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Healthy Eating following a Kidney Transplant
One of the benefits of a successful kidney transplant is that you can enjoy a more varied diet. Usually your potassium restriction is lifted enabling you to eat foods you may previously have limited e.g. chocolate, crisps and certain fruits and vegetables. However it is a common problem for post transplant patients to rapidly gain weight. For most patients some weight gain will do no harm but it is sensible to check your weight regularly. Weight gain is the results of steroids, an improvement in appetite and the lifting of dietary restrictions. A healthy diet which is low in fat and sugar and high in fibre will help you to prevent excessive weight gain as well as help keep you fit and healthy.
A healthy diet is recommended for everybody unless following dietary restrictions. General healthy eating tips:
  • Aim for regular meals containing starchy foods e.g. rice, potatoes, pasta, bread, cereals. Try high fibre varieties for slow release energy and digestive health.
  • Cut down on all fats especially saturated fats e.g. butter, lard and cream. Use vegetable oils instead.
  • Try grilling, steaming and baking your food rather than frying to cut down your fat and therefore help control your weight.
  • Eat lots of fruit and vegetables & aim for at least 5 portions daily. If you are now no longer following a potassium restriction you can enjoy a wide variety of these, including bananas!!
  • Eat more oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. These contain an oil called omega 3 which has been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease. Aim to have at least 2 portions of fish weekly with 1 portion being of oily fish.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol excessively. A small amount is ok but alcohol is high in calories and can damage your liver and increase blood pressure. Limit yourselves to 1-2 units daily for women and 2-3 units for men.
  • Cut down on sugar. Foods such as sweets, cakes, biscuits, fizzy pop and chocolate are high in sugar so reducing these could help you to reduce your weight.
  • Exercise regularly to help maintain an ideal body weight.

The above tips have been taken from the 'Diet after Kidney Transplant' information leaflet produced by Winnie Chan, Dietitian at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. If you would like further information please don't hesitate to contact the Nutrition and Dietetics Department.