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Nutrition After Transplant

Good nutrition is crucial after your transplant. It is important for you to work closely with your Dietitian for individualized nutrition recommendations, as the nutrition goals are different at each stage of transplant. 
The main goals are: 
  • to adopt healthy eating habits and healthy lifestyle to prevent/ manage nutrition-related side effects from transplant medications
  • to obtain adequate nutrients to promote wound healing and prevent muscle wasting after transplant surgery
  • to avoid foods that may interact with the transplant medications
  • to avoid risk of getting foodborne illnesses by adopting good food hygiene practices

Healthy Eating Habits:

Generally after transplant, you are encouraged to enjoy a variety of food using the healthy diet pyramid as a guide. 

Source: Health Promotion Board

Rice and alternatives

Examples: porridge, noodles, bread, chapatti, biscuits are main source of energy for your daily activities.
Choose whole-grains when possible. These provide fibre, antioxidants and phytoestrogens and can help to lower the risks of developing heart disease and diabetes.

Fruit and Vegetables

Good sources of fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (beneficial plant substances). Enjoy a variety of fruit and vegetables in your diet. Discuss with your Dietitian how to incorporate fruit and vegetables in your meal plan.
Do take note that certain fruit may have interactions with your transplant medications.

Meat and alternatives

Examples: fish, chicken, beans, legumes and dairy products. Rich sources of protein. During the first few weeks after the transplant, you will need to consume sufficient protein for wound healing and to prevent muscle loss. Your Dietitian will conduct thorough nutrition assessment and recommend a nutritious diet with adequate protein for you.

You are encouraged to include dairy or high calcium products in your diet to keep your bones strong and healthy. Discuss with your Dietitian the way to include sufficient phosphorus-, calcium-, vitamin D-rich foods in your diet.

Fat, Sugar and Salt

Fat is a concentrated source of energy. Excessive consumption of fat may contribute to weight gain issues. It is also important to choose ‘healthier’ fats and oils to avoid or manage high blood cholesterol levels. Check with your Dietitian for details.

Most transplant patients will need to restrict sodium intake as some transplant medications can cause your body to retain sodium and fluids thus raising your blood pressure. Discuss with your Dietitian the ways to control sodium intake.

After transplant, you are also advised to reduce intake of added sugar in your food and beverages. Excessive consumption of sweetened food or beverages can lead to unwanted weight gain which is a risk factor for diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

Food Hygiene Practices

Certain transplant medications can suppress your immune system and increase your susceptibility to developing infections. Food is a potential source of bacteria or other pathogens that can cause infection. Your Dietitian will educate you on safe food hygiene to prevent foodborne illnesses. 

Last but not least, remember to have regular follow-up sessions with your Dietitian because your nutritional needs may change over time depending on your medical condition and transplant medications. Do not hesitate to discuss your nutrition concerns with your Dietitian.