Patients who are on dialysis require a special diet to keep necessary nutrients in the limited value to prevent excessive damage to the kidneys. However, many assume that the kidney-friendly diet is expensive. On the contrary, it is the opposite, as the diet for a person on dialysis does not require special treatment. All they need to do is restrict a few foods and reduce others to keep sodium, protein, potassium, and phosphorus contents within limits. When there is an increase in these nutrients in the body, it becomes difficult for the kidney to remove the same, which leads to further damage.
What to Eat When on Dialysis?
The following section will act as a guide in learning about the food that an individual can consume while on dialysis.
Salt and Sodium
Diminishing the intake of salt and sodium is imperative. Dieticians often opt for no salt diet and reduce the size of meals that have increased sodium content. Due to this, it is possible to bring down the blood pressure along with weight, which is a positive sign for the individual undergoing the dialysis sessions. For those who wish to use salt, they can use low-salt flavor enhancers, spices, and herbs.
When the patient is on dialysis, it is necessary to increase the protein content. Eating of the protein content helps in maintaining the blood protein levels. It is preferable for the patient to eat 8-10 ounces of protein per day. The diet includes consuming eggs, fish, fresh pork, poultry, and meat. Although dried beans, nuts, peanut butter, and lentils are also rich in protein, a dietician keeps them away from the menu because they also possess high values of phosphorus and potassium compounds.
Grains/ Bread/ Cereals
Unless required, the patient or dialysis can opt for grains/bread/cereals for weight loss or managing carbohydrate levels. The contents belonging to these groups are good sources of calories. It is preferable to eat around eight servings on an average per day from this group to meet the required calorie levels. It is necessary for the individual to keep away from whole grain and high fiber foods. At the same time, limiting the use of dairy-based products helps in protecting blood vessels and bones.
Milk/ Yogurt/ Cheese
Limiting eating of cheese, milk, and yogurt to a half cup per day is necessary. As most of the dairy products are rich in phosphorus content, reducing the intake will be assisting in protecting the functionality of the kidneys. If an individual is consuming a phosphorus food, it is preferable to choose phosphate binder along with the meal to limit the processing carried out by the kidney in removing the excess content. The following foods are low in phosphorus - heavy cream, sherbet, ricotta cheese, butter and margarine, non-dairy whipped topping, and brie cheese. Consulting the dietician is helpful in learning about the serving size.
Fruit and Fruit Juices
Almost all the fruits are rich in potassium content. Certain fruits have higher values when compared with others. In such events, it is preferable to reduce them or remove from the menu. Reducing potassium content is also helpful in maintaining good heart condition. Limiting or avoiding eating the following fruits is preferable for an individual on dialysis - oranges, kiwi, prunes, and nectarines. Stay away from Star fruit. Apple, cherries, grapes, tangerine, watermelon, peach, pear, pineapple, plums, and berries are good sources of low potassium fruits. Eating two or three servings of these will ensure the required levels of protection content in the body without causing excessive stress on the kidneys.