Hepatitis is an inflammatory condition of the liver commonly caused by a viral infection. But it can also occur as a secondary result of medications, drugs, toxins, and alcohol. Today is World Hepatitis Day, which is commemorated each year to raise awareness about viral hepatitis – which include hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. Also Read – World Hepatitis Day 2020: Know all about hepatic encephalopathy
The theme of World Hepatitis Day 2020 is “Hepatitis-free future,” which is aimed at preventing hepatitis B among mothers and newborns. Caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV), this type of hepatitis is transmitted through blood and infected bodily fluids. The infection can be passed from an infected woman to her newborn during pregnancy or childbirth. Also Read – World Hepatitis Day 2020: Bring down your risk of liver cancer, a common fallout of Hepatitis C
If left untreated, hepatitis can lead to complications such as cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent or lower the risk of developing these complications. Besides taking prescription medications, you should eat the right foods and drink plenty of water to help boosts your liver health. Also Read – World Hepatitis Day 2020: Here’s what you can do if your child suffers from hepatitis
Diet for people with hepatitis
There is no special diet specific for hepatitis, but you need to follow a healthy diet that is low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Make sure complex carbohydrates and lean protein is the base of each meal. Include lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains (oats, brown rice, barley, quinoa), lean protein (fish, skinless chicken, egg whites, beans), low-fat or non-fat dairy products, and healthy fats (nuts, avocados, olive oil).
According to dietitians, you should fill one-quarter of your plate with high-fiber carbohydrates like whole grains, one-quarter with lean protein sources, and the remaining half with fruits and vegetables.
Also, you should drink plenty of fluids to help your body better process food and function well. Water is the best option. Experts suggest drinking 1 ounce of liquid for every 2 pounds of body weight each day. This means a person who weighs 180 pounds should drink 90 ounces of water a day.
Foods you should avoid if you have hepatitis
An unhealthy diet consisting of too much high-calorie greasy, fatty, or sugary food will make you gain weight and cause excess fat to build up in your liver. This can contribute to developing cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver. Excess fat in the liver can also reduce the effect of drugs that target the hepatitis virus. So, if you have hepatitis, avoid saturated fats (butter, sour cream, high-fat dairy foods, fatty cuts of meat, fried foods, etc.), sugary treats (cookies, cake, soda, and packaged baked goods) and foods high in salt.
According to dietitians, people with hepatitis should limit salt intake to less than 2,000 milligrams per day. This will help reduce fluid retention. Avoid canned soups, pickled meat, cheese, and processed foods that are high in salt. Before buying, read the food label for sodium content. A food is considered high in salt if it has more than 300 mg of sodium per serving.
If you drink, quit it. Alcohol in any form can prevent damaged liver cells from recovering. Alcohol could also lead to severe liver failure when combined with acetaminophen, the popular pain-relieving ingredient in over-the-counter medicines like Tylenol. Hepatitis patients are also advised to avoid raw or undercooked shellfish, which can harbor viruses and bacteria.