and Hepatitis C
is inappropriate to recommend that people with Hepatitis C or
any other liver disease change their diet in a radical manner.
However, having a consistent diet of healthy nutrients
will greatly assist your energy levels.
Combine this with regular low to moderate exercise and
you will notice your general feeling of well being begins to
perhaps ludicrously simple and overlooked technique of improving
digestive function is to encourage proper chewing of
food and to eat under restful conditions.
People too often in our stressed-out culture, will bolt
their food. This does affect the next stage of digestion in the stomach and
in turn the absorption of nutrients later in the digestive process. Eating under relaxed conditions maximizes parasympathetic
nervous system function and allows for maximum nutrient digestion
A very important benefit of eating fresh whole foods
is that they contain enzymes.
These are substances that help the body digest food and
are found only in living food.
High temperatures kill enzymes so most processed food
require a lot more effort by the liver to digest them. The use of certain spices such as ginger, is another simple way
of enhancing digestive and liver function.
Hot spices such as pepper or chilli are contra-indicated
in Hepatitis C but other slightly warm to neutral (energetically)
spices such as ginger, fennel, cardamon or cumin are warranted
in any diet for Hepatitis C. Bitter foods and ginger are also
very good in helping to alleviate nausea and in stimulating
Dairy foods are often not tolerated well by
people with liver dysfunction.
A simple way of determining if dairy foods are having
an affect upon your health is to abstain from dairy foods for
a period of 4-6 weeks. Carefully observe any differences in health, such as abdominal bloating,
gas, fullness, stool consistency, tiredness, depression, skin
rashes etc. After the
end of the period of abstinence, you should then have a thorough
splurge on dairy products and once again compare your sense
of well being.
Drinking 2-3 litres of water each day is universally
recommended for good health, but also protects against lymphatic
congestion - which can put further strain on the liver.
As with other suggestions it is advisable to tune into
the needs of your own body as there may be individual differences.
- The four golden rules for ensuring good immune function
- Get some protein at every meal.
- Include some essential fats in your diet each day.
- Eat at least 2 cups of salad or vegetables each day.
- Avoid excessive sugar and hydrogenated fat.
It is recommended that there be an emphasis on as wide a variety
of fruits and vegetables as possible in the diet. Research is constantly validating that vegetables
are a rich source of anti-oxidants which are most important
for minimizing free radical damage within the body. This is particularly so in any condition of chronic inflammation
like hepatitis. It's
a good idea to eat fruits and vegetables that are in season
Vegetable juices (fresh whenever possible, otherwise
preservative free) have a particular
nature that helps lessen the bloated and stagnant feelings
often associated with liver conditions.
Vegetable juices act to flush out the body and relieve
some of the symptoms that people with liver disease experience
such as heaviness and lethargy. There are no strict proportions to be followed
so experiment for yourself.
Some juices are very strong so you may like to dilute
them initially with water.
The only caution is with carrot juice (high levels of
Vitamin A can irritate the liver), or spinach juice (high levels
of oxalic acid). Best
vegetable juices are celery, cucumber, broccoli and beetroot
(tops and bottoms). Best
fruit juices are lemon juice, apple, pineapple, pear, paw-paw,
mango and melons as well as red berries.
It has been suggested that it is best to drink melon
juice on its own and not mixed with any other fruit.
Eat more wholegrains, rice and legumes (beans, lentils, barley,
split peas). These give
you better quality energy.
Some people describe symptoms such as bloating, gas and
indigestion after eating some of these foods.
If you experience these or other problems after eating
particular foods either reduce your intake of the food or cut
it out altogether. Wholegrains
and their products are an important source of vitamins
from the B group and minerals like zinc that
are essential for so many functions within our bodies, inclusive
of liver and proper immune function. Processed grains and their subsequent products
are definitely not as nutritious as wholegrain.
Try and buy organic foods if you can afford
them - they have less added chemicals, therefore cause less
stress on the liver. Naturopathically
the emphasis is on eating free range chicken to minimize the
amount of chemical and hormonal residues that are in chickens
raised under modern commercial methods. The liver of a person with Hepatitis C does
not need any further toxins to deal with, especially from a
regular source like food.
Red meats are very potent foods and require
a lot of effort to digest; nutritionally excellent in moderation,
but often high in fats and toxins.
Meat will take a minimum of 8-10 hours to be digested,
often sitting in the bowel the whole night adding a further
burden to your body.
Generally you should try to
broaden your diet and keep away from food that requires the
liver to work harder.
Variety is very important. Eating too much of one type of food (e.g. fruit) will not
make up for not eating another type of food (e.g. vegetables). A good diet will be made up of a balanced intake
of all of the essential building blocks called 'macronutrients'. These are Proteins, Essential Fats and Carbohydrates. For proper functioning of the immune system,
you need to focus on getting plenty of protein and enough essential
When protein foods are broken down (digested) by the body,
amino acids are produced. Amino
acids are the building blocks for our entire body.
Amino acids and the new proteins made from them are essential
to build, maintain and repair the body and all its symptoms. Protein comes from a number of sources including meat, chicken,
fish, textured vegetable protein (TVP), eggs, dairy foods, nuts
(many people have adverse reactions to peanuts, best to avoid),
seeds, soya beans (tofu and tempeh) and other legumes.
Protein foods will also provide other macro and micronutrients
(e.g. from meat we get iron, zinc and B-group vitamins; from
dairy foods we also get calcium, vitamin A and D; legumes, pulses,
nuts and seeds are an excellent source of fibre).
A number of people have described feeling heavy or bloated
for quite a while after eating red meat such as beef.
If you have similar problems reduce your intake or cut
it out completely.
Fats, when digested, provide fatty acids which are needed
for the proper function of your body.
There are four different types of fat found in food but
not all of them are needed by the body.
Essential fats (which mainly come from polyunsaturated
and monounsaturated fats) can only be supplied by food.
The main types of fat are:
Monounsaturated fats: come from vegetables, seeds and plants. They are important in keeping your heart healthy
and your immune system functioning.
These fats should be included in the diet regularly:
olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, cashews, pecans, hazelnuts,
macadamias, almonds, avocado.
Polyunsaturated fats: come from vegetables, seeds, plants, fish and fish oils; they
are vital for keeping your heart healthy, your immune system
working and your brain functioning optimally.
These fats should be included in the diet regularly.
Omega-3 fats (from linseed, fish and fish oil) and Omega-6
fats (from vegetable oils) perform important functions in your
immune system. Examples include sunflower oil, safflower oil,
fish and fish oil, linseed and flaxseed oil, soybean oil, sesame
oil, most nuts and seeds (e.g. evening primrose oil, walnuts).
Saturated fats: can
be used as an energy source in helping cells work, or stored
away as body fat. A
small amount is essential (and unavoidable) in the diet.
Examples include cream, milk fat, some dairy fats, some
animal fats, lard, copha, ghee, dripping, palm oil, coconut
hydrogenated (trans) fats: are processed fats that cannot be used effectively by the
body; they are stored as body fat, raise cholesterol levels
and have many other detrimental health effects.
They possibly hinder the immune system and they should
be avoided wherever possible. Examples include hydrogenated vegetable oils
(e.g. margarine), potato crisps and other snack foods (e.g.
Twisties, Burger Rings), donuts, muffins, pasties, pies, sausage
rolls, hot chips, cakes, biscuits and many fast foods.
Carbohydrates are quite different from protein or fat. They are burnt as energy in the body, not used
as building blocks. All
carbohydrate foods are broken down into a sugar called glucose
(the type of sugar found in your blood stream).
Glucose is the body's energy source but to use this energy
effectively, first you need to make sure you are getting enough
of the other macronutrients and micronutrients.
Glucose that is not needed for energy is stored as body
fat usually around your middle.
There are two types of carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates (sugary foods) are broken
down into glucose very quickly and rapidly affect blood sugar
levels. Excess sugar
appears to depress the functioning of the immune system and
can be stored away by the body as body fat, so it is best to
avoid a lot of these foods. A high intake of simple carbohydrates in the
diet may also worsen fatigue and deplete energy. Try to choose foods with less than 10gms of sugars per 100gms (read
the nutrition information panel on labels).
Complex carbohydrates (starchy foods) are more slowly broken
down into glucose and are the better type of carbohydrate to
choose; they also provide a good source of fibre, B-group vitamins,
zinc, iron and some other micronutrients.
The less processed the carbohydrate food is, the more
nutrients it will contain. You can fill up with complex carbohydrates,
but first be sure you are getting enough protein and essential
Food labels list all ingredients in the product in descending
order. The ingredient
present in the largest amount will appear on the label first,
then the second largest and so on.
Many labels also tell you how much fat there is in a
serve of the food, and in 100g of the food.
Many people may be confused by different names for similar
ingredients on food labels. It is useful to know just how many different
ingredients are actually fat.
Sometimes there is more than one type of fat in a food
which, if they were all listed as fat, would come much higher
up on the list.
may appear on food labels as vegetable oil or fat, animal oil
or fat, shortening, copha, lard, coconut oil, palm oil, butter
fat, milk solids, chocolate, chocolate chips.
'Creamed' or 'toasted'
on a label may also indicate that fat was added during
or 'Lite' do not necessarily mean less
fat or lower in kilojoules.
Compare nutrition labels of different brands of similar
products to help you decide.
'No cholesterol' or 'cholesterol free' doesn't mean low
fat. Foods made with
vegetable oil will have no cholesterol but can still be high
in fat. A bottle of
vegetable oil has no cholesterol but is still nearly 100% fat. Dr.