Nutrition Guide For Cirrhosis Of The Liver

Cirrhosis is a condition when your liver is scarred and becomes permanently damaged. Because of this damage, scar tissue replaces healthy tissue, which inhibits your liver from functioning properly. Advanced stages of cirrhosis can lead to liver failure and are life-threatening. However, when cirrhosis of the liver is diagnosed early, further damage can be limited. One of the most effective ways to prevent further damage is to maintain a healthy weight and eat a healthy diet. 

What To Eat When You Have Cirrhosis

Some of the most common causes of cirrhosis of the liver include drinking too much alcohol, being overweight, or having viral hepatitis. However, you can reduce your risk of cirrhosis by altering your diet to include fruits and vegetables, selecting whole grains, lean protein sources, and reducing your intake of fatty foods. Here at Birmingham Gastroenterology, we have compiled a list of the best foods to eat and avoid for cirrhosis of the liver. 

What To Eat

Those with cirrhosis of the liver should aim to eat foods high in protein, incorporating both plant and animal sources of protein. Increasing your intake of high-quality, minimally processed, and nutrient-dense foods can help to keep your liver working at an optimal level. 

1. Fruits And Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are always great choices. Nutrient-dense options include apples, oranges, peaches, plums, pears, cauliflower, broccoli, peas, potatoes, tomatoes, and asparagus.

2. Whole Grain Carbohydrates

A study conducted by the National Institute of Health found that the consumption of whole grains for 12 weeks had beneficial effects on the health of participants’ livers, including a decrease in symptoms associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Some great options to include in your diet are quinoa, oats, brown rice, buckwheat, and barley sprouts. 

3. Lean Proteins 

When dealing with cirrhosis of the liver, it is important to eat lean sources of protein throughout the day. Lean animal proteins include eggs, milk, seafood, and lean cuts of meat and poultry. Other sources of protein can come from vegetable sources such as lentils, beans, and tofu.

What Not To Eat

When you have cirrhosis of the liver, it is important to limit your intake of foods and drinks that are difficult for the liver to process.

1. Alcohol

Alcohol, including wine, beer, cocktails, and spirits, is among one of the worst things you can put in your body when dealing with cirrhosis of the liver. Alcohol can cause swelling and inflammation in your liver, only leading to further damage. It is highly recommended not to drink any alcohol at all.

2. Fatty Foods

High consumption of fatty foods may lead to health conditions such as obesity, heart disease, and some types of cancer— not to mention wreaking havoc on your liver. Foods to steer clear of include fast foods, butter, vegetable shortening, and fried foods. 

3. Raw Or Undercooked Meat And Seafood

When dealing with cirrhosis of the liver, it is important to stay away from raw or undercooked meat and seafood. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases suggests bacteria and viruses from these foods may cause severe infections in people with cirrhosis. 

4. Sugar

We all know too much sugar can have adverse effects on our bodies. Those with cirrhosis of the liver should be even more careful when it comes to their consumption of the sweet stuff. Foods to avoid or enjoy only in moderation include candy, milkshakes, soda, cookies, pastries, frozen meals, and some cereals. 

If you are looking for more ways to improve your liver health, Birmingham Gastroenterology can help. We have decades of experience treating diseases and disorders in all parts of the digestive system. To make an appointment to discuss your symptoms and treatment options, call us at (205) 271-8000.

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