Healthy kidneys play a critical role in getting rid of toxic waste and fluids. When the kidneys fail to do their job, toxicity builds up in the blood and dialysis may become necessary. Dialysis usually causes a range of symptoms like nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, and anemia. You will have to follow a dialysis diet that does not interfere with your treatment and that helps ease these symptoms. Balancing the intake of protein, sodium, fats, phosphorus, and potassium in your diet will help you stay healthy and on course.
A renal dietitian will be able to help you plan your diet and include the right foods in the right quantity at mealtimes. He or she will also keep a close watch on your blood workup, including the serum creatinine and albumin levels. A person undergoing dialysis is usually put on a vegetarian diet. Key Nutritional Elements During Dialysis
Keep a strict tab on your fluid intake. This includes soups, ice cream, fruits, and vegetables with high water content. All these foods can increase your fluid levels. Extra fluids can cause edema and weight gain and may affect your blood pressure. Stick to the quantity of fluid prescribed by your clinician. This will vary depending on weight. Make sure you sip fluids slowly over a longer period of time 1. If you want to control thirst, go slow on the salt and sodium.
High-protein diets are a no-no as it can further damage the nephrons (kidney cells) and lead to renal insufficiency. A balanced protein diet can help lower lipid levels too. Your protein requirement will also depend on your weight. Safe sources of proteins include legumes and beans, cottage cheese, and a limited quantity of nuts like almonds and walnuts.
Lipid lowering foods
These are usually recommended as dialysis can elevate blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Most clinicians advise a daily cholesterol intake of < 300 mg per day 2. Your dietitian will suggest foods like oatmeal, oat bran, and soluble high-fiber foods like apples, pears, avocado, beans, and barley. In some cases, food rich in omega-3 fatty acids like fish (mackerel, herring, salmon, and trout) is to be included in the diet.
Found in salt and foods like cheese, sodium affects your blood pressure. A person undergoing dialysis will find it difficult to get rid of extra sodium because of the pressure on the kidneys. This can cause a sodium buildup and water retention, which in turn can affect the heart. You will have to restrict your salt intake to about <1000 mg per day 3. Opt for low-sodium salt. Cut back totally on processed foods like cheese and tofu. Canned and pre-prepared food like instant noodles or pasta should be avoided. Salted snacks and pickles are also a no-no. Add more lemon or citrus zest to your food to make up for low salt. Season with vinegar, fresh garlic, fresh onion or garlic, and onion powder. Freshly ground mustard can often make up for the taste of salt.
This mineral is required for healthy bones. Normal kidneys are able to remove extra phosphorus from the blood. High phosphorus in your blood can lead to adverse cardiac events, so this is a risk you run when your kidneys are not functioning normally. Your renal dietitian will keep a watch on your phosphorus levels, while your clinician might prescribe medication known as phosphate binders to control your absorption of phosphorus from foods. You will be put on an optimal phosphorus diet where your milk intake will be limited to just one cup per day 4. You should also limit your consumption of cheese, yogurt, peas, peanuts, and other nuts.
It has a role in keeping the heart and muscles healthy. While undergoing dialysis, your kidneys have limited ability to maintain the amount of potassium required for a healthy body. If your potassium levels cross the normal limits, you are in danger of cardiovascular events. You should be able to maintain an optimal level with a moderate diet. Restrict your potassium intake to <2000 mg per day. Avoid canned juices and foods or broths extracted from meats. Keep tabs on your food servings. Opt for half a banana or papaya, or one orange or one mango if you are having these potassium-rich fruits. Limit your intake of dried fruits and nuts. Choose low potassium foods like apple, apple juice, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, grapes, peaches, pears, pineapple, plums, raspberries, strawberries, asparagus, cooked cabbage and carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, radish, and zucchini. Limit your intake of whole grain foods. Avoid tea and coffee too.
A disciplined and balanced diet will work like a trusted ally during dialysis, putting minimum pressure on your kidneys and helping them recover, especially during the course of the procedure. So give it due attention!