Having hepatitis C doesn’t usually require you follow a special diet. However, because nausea is a major side effect of the liver-attacking virus, making a few alterations may prove beneficial, says the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Here’s how hepatitis C affects diet:
- Patients being treated with Interferon may experience difficulty eating, loss of appetite, sore mouth and throat, metallic tastes, nausea and vomiting.
- Patients with cirrhosis may lose their appetite, causing fatigue, also making it difficult to eat. As the sickness progresses, people can become too thin and malnourished, making it difficult to fight off the virus.
- Patients with preexisting medical conditions may require further dietary restrictions. Conditions that warrant said restrictions include high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes mellitus,
Whatever stage of hepatitis C you have, follow these guidelines below to avoid causing damage to your liver.
General dietary advice:
- Eat regular, balanced meals: This means eating at least 3 meals a day or snacks at least every 3 to 4 hours from all 4 food groups.
- Maintain healthy calorie intake: The FDA recommends 2,000 calories daily for a balanced diet.
- Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of fluid a day: This will aid in calming side effects like nausea and diarrhea.
- Eat whole-grain cereals, breads, and grains: Brown rice, wild rice, oatmeal, and whole rye are always great options. Grits are also full of essential vitamins and minerals.
- Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables containing potassium, fiber, vitamin C, beta-carotene and folic acid to fight off cell damage.
- Protein is king: The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) recommends 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound, which equates to 56 grams of protein per day for men and 46 grams per day for women. Protein is needed to fight infection and to heal damaged liver cells.
- Go easy on fatty, salty, and sugary foods: Bad or good, they can add on unwanted pounds, making it difficult to do what’s next on our list…
- Maintain a healthy weight
Here are some things to avoid:
- Acetaminophen, if combined with alcohol, can kill liver cells.
- Ibuprofen can affect how well platelets clot blood.
- Naproxen can also affect blood clotting.
- Sleeping pills or tranquilizers
- Shy away from dietary supplements.
- Weight loss products can also harm your liver.