Cirrhosis is described as the replacement of damaged liver cells by fibrous scar tissue which interrupts the liver's significant functions. Cirrhosis occurs as a result of excessive alcohol (most common), common viral hepatitis, obstruction of the bile ducts, and exposure to certain drugs or toxins.
People who have cirrhosis often experience loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and weight loss, making them look gaunt. Diet alone does not add to the development of liver disease. Those who are well nourished, but drink large amounts of alcohol, are also susceptible to liver disease.
Adults with cirrhosis need a balanced diet rich in protein to let the liver cells rejuvenate. However, excessive protein will cause an increased amount of ammonia in the blood; too little protein can reduce healing of the liver. A doctor is the best to prescribe the correct amount of protein for a person with cirrhosis.
In addition to protein, a balanced diet with sufficient calories, fats, and carbohydrates can actually help the damaged liver to renew liver cells. In fact, in some liver diseases, nutrition becomes an important form of treatment.
Grains and legumes are great protein sources for those who suffer from cirrhosis. Red meat should not be eaten since the liver is not working to its most favorable capacity and most likely will have trouble dealing with fats. Nuts, seeds, and soy products are also good sources of low-fat protein.
Oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain breads and pastas are also a part of a healthy balanced diet, as they are all whole grain carbohydrates that provide a steady supply of energy, important for your body’s ability to heal.
Cereals, breads, potatoes and legumes are great sources for the B-complex vitamins. These boost metabolism, maintain healthy skin and muscle tone, enhance immune and nervous system function, promote cell growth and division — including that of the red blood cells that help prevent anemia. As well, they also help combat the symptoms and causes of stress, which is important when you’re nursing your body back to health.
Citrus fruits, red berries, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, red and green bell peppers, cabbage, and spinach, are all great sources of vitamin C, which help to promote a healthy immune system. It’s vital to stay as healthy as possible during the healing process, so your body can focus on liver repair.
Together with plenty of rest and lots of fresh water to help flush the toxins from your body, a well-balanced nutrition plan should put you well on the road to recovery.