4 Hepatitis C Dietary Myths
Nearly everything we ingest impacts the liver, a sequence that directly influences anyone with chronic Hepatitis C – a prevalent, infectious, liver virus. The wrong foods can aggravate Hepatitis C-related liver inflammation while the right ones can extinguish inflammation and provide an ideal environment for sustaining healthy liver cells. Accordingly, eating a healthy diet is a valuable step for managing this illness. Although nutritionists may have a firm handle on what exactly constitutes a healthy, Hepatitis C-friendly diet, the following four myths can easily lead affected individuals astray.
- Soup Is Good Food – Although home-cooked broths are generally nourishing to the body and gentle on the digestive system, a majority of store-bought soups are very high in sodium. Foods high in sodium can be especially harmful to those with advanced Hepatitis C. For those with cirrhosis from Hepatitis C, health professionals typically advise restricting sodium intake to 500 to 1,000 milligrams per day. Unfortunately, just one cup of canned, boxed or typical restaurant soup can easily contain over 1,000 milligrams of sodium (a typical bowl of soup is around two cups).
- A Little Bit of Wine Is Fine – Whether people consume wine because they like the taste, it helps them relax or it is touted as an aid for good cardiovascular health, alcohol in any form is not recommended for people with Hepatitis C. Experts agree that those with Hepatitis C must adhere to a zero alcohol consumption policy. Research shows that heavy, moderate or light drinking creates inflammation in the liver and accelerates liver damage during Hepatitis C infection.
- Meat Is Unhealthy – Eating large quantities of fatty cuts of red meat is far from a good health practice, but that shouldn’t rule out meat consumption. Because protein is needed for liver cell maintenance and repair, nutritionists typically advise adults with Hepatitis C to eat approximately 60 to 120 grams of protein each day. Although protein can be found in dairy, nut and legume sources, animal sources of protein are also acceptable. Experts suggest avoiding meat with high fat quantities (such as pork belly or rib-eye), processed meat (such as sausage or salami), poultry skin and organ meats. Instead, they recommend small portions of fish, poultry and lean meat to help achieve adequate protein levels. Editor’s Note: Some individuals with complications from advanced Hepatitis C may have to strictly limit their protein intake.
- Caffeine Is Harmful – Caffeinated soda puts a strain on the liver’s well-being, but two other sources of caffeine have proven to be beneficial for those with Hepatitis C. The first is coffee – the popular, caffeinated beverage that may cause anxiety, raise blood pressure and irritate the stomach lining. However, for those who are not affected by these caveats, research has shown that coffee may lower the risk of liver scarring and reduce the risk of liver cancer in those with Hepatitis C. The second is green tea, a caffeinated brew that quells liver inflammation and has been shown to inhibit Hepatitis C viral replication.
Navigating food and beverage consumption to prevent Hepatitis C from worsening is no simple task. Seemingly conflicting reports surface regularly, touting previously forbidden foods as healthy and vice versa. Nonetheless, alcohol and high sodium foods like canned soup should be avoided, while moderate consumption of lean meat, coffee and green tea has benefits to the liver. It may be confusing to keep up with what nutrition experts suggest is best for Hepatitis C management. However, recognizing the preceding four dietary misconceptions will help you distinguish between what has the potential to harm and what could possibly help sustain your liver’s health.
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