Eating a healthy, low fat, low protein, high fluid, rich carbohydrate diet will help your liver recover quickly. Meats, pulses, butter or ghee, put a strain on an anyway affected organ. So these foods must be avoided. Doctors and nutritionists recommend increasing the intake of following substances to hasten recovery of the liver. Celebrity Nutritionist Nmami Agarwal brings you some perils when it comes to eating right for those who have jaundice. Food is the greatest source of energy provider for the body, and nothing can work if the person’s diet is not supportive enough for the medicines to work. A well-balanced diet not just keeps you healthy but provides you with a variety of nutrients which are essential to keep diseases at bay. It is best to keep in mind to consume all the five food groups, namely- carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals with enough hydration and roughage.
Jaundice Diet: Do's
1# Whole grains
Eating whole grains like whole wheat, millets, buckwheat, oats, rice, and quinoa may speed up the recovery from jaundice and provide your body with much-needed energy. Due to their high fibre content, whole grains help support healthy digestion by giving bulk to stools and is beneficial to take off extra load from the liver. Consume your gains in the form of porridge, khichdi, pancakes, chapatti, or cheela. In the initial phase of recovery, focus more on semi-liquid consistency of grains through porridge or khichdi.
Nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are healthy fatty acids required for critical body processes like brain functioning and better liver health. Nuts are low in carbs, high in good fats, and a great source of several nutrients, like magnesium, and selenium. All nuts like cashews, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, walnuts are beneficial but amongst all these walnuts contain the highest amount of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids making them stand out with a nutrient-dense package. Walnuts are also rich in an amino acid called arginine that supports natural liver cleansing.
3# Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables contain many vitamins and minerals including vitamins A (beta-carotene), C and E, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous and folic acid. They are low in fat, salt, and sugar, are a good source of dietary fibre and digestive enzymes. Fruits contain phytochemicals which are biologically active substances that can help to protect you from liver diseases. Additionally, antioxidants present in fruits support detoxification and helps to get rid of toxins and harmful free radicals.
4# Legumes and pulses
Plant-based protein sources like pulses and legumes including kidney and other beans, peas, lentils, and peanuts, black-eyed lentil, horse gram are liver-friendly foods, and enhance recovery from jaundice. Legumes and pulses are highly nutritious, having plenty of protein and fibre. They’re also easy to cook, versatile and widely available.
5# Herbs and spices
Herbs and spices add flavor to the food and they make it easier to recover from jaundice die to the concentrated doses of nutrients they provide. Garlic contains a powerful antioxidant called allicin that supports liver detoxification. Cinnamon improves glycogen synthesis in the liver. Cumin can act as an anti-inflammatory substance and aids in digestion. Mint leaves have cooling properties and help aid digestion.
Don’ts For Diet For Jaundice Patients
Nmami says that there should be caution given to certain food items for those who have jaundice. Jaundice is caused due to an inflamed liver which leads to the build-up of bilirubin in the body which is a yellow-colour pigment that is mostly extracted out. Whatever you consume directly affects your liver and its functioning. A well-balanced and healthy diet can help your liver to work effectively while clearing out the toxins from the body while a lousy diet can worsen the situation. Here are some foods to avoid if you have jaundice.
1# Salty and packaged food
Processed and packaged food items contain plenty of preservatives to save them for later use and can easily affect the already damaged liver. Frozen meats, canned foods and beverages, white bread, wafers, pasta and other similar foods items are filled with nitrates and sulphates (salty preservatives) that can dehydrate your body while hampering the various bodily processes which stresses the condition of the liver. Always keep an eye on the consumption of salty foods as too much sodium can inhibit the functioning. Switch to easily digestible foods like porridge, stew, soups, khichdi etc.
2# Fried & fatty foods
Fried foods are filled with oil and saturated (bad) fats and can accumulate the fat in the liver while making it even weaker, leading to something called fatty liver. Processed cheese, creams, fries, chips, desserts are filled with unhealthy fats and preservatives and hence cutting the consumption of such foods can prove beneficial for jaundice recovery.
Also Read: These Fatty Foods Are Good For Weight Loss
3# Raw and uncooked foods
A high risk of contamination lies in the consumption of raw and uncooked foods that can easily take a toll on the spoiled liver. Uncooked foods can sometimes hold bacteria and other microbes that can negatively affect the liver. Also, due to the weakness prevailed by jaundice, such foods are hard to digest and can worsen the symptoms of jaundice as well. Avoid raw salads or vegetables in raw form. Also, avoid raw or undercooked meat/ seafood.
Jaundice weakens the liver, and due to the direct impact of alcohol on the liver, it can negatively worsen the symptoms of jaundice. The breakdown of toxic chemicals present in alcohol can trigger liver inflammation and can also lead to liver cirrhosis, only worsening the already compromised liver from jaundice.
Not many of us know that jaundice is not a disease, but more of a symptom that indicates trouble with the liver or pancreas, gall bladder or red blood cells. Although jaundice is not that common in adults, there are some reasons it occurs. In any case, jaundice cannot be taken lightly. See a doctor immediately if you think you have jaundice. While the treatment goes on, a jaundice patients’ diet is critical:
- Hepatitis: Due to a viral infection, the liver cannot metabolise bilirubin. It thus appears as a yellow colouration on the skin, mucous membranes and in the whites of the eyes.
- Liver Damage: Alcohol, drugs or other toxins can damage the liver and impact its metabolic capacity.
- Blocked Bile Ducts: Liver produces a fluid called bile, which is stored in the gall bladder. This bile helps in the breakdown and digestion of fats in the small intestine. The small tubes that take the bile from the liver to the gall bladder and then to the intestines are called bile ducts. Blockage of these ducts, for example, because of stones, leads to jaundice.
- Pancreatic or liver cancer: The worst-case scenario, is when jaundice is caused by cancer of the pancreas or the liver.
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