After your kidney transplant, you may need to adjust your diet to keep your new kidney healthy and functioning well. You'll have fewer dietary restrictions than if you were receiving dialysis therapy before your transplant, but you still may need to make some diet changes.
Your Mayo Clinic transplant team includes a nutrition specialist (dietitian) who can discuss your nutrition and diet needs and answer any questions you have after your transplant.
Some of your medications may increase your appetite and make it easier to gain weight. But reaching and maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise is just as important for transplant recipients as it is for everyone else to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
You may need to keep track of how many calories you consume or limit foods high in sugar and fat.
Your Mayo Clinic dietitian will also provide you with several healthy food options and ideas to use in your nutrition plan. Your dietitian's recommendations after kidney transplant may include:
- Eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day
- Avoiding grapefruit and grapefruit juice due to its effect on a group of immunosuppression medications (calcineurin inhibitors)
- Having enough fiber in your daily diet
- Drinking low-fat milk or eating other low-fat dairy products, which is important to maintain optimal calcium and phosphorus levels
- Eating lean meats, poultry and fish
- Maintaining a low-salt and low-fat diet
- Following food safety guidelines
- Staying hydrated by drinking adequate water and other fluids each day
Aug. 15, 2017
- Wein AJ, et al., eds. Renal transplantation. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2016. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 7, 2016.
- Partnering with your transplant team: The patient's guide to transplantation. United Network for Organ Sharing. https://www.unos.org/wp-content/uploads/unos/WEPNTK.pdf. Accessed March 11, 2016.
- Treatment methods for kidney failure: Transplantation. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/KUDiseases/pubs/transplant/index.aspx. Accessed March 11, 2016.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources. Organ matching. http://www.organdonor.gov/about/organmatching.html. Accessed April 7, 2016.
- The kidneys and how they work. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/KUDiseases/pubs/yourkidneys/index.aspx. Accessed March 11, 2016.
- Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Kidney transplant. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.
- Hart A., et al. OPTN/SRTR Annual Data Report: Kidney. American Journal of Transplantation. 2016;16:11.
- Brennan DC. HLA matching and graft survival in kidney transplantation. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 8, 2016.
- Rossi AP, et al. Evaluation of the potential renal transplant recipient. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 11, 2016.
- Klein CL, et al. HLA and ABO sensitization and desensitization in renal transplantation. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 11, 2016.
- Riggin ER. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 7, 2016.
- Venkataraman V, et al. Dialysis issues prior to and after renal transplantation. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 15, 2016.
- Rees L, et al. Overview of renal replacement therapy (RRT) for children with chronic kidney disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 15, 2016.
- Kidney disease: causes. National Kidney Foundation. https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/kidneydiscauses. Accessed April 7, 2016.
- Berns JS. Patient information: Dialysis or kidney transplantation—Which is right for me. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 7, 2016.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources. Organ transplantation. http://www.organdonor.gov/about/transplantationprocess.html. Accessed April 8, 2016.
- UNOS. Frequently asked questions about kidney transplant evaluation and listing. https://www.unos.org/wpcontent/uploads/unos/Kidney_Eval_Brochure.pdf. Accessed April 8, 2016.
- UNOS Transplant Living. Selecting a hospital. http://www.transplantliving.org/before-the-transplant/getting-on-the-list/selecting-a-hospital/. Accessed April 5, 2016.
- Living donation: Information you need to know. Transplant Living. https://www.unos.org/donation/living-donation/. Accessed March 30, 2016.
- Kidney transplant. National Kidney Foundation. Accessed April 8, 2016.
- Vella J. Risk factors for graft failure in kidney transplantation. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 8, 2016.
- Preparing for the transplant. American Society of Transplantation. http://www.healthytransplant.com/health_maintenance/preparing_for_transplant.aspx. Accessed March 22, 2016.
- Orandi BJ, et al. Kidney transplants from incompatible live donors. New England Journal of Medicine. 2016;374:940.
- Stegall M. Dosing regimen of eculizumab added to conventional treatment in positive cross match living donor kidney transplant. ClinicalTrials.gov. http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00670774?term=eculizumab+and+mayo&rank=3. Accessed April 8, 2016.
- Heilman RL, et al. Impact of early conversion from tacrolimus to sirolimus on chronic allograft changes in kidney recipients on rapid steroid withdrawal. Transplantation. 2012;93:47.
- Mai ML (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla. April 27, 2016.