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Hepatitis C: Role of Diet

Thursday, 03 Mar 2011 02:11 PM

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Hepatitis C is a condition where the liver is infected with the damaging hepatitis c virus. It can stay in remission for several years or gradually worsen causing cirrhosis of the liver. Cirrhosis of the liver is a condition that causes the liver to become extensively scarred, making it unable to perform its functions effectively. This inability can result in gastrointestinal problems or esophageal problems, and can eventually lead to liver failure.
 
Symptoms of Hepatitis C include weakness, jaundice, itching, varicose veins, loss of appetite, weight loss, easy bruising, and bleeding. If symptoms go untreated, they may worsen and eventually cause cirrhosis or liver failure.
 
While medication exists for the treatment of hepatitis c, most have certain side effects. A good diet may control worsening of hepatitis c. A diet for hepatitis c includes foods rich in minerals and vitamins like fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy products, fish, meat, grains, legumes, whole grains, and cereals.
 
When following a diet for hepatitis C, one should avoid fatty foods, and foods high in sugar and salt. These types of food interfere with the functioning of the liver. An already affected liver finds it difficult to filter food rich in fat, sugar, or salt. These foods may also cause a chemical imbalance in the body due to sugar or salt overload. This in turn affects the functioning of the liver.
 
Avoid alcohol when following a hepatitis c diet plan. Alcohol has several negative effects on the functioning of the liver and worsens liver damage and liver scarring. Avoid food containing preservatives or ready to eat food that contains chemicals. These chemicals reduce the effect of hepatitis c medication.
 
Hepatitis c diet recommendations include drinking plenty of fluids in the form of water, soup, fruit juices, or green tea. This helps in diluting and removing toxins from the body and improves liver health.
 
Take dietary supplements only upon recommendation from your doctor. Dietary supplements can increase the concentration of certain vitamins or minerals that can become toxic to the liver.
 
A diet for hepatitis C is effective if several small meals are eaten at regular intervals; at least three to four meals a day. This ensures regular energy flow and does not interfere with the function of the liver. A balanced diet for hepatitis C should provide the bulk of food through carbohydrates that contain whole grains and are rich in fiber and protein.Good sources of fiber include wheat, bran, oats, barley, and leafy vegetables. Good sources of protein are meat, fish, egg, milk, and cheese.
 
Hepatitis C and diet are interlinked. While a good diet can reduce the symptoms of hepatitis C and prevent it from worsening, a poor diet can affect the liver and cause excessive scarring and permanent damage.
 
Along with a good diet for hepatitis C, one should also get regular exercise and reduce stress. Exercise kick starts the body functions and increases metabolism and overall health.

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