A Dialysis patient wrote the KidneyBuzz.com Team via a Facebook Message and said, "I had no idea that Dialysis would be this terrible. I have no energy, I am always tired and dragging, and I am gaining a bunch of weight because I cannot exercise which is jeopardizing my chances of getting a kidney transplant. Also, I constantly feel lightheaded, foggy, and dizzy. What the heck can I do?"
Most Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients are well aware of the very challenging and intrusive side effects associated with Hemodialysis and Peritoneal Dialysis treatments (Anemia, High Blood Pressure, Low Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar Issues, Dialysis Disequilibrium Syndrome, etc.) which impact the quality of their lives. While the types of foods that patients include in their diets can help improve health outcomes, at what time of the day they eat these foods is also very important. In fact, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has suggested that the timing of meals has an impact on everything from weight management to insomnia (persistent problems falling and staying asleep). The following are six (6) tips that may help Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients make the most of their meals and improve their quality of life.
1. Energy - Protein-packed Breakfast (7 A.M.): How many times have you felt just plain exhausted and tired to the bone? Well, while Anemia (condition in which the blood doesn't have enough healthy red blood cells leading to fatigue) and other Dialysis-related issues may be playing a role, having a protein-packed breakfast may help patients have more energy throughout the day. Jodi Helmer (AARP Health Writer) said, "Maintaining steady blood sugar levels all day is crucial to avoiding energy slumps. Sweet foods — muffins or sugary cereals — may give you a quick energy spike, but the following drop in blood sugar can leave you feeling wiped out." Hence, try to eat protein as part of the morning meal. For instance, try a boiled egg or an omelet.
2. Refuel - Post Light Workout Protein & Carbohydrate Snack (10 A.M.): Many Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients will likely be surprised to learn that a light morning workout can actually provide them with more energy. Researchers at the University of Georgia found that sedentary (tending to spend much time seated) adults who engaged in as little as 20 minutes of low-to-moderate aerobic exercise, three days a week for six consecutive weeks, reported feeling less fatigued and more energized. Moreover, research shows that a snack containing both carbohydrates and protein is best for recovery after exercise. Carbs help boost energy levels, while protein builds muscle mass. "Aim for a recovery snack with 30 grams of protein, like a protein shake," suggested AARP.
3. Maintaining/Losing Weight - Make Lunch The Biggest Meal Of The Day (12 P.M.): Eating your biggest meal earlier in the day may help with weight maintenance and even weight loss. In a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, researchers found that overweight and obese adults who ate their biggest meal earlier in the day lost more weight than those who ate their main meal later, despite similar activity levels and calories. By maintaining as healthy a weight as possible, patients can help remain active on the Kidney Transplant Waiting List.
4. Mental Fogginess - Blueberries Help Boost Memory & Decrease Mental Fogginess (4 P.M.): Also called “brainberries” by Dr. Steven Platt (author of Superfoods Rx: Fourteen Foods Proven to Change Your Life), blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant capacities of all fruits and vegetables and are known to improve memory and cognitive (brain) function. They have memory-protecting properties and have even been associated with the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Consider adding a few blueberries to your regular Renal diet.
5. Quality Rest - Fill Up On Fiber For A Better Night's Rest (6 P.M.): A Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine study found that eating a meal high in fiber and low in saturated fat and sugar such as broiled salmon, helped subjects fall asleep in less than 20 minutes as compared with 30 minutes for those who ate foods higher in fat and sugar.
6. Dizziness & Falling - Avoid Strenuous Activities After Meals: Blood pressure is usually at its lowest between 30 and 60 minutes after eating. Doing strenuous activities like climbing several stairs or lifting a heavy garbage bag right after eating can cause dizziness, nausea, and fainting. It is best to wait a while and rest before doing any strenuous activities after eating.
Recommended Reading: Good And Bad Foods To Boost Energy Of Chronic Kidney Disease And Diabetic Patients
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