Though diet alone cannot cure hepatitis C or liver disease, it is vitally important in fighting hepatitis C and liver disease. Diet along with other proactive steps can help boost your immune system, reduce inflammation and fluid retention, and other complications associated with hepatitis C, fatty liver disease, and cirrhosis.
How Does Diet Help?
For patients with hepatitis C a healthy liver diet helps reduce inflammation, and fluid retention while helping liver function.
For patients with fatty liver disease, excessive fat builds up in the liver that can impair liver function, and damage liver tissue, causing the person to be at high risk for cancer and other complications. A healthy liver diet can reduce fat.
For patients with cirrhosis (severe scarring), malnutrition is a common problem as well as fluid retention. A healthy liver diet is vital in helping reduce these problems and other complications such as hepatic encephalopathy.
Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) also known as “brain fog.” HE can occur in decompensated cirrhosis when liver function is severely impaired, and the liver cannot flush toxins adequately out of the blood. These toxins travel to the brain causing confusion.
Along with complications from hepatic encephalopathy fluid build up in the abdomen and legs can occur. A healthy low sodium, protein balanced diet can help reduced complications.
My hepatologist and registered dietitian recommended these healthy diet guidelines to follow.
What Should I Eat?
- Fresh Fruits, and Vegetables
- Whole grains
- Lean proteins in balanced amounts such as poultry, fish, eggs, or plant-based proteins
- Nuts, and Seeds
- Low fat dairy
Eating smaller meals throughout the day and a healthy snack helps the liver. Eat beef on occasion, but primarily eat poultry, fish, low fat dairy and plant-based proteins.
What Should I Avoid?
- Alcohol of all types due to the toxic effects on the liver
- High sodium. Eat low salt (low sodium) foods
- Processed foods. Avoid fast foods, foods in cans, boxes, or bags. Fresh foods are best.
- High sugar and unhealthy fats
- Pork generally has a high sodium content, eat less pork and eat leaner proteins
Before you begin any diet consult with your doctor and a registered dietitian about a diet designed for your specific liver and medical condition.
What are you doing to help your liver?
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This entry was originally published on Life Beyond Hepatitis C on February 3, 2021 and is reprinted with permission.