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Diet For Liver Cirrhosis Patient

Cirrhosis is a dangerous condition in which the liver becomes scarred or damaged. This vital digestive organ can slowly deteriorate and begin to malfunction due to several chronic conditions that affect it. Since this is a serious condition, it is important to manage it with proper treatment and diet.

A diet for liver cirrhosis is specifically designed keeping in mind the diminished capacity of the liver. It provides just the right amount of nutrients and calories required to heal the liver and resume its healthy functioning. It also prevents the liver from degenerating further.

Once diagnosed with cirrhosis, you may have to make several dietary changes. In order to meet your energy requirements, the consumption of calories becomes very important. Your dietician or nutritionist will recommend to you a diet to follow.

You can discuss the healthy foods for patients with liver cirrhosis with a dietician or your physician. Be careful though, because your liver produces the enzymes that are required to digest fats. Therefore, you need to keep a check on the kind of fats you consume and the quantity in which you consume them. You will need to include more carbohydrates and starchy foods such as potatoes, peas, corn, cereals, and breads in your diet. Moreover, your liver disease may also disturb your blood sugar levels, and therefore, it is best to avoid fruit juices and sweets. Instead, consume fruits that contain several minerals and vitamins along with roughage. If you want to consume juices for a healthy liver, freshly squeezed carrot juice, which can help detoxify your liver, is a good choice.

Foods To Avoid

When you are suffering from a liver condition, it is important to take care of your diet. You will need to limit certain foods in your diet and avoid some others completely. Here are some of the things you need to consider:
  • Sodium: Sodium causes fluid retention in the body, and this can cause a lot of swelling. Avoid eating salty foods or foods that contain sodium products. You can discuss a low sodium diet with your doctor. In any case, avoid processed and deli meats, vegetable juice, canned vegetables, processed and frozen meals, potato chips and packaged snacks, soy sauce and teriyaki sauce, packaged soups, and table salt.
  • Caffeinated beverages: Caffeine is not healthy for you, especially when you are suffering from a liver disease such as cirrhosis. Also limit fruit juices, soda and gelatin.
  • Raw foods: While raw foods may be healthy for you, they should be limited when you have a liver condition. Limit your daily intake of salads and raw vegetables. You can discuss the quantity of raw foods to eat with your health care practitioner.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol is poison for your liver. Even if your liver is healthy, you should drink alcohol, if at all, only socially. However, when your liver is not healthy, you should avoid alcohol completely.

Diet Chart for Liver Cirrhosis

A typical diet for liver cirrhosis is low in fats and proteins. While fats should be eliminated from the diet completely, you can consume healthier sources of proteins such as:
  • Lean cuts of meat, poultry or fish such as mackerel, salmon and tuna
  • Low fat dairy products such as low fat yogurt and skimmed milk
  • Egg whites
  • Peanut butter
  • Tofu
  • Cottage cheese
  • Kidney beans
Here’s a sample diet for liver cirrhosis:

  • Breakfast: Eat low protein sandwiches with thin slices of chicken or turkey and salads such as cucumber, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, sprouts or lettuce. You can also consume a bowl of cooked oats with milk, a small fruit and a cup of orange or carrot juice.
  • Mid-day meal: Snack on a sandwich made from morning leftovers. Use peanut butter instead of regular butter. A cup of low fat yogurt and two arrowroot biscuits is also a good mid-day snack option.
  • Lunch: A bowl of fresh fruits or alfalfa sprouts, whole wheat bread, a cup of boiled or sautéed vegetables such as broccoli, beans and carrots, a chicken breast and a cup of yogurt.
  • Evening snack: A small fruit and a cup of milk.
  • Dinner: Fried rice with vegetables made from brown rice, cottage cheese and boiled vegetables like cauliflower and mashed potatoes, half a cup of pineapple and tossed salad.

While maintaining a low protein diet, you should also try to increase the amount of carbohydrates in your meals. Avoid consuming fats and use healthier fats such as olive oil and rapeseed oil. Use low fat alternatives for mayonnaise and other such high calorie fatty foods. Drinking wine with your meals and smoking are not recommended. Avoid consuming canned fruits with heavy syrup as that could increase blood sugar. Maintain consumption of about 1,800 to 2,000 calories a day.


Submitted on January 16, 2014