How Does a Healthy Diet Help Fight Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. When hepatitis C becomes chronic (long-lasting), the virus causes inflammation, which can result in scarring and even liver damage. Hepatitis C also increases the risk of fatty liver disease, especially in people who are overweight, which can contribute to further liver damage.
Along with general healthy eating, reducing or eliminating liver-damaging beverages and food can help reduce inflammation, which in turn helps the liver fight hepatitis C.
To start, look for food high in omega-9 and omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation. Foods high in antioxidants also fight free radicals that can cause inflammation.
Foods and drinks that can cause inflammation
The following foods and drinks can trigger inflammation: alcohol, soda, fried food, processed food, lard, refined carbohydrates, red meat (which is high in cholesterol and salt), and foods that are high in unhealthy fats, sugar, and sodium (which can lead to inflammation, swelling, and weight gain).
The following beverages may help reduce inflammation:
- Tea, especially green tea
- Coffee (but be careful about adding too much cream and sugar)
- Lemon-infused water
The following foods may help reduce inflammation:
- Fruits: apples, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, oranges, cherries, and raspberries
- Leafy greens: spinach, kale, collards, and others
- Beans, which are high in fiber and phytonutrients
- High-fiber whole grains: oatmeal, bulgur, brown rice, and quinoa
- Olive oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil
- Nuts & seeds: almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds
- Chocolate. Dark chocolate which is 70% cocoa and less sugar is best
- Fresh Fish: Salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, snapper, cod, halibut, and bass. Season with olive oil and herbs, avoid breading or frying
Some herbs that help reduce inflammation include turmeric, fresh basil, thyme, oregano, curcumin, and chili pepper. How foods are prepared also helps reduce inflammation to the liver. Avoid frying and heavy breading. Bake, broil, grill, steam, or sauté to lessen destroying high0antioxidant properties in foods.
Tips for healthy eating
Here are some tips to help you change your diet:
- Drink pure or citrus-infused water all throughout the day and during your meal
- Plan meals ahead for the week
- Plan healthy snacks
- Eat smaller meals or a small healthy snack every 2 to 3 hours to help keep your blood sugar and metabolism up
- Keep a food log/diary; keeping track of what and when you eat, and the amounts help you form healthy habits
- The more sugar, salt and unhealthy fat you take out of your diet helps reduce cravings for these type of unhealthy foods
- Get moving with mild exercise such as walking, stretching exercises, strength exercises; these help muscle tone, boost metabolism, and help elevate chemicals in the brain that reduce depression
Healthy eating and daily changes help boost your immune system and reduce inflammation, which helps your liver be in better shape to fight hepatitis C.
Does reading hep C patient stories aid you in your journey?