The kidneys are vital organs, flushing out toxins from the system. They are key to keeping the body healthy and clean. As such, if something happens to them, the rest of the body suffers, too.
While there are many conditions that could affect the normal functioning of kidneys, kidney cancer and treatment requires special attention. “Many cancer treatments cause nausea or gastrointestinal problems, eventually interfering with one’s ability to eat and process food normally. In many cases, patients lose their appetite entirely, or get mouth sores that can make it difficult to eat anything,” says Apeksha Ekbote, chief dietician, NephroPlus.
She adds that because of cancer cachexia symptoms, the dietary needs and nutritional importance should be enhanced. Meals should contain immune-enhancing foods.
She suggests some dietary dos and don’ts.
Eat healthy: It will help restore normal tissues, prevent infection, and maintain strength and energy. Well-balanced diets include lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, high biological value protein sources like lean chicken or fish or soya products.
Watch out for protein intake: Kidney cancer patients need to be aware of how much protein they eat. Generally, the kidneys filter the waste out of the body, but that waste can build up in one’s bloodstream when the kidneys aren’t functioning normally. Hence, depending on whether or not one is on dialysis, the protein intake may increase or decrease.
Monitor the phosphorus: While seeds, nuts, and beans that are high in phosphorus can be enjoyed, one should watch out for the quantity of consumption. Phosphorus, which is a chemical element, can build up in one’s bloodstream, especially when the kidneys don’t work at full capacity. Limiting dairy products to 300ml/day will help one keep a check on the phosphorus levels.
Limit your meal quantity during the day: Kidney cancer patients normally feel nausea, diarrhea, and constipation during treatments. Hence, they need to adjust how and when they eat. Instead of large meals during the day, consume smaller portions every few hours.
Avoid drinking too much fluids: Since the kidney isn’t functioning at optimum levels, the body may not be able to make urine. Excess fluid can cause swelling, high blood pressure, and shortness of breath.
Avoid too much salt consumption: Sodium can cause high blood pressure, which deepens kidney problems. One should find alternative seasonings like herbs or lemon juice. Also, stay away from processed snacks and meats, canned foods, and fast food, all of which contain a high amount of sodium. Also, read food labels to keep a check on the sodium content.
Do not assume all diseases come with the same recommendations: Do not presume that all cancer diseases have the same diet plan. Diet suggestions can be different for every cancer, so make sure you relook at nutrition information specified for kidney cancer.
Do not stop exercising: Exercise is an important factor for any person who has a specific disease or has undergone surgery. It is mandatory to consult your doctor about the type of workout that is best for you.