Healthy eating after a liver transplant

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After liver transplant, good eating habits are one of the key things for a successful recovery after a liver transplant. Now you have a new liver you should make sure to keep it healthy. The best way is to add liver-friendly foods to your diet. Here are some tips on a good nutrition after liver transplant:

Nutrition tips after your transplant

Your liver is fragile for the next 4-6 weeks. Your body still needs time to adjust to the new liver. It will also take some time to regain your strength and appetite. Here are some tips for healthy eating during this time:

  • Relax for about 20 to 30 minutes before and after you have a meal.
  • Remember to not drink more than 1/2 cup of juice each day if you are a diabetic or have been warned that you have high blood sugars.
  • Eat healthy protein foods such as lean meats, poultry, and fish. Protein will help you to recover from surgery more quickly.
  • Divide your meals into smaller ones. 6 – 8 small meals per day are the best for you.
  • Have enough fiber in your daily diet.
  • Eat whole-grain bread and other grains.
  • Drink low-fat milk or eating other low-fat dairy products to provide enough calcium for your bones.
  • Maintain a low-salt and low-fat diet.
  • Staying hydrated by drinking adequate water and other fluids each day.

You should follow these rules along with the instructions given by your doctor. Although your daily diet will be strict and difficult for you in the very early stages of implementation, it will help you recover very quickly after liver transplant if you keep following it. You can ask for your family’s to help.

Foods to avoid

There are some foods you have to avoid because they cause negative effects on your new liver. You should tell your family about them to make sure they will remind you if you forget or they can prepare your meal without the following foods.

  • Grapefruit: you have to avoid grapefruit and products containing grapefruit altogether. The reason is grapefruit contains a substance that interferes with the enzyme CYP3A4, which breaks down medications. Moreover, grapefruit can interact with several anti-rejection medications, including tacrolimus and cyclosporine. You may be prevented from absorbing these drugs because of the lack of enzyme CYP3A4.
  • Sugary foods: After liver transplant, in the first few weeks, most patients have to take corticosteroids along with other drugs to suppress the immune system from attacking the new liver. One of those drugs is corticosteroids. Corticosteroids can raise your blood sugar if you take them in high doses. After liver transplant, as many as 31 percent of patients may develop diabetes, according to a French study reported in the June 2003 issue of “Transplant Proceedings.” So limit eating sugary food and your sugar intake will help you keep your blood glucose low and support your heath restoration process better.
  • Soft or unpasteurized cheeses and uncooked foods: These foods can contain bacteria called listeria. Listeria can cause and infection in the brain and occasionally infection of the womb with a rate of 26.7 percent (Spanish study reported in the September 2009 issue of “Clinical Infectious Diseases.”). Because after the liver transplant you have to take high doses of anti-rejection drugs, which suppress your immune system, you are easy to have an infection.
  • Alcohol: You always need to remember that alcohol is an enemy of people who have liver diseases. Especially if you needed a liver transplant because you had cirrhosis caused by alcohol, you have to avoid alcohol for the rest of your life. It absolutely can make your new liver damaged and increases your risk of infection.

Having a healthy diet is very important after a liver transplant. But the most important thing is if you can be patient to follow and implement your diet plan. Anyway, keep trying slowly and it will build a healthy lifestyle for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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