Expert Food Tips for Chronic Hepatitis C – Part 2 | Hepatitis Central

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Expert Food Tips for Chronic Hepatitis C – Part 2

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Whether undergoing treatment or just managing Hepatitis C, hunger and digestive problems can interfere with good eating habits. Compiled from experts in liver disease, Hepatitis C and nutrition, discover 17 tips that can help improve a person’s ability to fulfill their nutritional needs despite having Hepatitis C.

Experiencing the symptoms of liver disease and enduring antiviral treatment can present many eating challenges to those with Hepatitis C. Eliminating morsels that are harmful to the liver and choosing foods that are beneficial to hepatic health are crucial to a successful Hepatitis C eating plan. However, the reality of living with chronic liver disease can easily throw additional food concerns into the mix.

Whether a consequence of liver disease or accompanying medications, those with Hepatitis C face several potential barriers to eating well. At the center of the body’s detoxification responsibilities, the liver purifies unwanted substances from the blood. Chronic liver disease puts a strain on this toxin elimination system. Thus, those with chronic Hepatitis C who have sustained liver damage are likely to have excessive toxicity in their bloodstream. When waste is not effectively removed from a person’s body, their hunger and reaction to food are often altered. In addition, fighting chronic Hepatitis C infection leaves many too exhausted to prepare healthful meals.

As the current standard of treatment for Hepatitis C, antiviral therapy has a wide range of severe side affects. Aside from zapping people of their energy, the antiviral drugs frequently interfere with a person’s desire for food, ability to keep food down and they can distort taste and smell.

Because eating healthy food is the most revered way to fuel the body in its quest for wellness, the following tips can help those with Hepatitis C overcome their food obstacles:

When you have no desire to eat:

  1. Consume small portions
  2. Do some mild exercise to stimulate the appetite
  3. Use liquid nutrition supplements if needed
  4. Take advantage of when you are hungry
  5. Make the most of each mouthful (choose nutritionally dense foods)

If foods you once enjoyed don’t taste or smell appealing:

  1. Since red meat can taste bitter when on antiviral drugs, choose other sources of protein like chicken, fish, beans, cheese, yogurt and eggs
  2. Since heat can intensify flavors, opt for foods cold or at room temperature
  3. Turn on a fan or open the windows while cooking and eating
  4. Cook outside or in the microwave

If fatigue is overwhelming:

  1. Ask friends and family members to help prepare meals
  2. Have liquid nutrition supplements or prepared snacks ready
  3. When you have enough energy to cook, prepare extra food and freeze it

When nausea or vomiting interferes with eating:

  1. Stay hydrated by sucking on ice chips or taking small sips of non-citrus, clear fluids
  2. Choose bland foods because they are easier to digest and keep down
  3. Eat small bits every few hours to prevent an empty stomach
  4. Avoid foods that trigger your nausea (spicy, greasy and fatty foods are common triggers)
  5. Try ginger ale, ginger tea or other products containing ginger to settle your stomach

Eating nutritious food is crucial to living a long life, especially with chronic liver disease. Unfortunately, the obstacles associated with food present an additional daily challenge to managing Hepatitis C. However, this challenge can be overcome by experimenting with the suggestions listed above. By minimizing the difficulties related to food preparation, hunger and digestion, these tips will help those with Hepatitis C get closer to their health and nutrition goals.

result#PPA407,M1, Dr. Melissa Palmer’s Guide to Hepatitis & Liver Disease, Melissa Palmer, MD, Avery, 2004; 407., Eating Healthy, Schering Corporation, 2009., Hepatitis C Nutrition Care, Retrieved January 22, 2009, Dieticians of Canada, 2009., Hepatitis C and Food, Retrieved January 21, 2009, Hepatitis C Council of NSW, November 2003., Nausea and Vomiting, January 21, 2009, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2009.

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