Food and drink after transplant

What foods are you allowed to eat? What foods should you avoid? Can you drink alcohol?

Is there a definitive list of foods to avoid after transplant?

Each transplant centre has slightly different guidelines regarding what you can and can’t eat. Your transplant coordinator/dietitian will guide on you their recommended list of foods to avoid or take care with.  Initially, post-transplant most patients will be asked to follow a high protein and high energy diet to help their body recover. You are encouraged to eat a healthy balanced diet.

Standard advice usually includes:

  • Avoiding of shellfish, sushi and any raw fish; any who are bottom feeders in the sea such as mussels, clams and whelks
  • Ensuring all dairy products are pasteurised
  • Avoiding soft cheeses such as brie, camembert, blue-veined cheeses and some goats cheeses.  Cheeses are ok if they have been cooked (to kill off any bacteria)
  • Ensuring eggs are cooked thoroughly. Do not eat any food from recipes using uncooked eggs i.e. homemade mousse, eggnog, mayonnaise or ice-creams/sorbets
  • Avoiding pate and meat paste
  • Avoiding grapefruits, Seville oranges, pomelo fruits and pomegranates as they can interfere with your immunosuppression medication. You must also avoid foods which contain these foods such as Seville marmalade

Following good food safety practices especially around food storage and preparation is important.  When eating out you need to take more care; buffet food is often discouraged due to the spread of germs (unless you’re first in the queue!), ensuring all food is cooked thoroughly, checking if the cheeses on the cheeseboard are pasteurised or any dishes which may be home-made and contain raw egg or unpasteurised dairy products.  If in doubt, either avoid it or ask but don’t let it put you off eating out and enjoying food.

The hospital dietitians and transplant coordinators will be able to answer any queries you have. Don’t be afraid to ask.

Can I drink alcohol after liver transplant?

Many people choose to abstain as they worry it may affect their new liver. However, some will choose to have small amounts of alcohol or the occasional glass or two. Check with your own doctor to be sure.

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