6 Best Summer Fruits & Vegetables for Hepatitis C
The 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults consuming 2,000 calories per day include at least 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables in their meal plan. (1) Additionally, these fruits and veggies should be varied, providing the body with more of the vitamins and minerals it needs to function optimally while also reducing the risk of illness and disease.
Fruits and vegetables are perhaps even more important for people with hepatitis C. That’s because the fiber they contain helps support more efficient liver function. (2) And there’s no better time to enjoy produce than in the summer, when it is its freshest.
With that in mind, here are some of the best summer fruits and vegetables for hepatitis C.
Research has found that grapefruit contains a bioactive compound that may help inhibit certain genotypes of the hepatitis C virus. (3) This citrus fruit is great for breakfast, when you can just cut it in half and scoop the flesh away from the rind with a spoon. You can also add grapefruit segments to your favorite salad, giving it a bit of zest while boosting liver health at the same time.
If grapefruit tends to be too sour for your taste buds, oranges are a citrus fruit that is a bit sweeter yet still bolsters liver health by reducing inflammation and increasing immunity. (4) Squeeze the juice from a few oranges and enjoy it with your breakfast or peel a few slices for a midday snack. Oranges are also good in salads, especially when combined with chicken and almonds.
At the same time, you may not want to go overboard with this summer fruit. Even though it helps improve liver steatosis, the fructose in oranges has also been associated with an increased prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. (5) So, limit them to just a couple of times a week.
Another fruit to consider adding to your diet this summer is papaya. Papaya helps promote liver health by reducing inflammation in this organ. (6)
• Add this fruit to your smoothie
• Chop it up into a salsa
• Or mix it with other summer fruits for a refreshing and healthy after-meal dessert
Papaya even goes good with chicken or tuna salad, making it a good addition to a lighter lunch.
Cabbage is a good summertime vegetable for people with hepatitis C. It enhances liver function by reducing two liver injury markers—aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and aminotransferase (ALT)—especially when the cabbage has been heated. (7)
Heated cabbage is good in the form of a boiled dinner, which consists of cabbage, ham, potatoes, and carrots. You can also sauté cabbage with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper for a healthy dinner side dish.
The carotenoids in boiled carrots support liver health. The carotenoids in this orange summer veggie have been found to decrease hepatic stenosis and increase beta-oxidation. (8)
Carrots are also good raw, such as when cut into sticks and dipped in hummus. Or you can slice them and add them to your vegetable soup recipe for a light summer meal that’s also good for your liver.
6. Sweet Potato
Do you know what other vegetable contains carotenoids? That’s right, sweet potato!
Orange-colored sweet potatoes are good, but purple sweet potatoes may be even better since they contain higher levels of beta carotene. (9) Regardless of the color you choose, sweet potato is good when boiled, steamed, or baked. If you have an air fryer, you can also make healthy sweet potato fries.
Adding any of these fruits or vegetables to your summer meal plan can help promote optimal liver function. Eating them when they’re freshest also helps boost their flavor, making your taste buds happier as well!
(1) U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2020, December). Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025. Retrieved May 19, 2022, from https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2020-12/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans_2020-2025.pdf
(2) American Liver Foundation. (2021, March 26). Liver Disease Diets. Retrieved May 29, 2022, from https://liverfoundation.org/for-patients/about-the-liver/health-wellness/nutrition/
(3) Khan, M., Rauf, W., Habib, F., Rahman, M., Iqbal, M. (2020, November 27). Screening and Identification of Bioactive Compounds from Citrus Against Non-Structural Protein 3 Protease of Hepatitis C Virus Genotype 3a by Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer Assay and Mass Spectrometry. World Journal of Hepatology. doi:10.4254/wjh.v12.i11.976
(4) Miles, E., Calder, P. (2021, June 24). Effects of Citrus Fruit Juices and Their Bioactive Components on Inflammation and Immunity: A Narrative Review. Frontiers in Immunology. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2021.712608
(5) Deenin, W., Malakul, W., Boonsong, T., Phoungpetchara, I., Tunsophon, S. (2021, March 27). Papaya Improves Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Obese Rats by Attenuating Oxidative Stress, Inflammation and Lipogenic Gene Expression. World Journal of Hepatology. doi:10.4254/wjh.v13.i3.315
(6) Xia, Y., Lu, Z., Lu, M., et al. (2019). Raw Orange Intake is Associated with Higher Prevalence of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in an Adult Population. Nutrition. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2018.09033
(7) Kim, H.K. (2020, June 26). The Effects of Anti-Inflammatory and Liver Function Using Heat-Treated Cabbage. International Journal of Internet, Broadcasting and Communication. doi:10.7236/IJIBC.2020.12.3.131
(8) Balbuena, E., Cheng, J., Eroglu, A. (2022, May 13). Carotenoids in Orange Carrots Mitigate Against Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Progression. The FASEB Journal. doi:10.1096/fasebj.2022.36.S1.R3517
(9) Alam, M. (2021, September). A Comprehensive Review of Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas [L.] Lam): Revisiting the Associated Health Benefits. Trends in Food Science & Technology. doi:10.1016/j.tifs.2021.07.001