Kidney Diet Tips

Blueberries—the kidney-friendly memory fruit

I love frozen blueberries.  I usually fill a small bowl and eat them as they thaw while working at my computer.  My friend loves dried wild blueberries because they’re packed full of flavor—and because there’s over 6 grams of fiber per serving.  That’s great news for anyone following a low potassium kidney diet—so many high fiber foods end up on the limit list due to higher potassium or phosphorus content.  An added plus is there’s only 112 mg of potassium in a cup of fresh or frozen blueberries; phosphorus and sodium are low too.

istock_000006859136blueberriesYou can buy frozen or dried blueberries anytime. Fresh blueberries are best and cheapest around July and August in the US and Canada.  Stock up on fresh berries when you find a deal.  Last summer I was at the Farmer’s market near closing time.  A vendor was selling the last or his blueberries for $5 a case.  I brought several cases home, washed and dried the blueberries and froze in freezer bags. Whenever I wandered into the kitchen for a snack I grabbed a cup of blueberries–sometimes with whipped cream and fresh mint leaves, but mostly just straight from the freezer.
Look for blueberries to show up in an increasing number of food products over the next few years.  Food manufacturers are always looking for ways to optimize their sales.  With blueberries, they’re banking on results from several recent studies.  One study on people reveals that this tiny blue fruit improves nerve cell signals in the brain, therefore improving short and long term memory.  The magic ingredients are powerful antioxidants that help prevent oxidative stress and inflammation, which occurs naturally as we age.  Several blueberry studies show that rats fed blueberry extract had better cognitive skills, balance and coordination.  I hope to keep all three as I age!  Another study linked blueberries to satiety and less weight gain, and still another study from the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center found that the phytochemicals in blueberries may help reduce abdominal fat and decrease risk for heart disease and diabetes.

More information:  blueberries
DaVita.com blueberry recipes
Blueberry Dream Muffins
Blueberry Icebox Cake
Blueberry Peach Crisp
Red, White and Blue Pie

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Sara Colman, RD, CDE

Sara Colman, RD, CDE

Sara is a renal dietitian with over 20 years experience working with people with diabetes and kidney disease. She is co-author of the popular kidney cookbook "Cooking for David: A Culinary Dialysis Cookbook". Sara is currently the Manager of Kidney Care Nutrition for DaVita. She analyzes recipes and creates content, resources and tools for the kidney community. In her spare time Sara loves to spend time with her young grandson, including fun times together in her kitchen.