We all know good nutrition plays a critical role in overall health. But for transplant patients, good nutrition is especially important. Francoise Maillet, a clinical dietitician who works with the Emory Transplant Center, wrote an informative article that highlights the importance of nutrition and the powerful impact it has on the wellbeing of a transplant patient’s life.
“In the waiting period prior to a transplant, good nutrition plays a vital role in helping the potential recipient maintain maximum health and wellbeing. This can greatly affect the transplant surgery itself, the healing process, and also the quality of life afterward”, Maillet writes in her article, Eat Well to Live Long.
She continues on to say that post-transplant, the need for calories, protein, vitamins and minerals is increased during recovery. If nutritional needs are not met, malnutrition occurs. Malnutrition is when the body is significantly deprived of adequate nutrition. When the body is malnourished, there is a decrease in muscle mass and protein stores, leading to an impaired immune response (meaning the body will have difficulty fighting infection). Malnutrition can also interfere with the body’s ability to heal a wound; resulting in a lack of the building blocks needed to build and repair tissue.
A balanced, healthy diet will promote recovery and wellness. Prior to transplant, it is important to meet with a clinical nutritionist who can evaluate your diet and teach you the right foods to eat in order to meet your individual needs before and after transplant. Making healthy food choices is essential for your best outcome.
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