete excess calcium through the urine, which increases your loved one’s risk of developing kidney stones. Unsweetened almond milk is a good dairy alternative and can be used in many recipes the same way as dairy-based milk.
Caffeinated beverages can increase mental alertness and energy levels when used in moderation. However, in excess amounts they can damage the kidneys. As a stimulant, caffeine increases blood flow and blood pressure, which puts additional strain on the kidneys. It also increases calcium excretion, which can lead to the formation of kidney stones.
When your loved one eats meat, his or her kidneys have the burden of removing the waste and byproducts from the animal protein. One byproduct is uric acid, which is a common cause of kidney stones. The metabolism of animal protein also causes the body to become more acidic. To compensate, the body pulls calcium and various mineral salts from the bones to make the body more alkaline, which can also lead to the development of kidney stones.
Promoting your loved one’s health doesn’t end with the kidneys. The right dietary choices can have a significant impact on various aspects of your loved one’s health. If your loved one needs help with grocery shopping and meal preparation, the caregivers at Home Care Assistance can help with those and many other important tasks. For more information on home care Prescott seniors and their families can rely on, call one of our friendly Care Managers at (928) 771-0105.