Your kidneys are paired organs that keep your blood chemically clean and balanced. Each day, they sift water and waste from about 200 quarts of blood, according to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Yours may be replaced with healthy kidneys if you have kidney disease, which reduces their ability to function. You may also require surgery for the removal of cancerous tumors. Eating appropriately after kidney surgery may enhance healing and your overall wellness.
When your kidneys fail to function properly, your doctor may suggest limiting certain foods and nutrients, such as phosphorus and salty foods, protein or fluids. Dietary restrictions may no longer apply after kidney transplant surgery. Because of your renewed freedom to consume a variety of foods coupled with increased hunger caused by medications such as prednisone, weight gain is a common problem among transplant patients, according to the Cleveland Clinic. After surgical treatment for kidney cancer, you may experience the opposite problems, such as reduced appetite and unintentional weight loss. In both cases, a nutritious, balanced diet that promotes a healthy body weight is important.
A healthy diet after kidney surgery should provide healthy foods from all vital nutrient groups, including complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats. After a kidney transplant, your body will begin to rebuild bone mass lost during kidney failure. As a result, your bones may use more phosphorus, which is important for bone strength, and may cause levels of phosphorus in your blood to drop too low. To avoid this risk, consume phosphorus-rich foods, such as milk, whole grains and protein-rich foods, such as meat, fish, eggs, nuts and legumes. To manage appetite loss and other complications of cancer treatment, the National Cancer Institute recommends consuming liquid foods, such as protein shakes, when solid foods do not appeal, and eating frequent, small meals rather than one or two large meals daily. To alleviate constipation associated with chemotherapy, drink plentiful amounts of fluid and fiber.
Fruits and vegetables are prime sources of antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, which support your body's ability to resist infections and heal properly after surgery. Particularly antioxidant-rich varieties include berries, citrus fruits, leafy greens and broccoli. For energy, fiber and phosphorus, consume complex carbohydrates, such as whole-grain breads and pasta, brown rice, barley, oatmeal and potatoes. Protein-rich foods promote physical strength, tissue repair and immune function. Nutritious sources include low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry, beans, lentils, tofu and egg whites. For healthy fats, which provide energy and help your body absorb the antioxidant vitamin E and other fat-soluble nutrients, consume nuts, seeds, olive oil, canola oil, avocados and fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel and halibut. If you have difficulty consuming solid foods, the NCI recommends pureeing them. Rather than consuming steak, for example, puree cooked ground beef with gravy or soup broth.
Working with a dietitian can help ensure that your nutrient and calorie needs are met throughout your recovery. If you have difficulty sticking to your diet plan, discuss the potential need for supplements with your doctor or dietitian. Do not take supplements on your own, however, because excessive intake of vitamins can damage your health, according to the National Kidney Association. Consuming certain nutrients in excess, such as vitamin C, can interfere with kidney function. If your appetite increases, eat balanced meals containing protein and fiber-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. These foods are more filling than refined and processed foods, such as candy, sweets and potato chips.