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CIRRHOSIS

FOODS THAT HARM

  • Salty foods, such as pickles
  • Alcohol

    FOODS THAT HEAL

  • Berries
  • Papayas
  • Bell peppers
  • Fortified and enriched cereals and breads
  • Soy
  • Peas
  • Legumes
  • Fish
  • Water

    FOODS TO LIMIT

  • Fatty foods

    WHO’S AFFECTED

  • Alcoholics and heavy drinkers
  • Those with chronic hepatitis C
  • More men than women
    In cirrhosis, a chronic progressive disease, normal liver cells are replaced by scar tissue
    Prolonged, heavy alcohol use is the most common cause, but cirrhosis may also result from hepatitis, inflammation or blockage of the bile ducts, inherited conditions, or a reaction to a drug or environmental toxin
    About 27,000 deaths per year are caused by cirrhosis in the United States
    Symptoms of cirrhosis include weight loss, nausea, vomiting, impotence, jaundice, and swelling of the legs
    People with cirrhosis often have distinctive abdominal swelling, known as ascites
    The liver damage is irreversible, but the progress of cirrhosis can be arrested and the complications treated with diet and other measures

    Nutrition Connection

    Don’t drink alcohol
    Avoiding alcohol is essential to prevent further liver damage
    Avoid sodium
    High amounts can cause your body to retain water, which can worsen swelling
    Eat a healthy diet
    Nutritional deficiencies are common so cover all the bases of balanced diet
    Fruits and vegetables can supply essential vitamins and nutrients, especially vitamin C, which helps strengthen the immune system
    Seek whole grains and healthy sources of carbohydrates, such as fortified and enriched whole wheat cereals or breads, for energy
    Eat small meals or snacks
    To combat appetite loss, small, frequent meals may be better than three large ones
    Eat lean sources of protein
    The recommended daily intake of protein for those with cirrhosis is 0
    54 g per lb (1
    2 g per kg) of body weight
    This is more than the amount that is recommended for healthy people
    Some evidence supports the use of vegetable protein foods such as soy, peas, and legumes, especially for people who develop mental confusion, a condition called hepatic encephalopathy
    Have healthy fats
    Moderate amounts of mono-and polyunsaturated fats (oily fish, olive oil, safflower oil) provide needed calories without overburdening the liver
    Drink lots of water
    People with cirrhosis should drink about four to six glasses of water and other clear liquids a day, especially if they’re dealing with ascites
    Look into supplements
    Because malnutrition is common in those with cirrhosis, a doctor may be able to help fill in your nutritional gaps with supplements

    Beyond the Diet

    Treatment of the underlying causes of cirrhosis may be essential to stopping liver damage
    These points offer a basic guide: Address addiction
    A treatment program for alcohol addiction may be necessary for those with cirrhosis
    Get on medication
    Those who have hepatitis B or C need medications, such as antiviral therapy that’s a combination of interferon and ribavirin to prevent further damage to the liver
    Exercise
    Obesity is becoming a common cause of cirrhosis, either as the sole cause or in combination with alcohol abuse, hepatitis C, or both