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5 diet tips every kidney transplant patient should follow

Don't know what to eat and what to avoid after kidney transplantation? Here's what experts recommend.

Post kidney transplant, most people have a low immunity due to the powerful medications that are prescribed to avoid rejection of the organ. These medications tend to make the patients more prone to infections and hence, following strict dietary guidelines is necessary to avoid any complication. Also, as most people suffering from kidney failure are diabetic, hypertensive or suffer from heart disease, dietary control is mandatory. Moreover, the use of immunosuppressive drugs can increase your risk of diabetes, hypertension or heart disease. Hence, our expert Dr Vishal Saxena, Senior Consultant, Nephrology & Renal Transplant, Fortis Memorial Research Institute(FMRI), Delhi, explains about the common dietary restrictions of kidney transplant recipients.

#1: Eat a protein rich diet

After a kidney transplant, the body requires more proteins to aid in the healing process and improve immunity. This is the reason, why consuming proteins should not be limited. Also, patients who were previously on dialysis had a lower protein intake, post kidney transplant, the consumption of proteins is recommended to be increased. Here are 6 protein sources for vegetarians.

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#2: Do not eat raw fruits

Intake of raw fruits is not advised as there is a high risk of infection due to raw food. However, you can eat fruits in stewed form as cooking lowers the active bacterial load, thereby lowering your risk of infection.

#3: Include curd in your diet

Curd contains good quality protein, which is required for healing post-transplant, hence, curd should be eaten. As far as sour foods like lime and tamarind are concerned, eating them is also okay. But avoid eating grapes as they are known to interact with immune suppressive drugs and hinder healing of the kidney. Also read about 11 diet do s and don ts for people with kidney problems.

#4: You need not avoid fruits/ vegetables with seeds

Foods with seeds like tomato, brinjal, ladies finger, guava, watermelon, etc are considered harmless and can be taken after transplant, provided other biochemical parameters like electrolytes and cholesterol are within normal range. Also, ensure that the level of potassium in the blood is within control. However, if you are suffering from kidney stones, it is better to avoid these foods.

#5: You might need to take protein supplements

People who undergo kidney transplants are recommended protein supplements during the initial stage, however, it varies from person to person. In most cases, post kidney transplant, patients recover their appetite, hence there s no need for any supplements. However, if the patient feels that his protein intake is not optimal, he can continue taking supplements post-transplant, but only after consulting a nephrologist.

Unlike the common misconception that kidney transplant recipients can eat everything after a transplant, you need to follow a disciplined dietary routine with numerous restrictions, depending upon your overall recovery and health. You can start eating out after three to six months of kidney transplantation, as it is the average time taken for the immuno-suppression to be stable and be at a low level. However, raw food, salads, fruits and foods kept open should be strictly avoided, even in general.

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