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Why does a dialysis patient need to avoid certain foods?

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Quick Answer

A dialysis patient needs to avoid certain foods because certain foods can increase health complications, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. A dialysis patient should avoid excess fluid, phosphorus, potassium and sodium. Individuals on dialysis are often encouraged to consume plenty of high-quality protein.

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Full Answer

Excess fluid can harm a dialysis patient by overworking the heart, according to NIDDK. Too much potassium can also cause serious heart problems for the dialysis patient. Too much phosphorus should be avoided, because it can weaken bones. A dialysis patient should avoid excess sodium because it can lead to excessive fluid intake. Protein is generally beneficial for a person on dialysis, because it helps build muscle and repair tissue.

Herbs, spices, and low-salt flavor enhancers can be used to help regular sodium intake, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Specific foods that should be avoided by a dialysis patient include whole grains, most dairy foods, and fruits or vegetables containing a high level of potassium.

Ideal sources of protein include fish, meat, poultry, eggs and fresh pork, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Some dairy foods contain low amounts of phosphorus and may be eaten, such as cream cheese, butter, ricotta cheese, brie cheese and heavy cream. Good fruit options include an apple, plum, tangerine, peach or small wedge of watermelon. Low-potassium vegetables include cucumber, celery, peppers, lettuce and carrots.

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