Diet And Exercise
Transplant recipients need to be aware of the important role of a healthy diet and exercise plan in healing. Prior to your discharge from the hospital, talk to your doctor or dietitian about your goals and requirements. Since each person is different, know that you can ask for help in developing a plan that fits your needs, likes and dislikes.
Diet After a Transplant
After your transplant, you will be feeling better and looking forward to returning to your normal lifestyle. A major part of that normal lifestyle is the ability to enjoy eating again. However, some of the drugs you will be taking after your transplant affect the way your body processes food. This may cause you to eat more, causing you to gain weight.
Excessive weight gain can be harmful to your health because it increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. The following tips may help you avoid unwanted weight gain:
- Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Eat a minimum amount of salt, processed foods and snacks.
- Use herbs and spices to add flavor, instead of salt.
- Watch your food intake and drink plenty of water (unless you are told to limit fluids).
- Try to eat high-fiber foods, such as raw vegetables and fruits, which make you feel full.
- Add calcium to your diet by eating calcium-rich foods, such as low-fat dairy products and green, leafy vegetables or calcium supplements.
- Eat as little fat and oil as possible.
- Read food labels so that you can be smart when food shopping.
- Become more aware of serving sizes that are listed on food labels.
- Because protein helps your build muscles and tissue, which will help you heal after surgery, eat foods high in protein, such as meat, poultry (i.e. chicken), fish, eggs, nuts (without salt) and beans.
- Select healthier condiments, such as mustard, and low-fat mayonnaise and salad dressings.
- Choose healthy cooking methods. Instead of frying, try baking, grilling, broiling or steaming foods. And instead of oil, use nonstick, fat-free spray or sauces.
- When dining out, try to eat smaller portions and avoid high-fat entrees.
- Don't drink alcohol or use any drugs that aren't prescribed by your physician, as these may harm your new organ. If you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, talk with your social worker, who can help arrange for counseling and other support services.
Exercise After a Transplant
Most people are weak after any surgery. Transplant recipients must recover from surgery, as well as the illnes that caused the need for a transplant. As a result, exercise and muscle strain should be limited when you return home. Talk with your doctor about what to expect.
As you start to feel better, regular exercise will help you regain your strength. Because you may feel tired at first, you should take rest breaks during exercise. Gradually, increase the amount and type of physical activity you enjoy.
United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is committed to providing accurate and reliable information for transplant patients. The content on this page was originally created on August 15, 2003 by UNOS and last modified on October 10, 2003.
This Web site is intended solely for the purpose of electronically providing the public with general health-related information and convenient access to the data resources. UNOS is not affiliated with any one product nor does UNOS assume responsibility for any error, omissions or other discrepancies.