What and What Not to Eat After KTP
Good nutrition and a balanced diet go a long way in disease prevention and betterment of life in general. It is beneficial for humans to adhere to a well-defined diet plan with a well-rounded intake of carbs, proteins, healthy fats, minerals and fibres. Wholesome nutrition plays a pivotal role in recovering from kidney transplantation. After any surgery, sufficient calories and protein are required for proper healing. Also, possible side effects of anti-rejection medications (these lower the body’s ability to fight infection) can increase nutrient requirements. Due to these exceptional concerns, you might have to change your diet for a stipulated time period after transplant. However, dietary therapy is always adjusted by the transplant team to meet your specific needs and tolerances, factoring allergies etc.
Medical consultation is a must as every case is specific and your Nephrologist and the nutritionist are best placed to chart out a diet plan according to your needs.
First and foremost, you must always know what to eat after kidney transplant and consume clean, well washed food as this avoids bacterial infections (to which your body is susceptible during recovery), avoid eating out in general and if you do, make sure you’re consuming hygienic food.
This is a general guideline to what and what not to eat post kidney transplant which can surely help speed up your recovery process and to help taking care of yourself post-transplant.
1. Sugars - Certain medication reduces the body's ability to use its blood sugar for energy, causing increased blood sugar (glucose). This condition is called hyperglycaemia or steroid-induced diabetes. Avoiding concentrated carbohydrates helps decrease the side effects of steroids. Processed sugar, candy, aerated drinks, canned juice, junk food, frozen fruit with added sugar, ice cream, honey etc. should be off the menu, as they contain simple sugars.
2. Protein – During the first month post-transplant the protein requirements of the body are paramount to recovery. You also need added protein to help overcome muscle breakdown caused by high doses of prednisone. In order to meet your protein needs, the following are recommended, well cooked fish (ensure it’s safe and formalin free) and lean meat, egg whites, dairy (mild cheese, dahi, yogurt). Vegetarian sources of protein include dried beans, peanuts, tofu, cottage cheese, peas and peanut butter.
3. Salt – Prednisone increases sodium and water retention and in turn your blood pressure. Sodium needs to be restricted in your diet. A "no added salt" diet is to be followed. Salt contains sodium, so it is best to limit salt while cooking and avoiding salt at the table. High sodium foods such as packed soup (unless they are “low sodium”), processed and preserved meat such as sausages, salamis, bacon, which are canned or packed are to be most definitely avoided. Canned foods, salad dressings, sauces are to be avoided as they are sky high in sodium. The highest content of sodium though is found in junk food and this entails all sorts of junk food and it must be avoided at all cost.
4.Potassium - Drugs such as Cyclosporine or Prograf may increase the potassium level in your blood. Other drugs such as Lasix can decrease your potassium level. When potassium is too high or too low, problems with muscle and heart function can develop. Accordingly, one can take or omit potassium laden food. This includes oranges, tomatoes, melons, bananas, oranges, leafy greens, potatoes, split peas, pumpkins, lentils, milk products and even chocolates!
Children who undergo Kidney transplant should be encouraged to have all round meals without much restriction (unless there is an exceptional case) so as to promote their bodily growth in a wholesome way. Post-transplant, patients develop nutrition-related problems in the months and years following transplant. The most common are excessive weight gain and high blood cholesterol that are usually caused by steroids and other medications. The best way forward includes weight control by following a "heart healthy" diet and exercising.
Always read food labels behind packaging in order to be fully aware of what comprises the food you’ll consume. Choose smaller portions rather than large meals as it improves metabolism. Just because some food is “low fat” doesn’t mean you won’t gain weight if you consume large portions. Reduce the amount of oil; choose grilled food over fried and even bake with considerably less oil. These changes can and should ideally be adopted into daily life even if one is not recovering from a procedure as it will go a long way in avoiding such events. This once again brings us to what Erasmus said “Prevention is better than cure.”