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Liver Cirrhosis: What To Do And What To Eat

Liver cirrhosis is an ongoing, irreversible liver sickness described by a sluggish and moderate course. The liver plays a crucial part in our body; it is engaged with various cycles, like the processing of food, the digestion of medications and the creation of proteins, incorporating those associated with blood thickening. Within sight of cirrhosis, the liver cells, its design and the bloodstream inside it are modified, undermining their ordinary capabilities.

Causes And Symptoms Of Liver Cirrhosis

The causes of liver cirrhosis can be:

  • HBV ( hepatitis B infection ) or HCV ( hepatitis C infection ) disease.
  • Chronic alcohol abuse.
  • Autoimmune diseases (autoimmune cirrhosis and primary biliary cirrhosis).
  • Metabolic disorders (Wilson’s disease and hemochromatosis).
  • Vascular diseases (which generate stasis or blood stagnation in the liver).
  • External toxic agents and drugs.

Initially, liver cirrhosis does not produce any symptoms. In the advanced stage, various conditions and disorders may occur.

Symptoms of advanced cirrhosis:

  • Anorexia.
  • Weight loss.
  • Loss of muscle mass.

Symptoms of terminal cirrhosis:

  • Jaundice and itching.
  • Appearance of ascites (accumulation of fluid inside the abdominal cavity).
  • Leg edema.
  • Coagulation alterations, easy bleeding (ecchymosis and petechiae).
  • Formation of varicose veins and possible rupture with gastrointestinal bleeding.
  • Hepatic encephalopathy (modifications of consciousness, personality and neuromuscular function).
  • Hepatorenal syndrome (kidney failure secondary to cirrhosis).
  • (liver cancer).
  • Portal thrombosis (obstruction or narrowing of the portal vein that carries blood from the intestine to the liver).

Also Read: Nutrition And Mental Health: Foods To Balance The Mind

Diet For Liver Cirrhosis

The cirrhosis diet is based on the principles of healthy eating, as varied as possible and without particular restrictions, but the consumption of alcohol is prohibited.

Forbidden foods:

  • Wine, beer (including light and non-alcoholic), spirits in general, alcoholic cocktails, and soft drinks (carbonated, sugary and 0 kcal drinks ).
  • All foods that contain alcohol, such as sweets (e.g. babà), filled chocolates, etc.

The diet must be balanced and adapted to the person’s needs and their real energy needs: avoiding eating a lot to avoid gaining weight or eating less to avoid losing weight improves the course of the disease. Fasting periods should also be avoided.

  • Divide your diet into three main meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and three snacks (mid-morning, mid-afternoon, after dinner).

Diet For Liver Cirrhosis With Ascites

When liver cirrhosis is accompanied by ascites (accumulation of fluid in the abdomen), the rules of the diet do not change except for the consumption of salt.

  • According to the WHO (World Health Organization), salt consumption should not exceed 5 grams per day, resulting in a sodium intake of less than 2 grams. Sticking to a moderate intake of salt in your diet is essential for those suffering from cirrhosis and ascites.

To reduce salt consumption, you need to:

  • Avoid adding salt to foods already on the table.
  • Use spices and aromatic herbs to flavor dishes (parsley, basil, sage, oregano, pepper, bay leaf, rosemary, marjoram, thyme, chili pepper )
  • Avoid seasoning first courses and vegetable purées with salt. A trick to reduce salt is to use a teaspoon (5g) of grated Grana Padano DOP in its place, which, in addition to giving a lot of flavor, is rich in calcium, noble proteins (with nine essential amino acids), vitamins necessary for health such as B12 and antioxidants such as vitamin A, zinc and selenium.
  • Reduce the frequency of foods with a high salt content, such as canned, smoked, cured and sliced ​​foods; foods in oil and vinegar; elaborate sauces (ketchup, mustard, mustards, mayonnaise, Genoese pesto, ragù, etc.); cooking cubes or preparations for broth; savory snacks (chips, peanuts, pistachios, etc.); cornflakes, pre-cooked polenta, pizza mixes; sweet and delicious baked goods (crackers, breadsticks, snacks, etc.).
  • Choose, when possible, product lines with low salt content (salt-free bread, low-salt tuna, etc.)

Diet For Liver Cirrhosis Malnutrition

In the presence of cirrhosis, lack of appetite, taste alteration, nausea, vomiting, early satiety and unjustified food restrictions are among the leading causes of malnutrition. In these complicated cases of malnutrition, it is necessary to increase food consumption and eating habits.

It is, therefore, suitable:

  • Split meals.
  • Enrich snacks, for example, with a slice of homemade dessert (plumcake, tart, etc.); an ice cream, a pudding; or you can eat a sandwich with butter and jam or honey, bland bread with walnuts, bland bread with raisins, bland bread with ricotta, toast with flakes of Grana Padano DOP, honey and a piece of fruit, etc.
  • Add small quantities of dried fruit ;
  • Consume more raw olive oil.

Check your weight daily, together with measuring your abdominal circumference, informing your doctor in case of significant sudden changes.

  • Be careful, however, because those who have liver cirrhosis with ascites can lose weight ( lean mass ) even if the scale does not detect it. Weight loss may, in fact, be masked by the simultaneous increase in fluid (ascites) in the abdominal cavity. Still, malnutrition may have already caused a decrease in lean mass, for example, muscles.

Diet For Liver Cirrhosis With Encephalopathy

In the presence of hepatic encephalopathy, attention must be paid to the quality and quantity of second courses, as a reduction in proteins is advisable. The consumption of meat should, therefore, be limited (3 portions of 120 g each per week; 2 of white meat and 1 of red meat), fish, cold cuts and eggs, preferring as a second course:

  • Milk derivatives, fresh or mature cheeses such as Grana Padano DOP (maximum one teaspoon of 5 g of grated cheese to season first courses or pureed vegetables);
  • Legumes (fresh or dried), such as beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas, soya, broad beans, to be cooked without salt;
  • Foods that promote intestinal regularity, i.e. rich in fiber, such as greens, fruit and whole foods, which must be increased compared to refined ones.

Food supplements based on branched-chain amino acids must be taken only upon prescription from your doctor.

Also Read: Liver And Kidneys

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CultFits is a resource which provides complete information regarding Fitness, Health, Fashion, Lifestyle, Proteins & nutrition's, Diet and also shares the Do's and don'ts for maintaining proper Fitness and Fashion.

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