The Hepatitis C diet is based on healthy foods that can boost the overall health of the patient. There are no special foods that have to be eaten but the patients who have hepatitis C along with other chronic diseases and following a complete medical treatment plan will have to follow an individually tailored diet plan.
Hepatitis C Diet: An overview
Most people with hepatitis C do not require a stringent diet plan. However, a healthy lifestyle with the right balance of food and exercise is necessary. The Hepatitis C virus primarily affects the liver cells. The liver deals with digestion and metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and sugars that are found in food along with detoxification of the body. When it is affectedby hepatitis C, its functioning is affected resulting in fatigue, joint pan, belly pain, itchy skin, sore muscles, dark urine and jaundice. Acute stage Hepatitis may shift over to chronic hepatitis too in a few patients resulting in long term symptoms.
Recommended food for the Hepatitis C Diet
The aim of the hepatitis C diet is to help the patient have a balanced diet without compromising on health. A recommended list of foods for the diet will be-
- Boost intake of fresh foods and vegetables.
- Increase the intake of fish as much as possible.
- Increase the eating of nuts, and eggs in lieu of meats to boost protein intake
- Choose whole wheat grains, breads, pastas, brown rice that are organic and chemical free.
Contraindicated Foods for Hepatitis C Patients
- Consumption of all processed foods should be kept to a minimum to help the liver.
- Avoid the consumption of all raw vegetables and fruits.
- Avoid sugar and foods that are filled with excess sugar, salts and fats.
- Alcohol is completely contraindicated in patients with hepatitis C. Alcohol is processed by the liver and it can speed up the progression of Hepatitis C and negate the effects of Hepatitis C medication.
Guidelines for the Hepatitis C Diet
The Hepatitis C Support Project states that patients with hepatitis C can maintain a nutritious diet if they follow the Food Guide Pyramid. General guidelines for a healthy diet are as follows:
- Fatigue is an integral part of the disease. Work schedules should be slowed down and stress reduced as much as possible
- Smaller meals that are low in fat and sugars are recommended.
- Soft and liquid foods at room temperature are ideal.
- All spicy foods that may aggravate nausea or itchy skin conditions are best avoided
- Dairy products may be curtailed if they aggravate nausea. Substitute with soy milk, rice milk or plant milk
- Patients may develop depression due to the strong anti-viral medications. Consulting a counselor or a doctor for antidepressant medications is advised.
- If the patient has related medical conditions like liver cirrhosis and is on strong medications, it is recommended that the patient get in touch with an expert dietician for in-depth nutritional guidance.