Diet Tips

Good nutrition is vital after a transplant. Not only can it help you control your weight, but it can also help you lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, and maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
It’s important that you work with your transplant team to create a healthy diet post transplant. But in the meantime, here are some things to keep in mind:

Eat a well-balanced diet

You’ll want to choose foods that are highly nutritious so that you get enough vitamins and minerals. Also, eating foods that have plenty of fiber can help reduce cholesterol.

Eat meals that include the following:

  • Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and tofu
  • Low-fat or non-fat dairy products (milk, cheese, and yogurt)
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Complex carbohydrates like legumes (dried peas and beans), starchy vegetables such as potatoes, and whole-grain and enriched breads, cereals, and grain products

Keep healthy foods on hand

  • Fresh raw vegetables for snacking, like carrots, celery, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, and salad makings
  • Lots of fresh vegetables for cooking, like tomatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, beans, chard, spinach, onions, and garlic
  • Low-sugar fruits like strawberries, oranges, melons, and apples
  • Canned beans like red kidney beans and black beans
  • Frozen vegetables like peas, artichokes, green beans, and broccoli
  • Low-fat or non-fat dairy products like milk, cottage cheese, and yogurt
  • Unsalted nuts
  • Herbs like oregano, parsley, and thyme instead of salt

Avoid trans fats and sodium

Your daily diet should limit saturated fats or “trans” fat, which are found in baked goods, deep-fried foods, imitation cheese, and snack foods like chips and cookies.

You should also avoid sodium, the main component in salt, which may contribute to high blood pressure. Substitute salt with different spices to satisfy your cravings for flavorful food and stay away from foods that are salty — like packaged foods (potato chips, salted nuts, pretzels), canned soups, hot dogs, cured meats (ham and deli meats), and other high-sodium foods and condiments (soy sauce).

In addition to sodium, if you have chronic kidney disease, you also may have to limit your intake of potassium and phosphorus. Many vegetables contain a lot of potassium, but there are ways you can treat your vegetables before eating them to limit the potassium. For excess phosphorus, medications can help. Ask your dietitian or doctor for recommendations on both.

Consider a multivitamin

Though you should try to get your vitamins and minerals from a balanced diet, you may want to talk to your doctor about adding a multivitamin. To make sure you're not taking anything that could interfere with your medications, tell your doctor exactly which multivitamin you're considering.

Also, talk to your doctor if you are considering taking any herbal products, which may also cause problems with your medications.

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