Once you are on dialysis, your protein needs are usually much higher than they were before you started treatment. That’s because both haemodialysis (HD) and peritoneal dialysis (PD) treatments cause your body to lose protein. There are a variety of different healthy protein sources including chicken, beans, beef, eggs, fish, turkey, tofu and many others. Choosing fresh, high-quality protein is the healthiest option. You should avoid cured meats to limit the amount of salt you are taking into your body.
It is important for dialysis patients to limit their daily sodium (salt) intake. If you have chronic kidney disease (CKD), your kidneys have a hard time keeping the sodium (salt) and water in your body in balance. This can give you high blood pressure, shortness of breath, swelling and make you thirstier. To make sure you are not eating too much salt, it is best to stay away from packaged, processed foods, canned or frozen foods, as well as restaurant and fast foods. Healthy, home-cooked meals flavoured with spices and herbs are a great alternative that puts you in control of how much salt goes into your body.
Phosphorus is essential for building and maintaining strong bones. When your kidneys are not functioning as well as they should, phosphorus build-up can occur. This puts you at risk of severe bone and heart problems, like cardiovascular disease and hip fractures. There is a lot of phosphorus in fast foods and flavoured beverages, as well as milk, yogurt, cheese, processed meats, chocolate, and nuts. Notice how many healthy foods are high in phosphorus! these foods and drinks should be avoided if you want to stay within your recommended daily phosphorus intake.
Whether you are on peritoneal dialysis (PD) or haemodialysis (HD), the amount of calcium you get from your diet should be within your recommended daily allowance. Too much calcium in your body can put you at risk of vascular calcification, which are mineral deposits in your veins and arteries, along with other harmful conditions.
Getting enough fibre from the foods you eat is an important part of maintaining your overall bodily health. Fibre helps your body control its blood sugar levels, keep cholesterol in check, and maintain gut health. This is easy if you eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low-phosphorus grains.
Keep in mind that every person on dialysis has specific dietary needs. You should talk to your clinician or dietitian about what specific foods you should and should not eat while you’re on dialysis to make sure that you are on the kidney-friendly diet that is right for you.