When Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) progresses on to dialysis, diet continues to play a vital role in a patient’s rehabilitative care. A well-balanced diet is necessary for them to stay fit as their kidneys are no longer functioning at its full capacity i.e. to get rid of the waste products and fluid from their blood. It is essential for dialysis patients to have the right amount of protein, calories, fluids, vitamins and minerals each day.
Dialysis patient requires a much higher intake of protein than the average person. Too little protein and calorie intake often leads to protein energy malnutrition. To achieve good dialysis outcome, dialysis patient needs to carefully monitor their diet in order to control the waste products and fluids accumulated between dialysis treatments. Your doctor, nurse and dietitian will talk to you about how well you are eating and help you to plan proper balance meals.
Healthy Diet for a dialysis patients
Getting the right amount of calories
Food gives us energy. Getting the right amount of energy (calories) is important to overall health and well-being such as helping your body to use protein for building muscles and tissues. The energy need of each individual is different and depends on age, gender, body size, physical activity level, and medical condition. Some people need more energy to increase their body weight; others need to cut down their energy intake to reduce body weight.
Adequate in protein
Protein is essential for building and repairing muscles and daily growth. During peritoneal or haemodialysis, some amount of proteins is lost and therefore, patients require a higher protein intake compared to people who are not on dialysis. Eating the right amount of protein will help dialysis patients stay fit as insufficient protein intake could result in weight loss, muscle wasting, reducing the ability to fight infections and thus, leading to malnutrition.
Protein can be divided into two categories: high and low quality. For dialysis diet, high-quality protein, for example, meat, poultry, fish and egg whites are more desirable. Most dairy products such as yogurt, milk and cheese also contain high-quality protein.
REMEMBER, RIGHT KIND and CORRECT AMOUNT of protein is vital for dialysis patients to stay healthy. Protein food contains phosphate. Therefore it is very IMPORTANT that dialysis patients take their phosphate binders with ALL their meals.
Low in sodium
Most people should limit the amount of sodium in their diet regardless of kidney disease. Even if salt (a major source of sodium) is not adding during cooking, sodium can still be found in other food sources. This is because sodium is naturally found in all different types of foods, and more commonly in packaged and processed foods. Sodium is like-hydrated sponge that absorbs fluid. It makes you feel thirsty and intends to drink more. As a result, weight gain from fluid arises and consequently, increasing in blood pressure can be observed. Sodium restriction in kidney disease helps to maintain normal fluid balance.
To help restrict salt intake:
- Limit the salt added to your cooking
- Avoid using stock cubes and gravy browning e.g. Bovril, Marmite
- Avoid taking bottled chicken extracts
- Read labels on processed foods and avoid items that has more than 250 mg of sodium per serving
- Minimise the usage of canned food. If you do choose to use them, do drain the brine
- Use fresh herbs and whole spices in replace of salt in cooking
- Use fresh lime, lemon juice or vinegar to flavour food