Dealing with liver disease or any chronic illness can be challenging enough and can bring an out of control feeling. Your diet is something you can control. It gives you a sense of being behind the wheel with your health. The liver is the powerhouse of the body. It is the second largest organ and helps with many vital functions. When our liver is unhealthy, it affects our entire body, even your immune system, which helps you fight disease. Hepatitis C is a virus that affects the liver, causing inflammation and fibrosis. Sometimes called hep C or HCV, it is carried by the blood and other bodily fluids.
What you eat, drink and expose to your body is chemically broken down by your liver and affects your immune system and many other functions of your body. We need good foods to help us when we have hepatitis C. The virus attacks our liver, so it makes sense to eat the right foods. We can focus on foods that are easy for the liver to digest. It’s also important to eat foods that help the liver to heal.
Nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables promote liver health when you have hepatitis C. A healthful and balanced diet should include plenty of fruit and vegetables. These food groups are full of necessary vitamins and minerals that enable the liver to function properly. People should aim to consume at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
Getting adequate amounts of protein is important, as it provides energy and can keep a person feeling full. Tasty options include barley, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and bread, and oats, which make a great breakfast. Whole grains keep the high-fiber, nutritious parts of the kernel, the bran and the germ, which are mostly removed from white bread, white flour, and white pasta, so avoid these options.
There are also things that people with hepatitis C should try to avoid or limit in their diet due to the effects they may have on the liver. People need to follow healthy diet plans and cut down their intake such as alcohol, fat, iron and salt.
Avoiding alcohol is one thing you can do to slow down the risk of developing liver failure. No amount of alcohol is safe for someone who has a hepatitis C infection. Cirrhosis and liver cancer can develop earlier in people with hepatitis C who drink alcohol. When people who have a chronic hepatitis C infection drink alcohol, liver damage develops faster.
Small amounts of fat and oils are important to store energy, protect body tissues, and transport vitamins round the blood. However, fat can also cause abnormalities, such as a fatty buildup in the liver, leading to cirrhosis.
People who have chronic hepatitis C have problems releasing iron. Excess iron can cause an overload in the blood and organs. Iron is important for the body to function so should not be eliminated entirely. However, too much iron in your body can cause an enlarged liver, liver failure, liver cancer, or cirrhosis, and these risks may be heightened when you’re living with hepatitis C.
People who experience abdomen fluid should restrict their sodium intake per day. This is difficult as many foods have a surprisingly high salt content. If it is necessary for you limit your sodium intake, avoid adding salt to food and check the salt content of food products you consume.