RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s kidney transplant operation in Singapore this Monday turned out to be successful after his daughter Rohini Acharya donated the vital organ. The RJD chief has long been suffering from various health issues and the doctors attending to him had recently advised a kidney transplant.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Priyanka Rohatgi, Chief Clinical Dietitian at Apollo Hospitals in Bangalore, advised, “People with compromised kidney function must adhere to a renal or kidney diet to cut down on the amount of waste in their blood. Wastes in the blood come from food and liquids that are consumed. When kidney function is compromised, the kidneys do not filter or remove waste properly. If the waste is left in the blood, it can negatively affect a patient’s electrolyte levels. Following a kidney diet may also help promote kidney function and slow down the progression of complete kidney failure.”
She explained, “A renal diet is one that is low in sodium, phosphorous and protein. A renal diet also emphasizes the importance of consuming high-quality protein and usually limiting fluids. Some patients may also need to limit potassium and calcium. Every person’s body is different, and therefore it is crucial that each patient works with a renal dietitian to come up with a diet that is tailored to the patient’s needs. Modifications in sodium intake are essential along with minerals like potassium and phosphorus. We find them low on hemoglobin but it is challenging to give iron rich foods owing to the phosphorus and potassium content of these foods.”
According to Dr Puru Dhawan, Ayurvedic Kidney Expert (BAMS, Medical Director and CEO at SRIAAS), when talking about diet for a kidney patient, first comes what they should avoid, so that the damage does not progress. He insisted, “A kidney patient should follow a strict diet as it helps to control the exceeding levels of urea, potassium, and creatinine. A kidney patient should avoid green leafy and rooty vegetables as they are rich in potassium and when preparing any other vegetables, make sure to let them go through the leaching process. It will help kidney patients if they limit salt consumption to only a pinch, follow a protein-free diet, avoid citric and sour food, caffeine, dairy products and processed food as they contain sodium, phosphorus and potassium.”
Dr Puru revealed a diet chart that is healthy enough for kidney patients:
- Breakfast -whole wheat Food items paratha, semolina (upma), porridge (Dalia),Oats and Poha (flattened rice)
- Lunch- Chapatti and veggies made with vegetables that are low in potassium Chapatti and veggies made with vegetables that are low in potassium
- Dinner- Vegetables Carrot, radish, Onion, Bottle gourd, ridge gourd, pumpkin
- Fruits – Apple, Pears, papaya, pineapple, musk melon, watermelon, strawberry
- Salt – Sendha Namak, Himalayan salt, or rock salt
- Water intake- Drink a cup or a half cup of water each time.
He asserted, “Make sure to have sufficient food so that problems of weight loss or fatigue do not arise, because a kidney patient would be already on a protein-free diet. If there is a need for protein, eating only two egg whites for non-vegetarians and moong dal (pulses) for vegetarians is recommended as they are easily digestible. Following a healthy diet will certainly help a kidney patient to recover faster and have a higher chance of living without going through dialysis or any other complication. There will be times when you are unable to have what you like but always remember it is for the best.”
Bringing her expertise to the same, Doli Baliyan, Head Clinical Dietitian at Max Healthcare Hospital in Dehradun, shared, “Chronic Kidney Disease or CKD is a gradual loss of kidney function. It means that the kidneys are damaged and cannot filter the blood, which leads to building up of waste products and fluids within the body. This causes swelling up of ankles, nausea, weakness, poor sleep, shortness of breath, urinating more or too little and muscle cramps. It is important to examine and manage the quality and quantity of food intake for patients with CKD. The diets can help potentially reduce the accumulation of toxic metabolic products within the body. Maintaining a healthier balance of body water, sodium, potassium, protein and other minerals is a must.”
1. Potassium rich fruits like banana, avocado, oranges, lemons watermelon, apricot, prunes, dates should be avoided.
2. Pickled vegetables or pickles of all types are a big no-no as they are high in sodium.
3. Leafy greens such as spinach, green beans and raw vegetables are to be avoided as they are again high in potassium.
4. Red meat, mutton, dairy products as they are high in protein should be avoided as well.
5. One should refrain from chips and other packaged foods or meals as they are high in sodium.
She highlighted, “Fluid intake throughout the day depends on the urine output of the patient. If the urine output is good, fluid restriction is less but if the urine output is bad then the fluids are restricted to 1 to 1.5 litre throughout the day.” Differentiating the facts from fiction, she revealed:
1. It is a myth to avoid all fruits as apples, guava, papaya, pears, as they are good for health and 250 gm can be consumed daily.
2. Eating the right amount of protein is important, so including soft dals, chicken, egg whites, fishes and adequate amounts of paneer and in the diet is important (if the patient is on dialysis)
3. White rice, wheat cereals like daliya, oats are low in potassium and must be included in the diet.
4. Milk can also be included in the diet but keeping in mind the fluid restriction if there is any.
Even though following a renal diet may feel restrictive, there are plenty of healthy and well balanced meals that can be consumed. One must always remember to discuss the food choices with the healthcare provider to insure a kidney-friendly and nutritious diet.