Why Do I Need a Diet For Dialysis?
Choosing a diet for dialysis is a very important part of the overall medical treatment to help your overworked, or failing kidneys. Dialysis machines do the function of failing kidneys, by removing waste from the blood. When you are on dialysis, it is very important to watch what you eat, so that the process works correctly, and also so that your body obtains the foods and nutrients that it needs to function. There are several ways to modify your diet, and the first step is to be aware of what you should and should not eat if you are on dialysis.
Diet for Dialysis Guidelines:
Limit fluid intake – fluid may increase your blood pressure and you gain weight between treatments
Limit phosphorous, potassium, and salt intake – requires screening of processed foods and maximum use of self prepared recipes
Limit red meats – they are harder for the kidneys to process due to the protein density
Consume high-quality protein foods – eat lean meats, fish, poultry, and eggs
Limit milk, yogurt, and cheese – most dairy products are high in phosphorous, but not all
What Help is There for A Diet For Dialysis?
With these somewhat restrictive guidelines, you might be thinking that it will be hard to prepare meals. It will take time to adjust your normal eating habits to the guidelines, but that may be the most difficult part. Many of the foods that you prepare, and the recipes that you use, can be adjusted with a few substitutes.
You do not necessarily have to give up any foods, but limit your intake, and a certified registered dietitian can be an invaluable resource. If you find it difficult to read label contents, or need assistance knowing what foods to buy, the dietitian can give you very specific guidelines, choices, and even recipes to try yourself. Knowing what to buy, and how to prepare foods for a dialysis diet menu is what the registered dietitian is certified to do, and it will make changing to a diet for dialysis much easier.
Important Tips For The Diet For Dialysis:
- Herbs and Spices may be substituted for salt, to make food less bland and give variety to your diet
- Fresh or plain frozen vegetables usually contain no additional salt. After cooking, you need to drain all cooking fluid from vegetables, before serving.
- Canned fruits usually contain less potassium, than fresh fruits. Remember to drain fluids from fruits before serving.
- Non-dairy creamers are low in phosphorous, and can be used as a milk substitute.
- Learning to carefully read content labels on foods is very important. Processed foods are usually loaded with sodium and other hidden minerals that may be limited in your diet.
If you are on kidney dialysis, it does not have to be a bad experience. Being aware of what your body needs to recuperate is very important however, and your doctor and registered dietitian are there to help you. You will need to communicate with your doctor about how you feel, and iron supplements may be prescribed during dialysis. Registered dietitians will help you to plan your diet menu, and as soon as you make buying and preparing foods using the guidelines a habit, it will become very easy. The diet for dialysis menu requirements will vary for each person, depending on stage of kidney disease, age, gender, height, and weight, so it is necessary to get personalized guidelines from a medical professional.
The National Kidney Foundation has a wealth of supplemental information about dialysis, how it affects your body, and even has special recipes for a dialysis diet. You may also want to purchase meal plans on line, which are made specifically for the person on dialysis and contain recipes, nutrients and grocery lists to make your life easier. Your mindset and your eating habits may be the hardest things to overcome, but with help from various resources, your diet for dialysis can be a very pleasant change, and will make you feel much better!
Also published on Medium.