Top 7 Winter Fruits & Veggies for Liver Health with Hepatitis C
When you have hepatitis C, the foods you eat can help make this condition better, or they can potentially worsen your prognosis. Research indicates that a diet similar to that followed by someone with diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or obesity is also good for promoting liver health. (1)
Fruits and vegetables are a key part of this type of diet, giving your body (and your liver) the nutrients it needs to function optimally. Here are some of your top winter options that are good for supporting liver health when you have the hepatitis C virus (HCV).
1. Mandarin Oranges
Walk into almost any supermarket in the wintertime and you can find bags of mandarin oranges. Oranges contain a substance called limonin glucoside.
Studies have found that limonin glucoside consumption can significantly decrease liver protein concentration, making these winter fruit beneficial for the prevention and/or treatment of liver diseases. (2) These smaller versions of regular-sized oranges are great as a peel-and-eat snack or when added to a fruit or lettuce salad.
If you like kiwi, this fruit is one that offers liver protection properties. (3) And it is generally freshest in the early winter months.
Mix it with mandarin oranges for a sweet treat that packs a healthy punch for the liver specifically.
This fruit also makes a good addition to a smoothie, providing a tart but sweet taste.
3. Winter Squash
Butternut, pumpkin, and acorn squash are all examples of winter squash. Deep orange and yellow non-starchy vegetables such as these can help improve liver health, in part, by reducing liver fat—potentially by as much as 44%. (4)
Slice them in half and bake them in the oven for a steamy, creamy side dish. Or cut them into chunks and roast them for a side that is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.
Quick Tip: You can tell the difference between winter squash and summer squash by looking at the outer skin. Winter squash is harvested when it is more mature; thus, it has a tougher and thicker rind.
Kale is typically harvested in the fall and winter. What makes this leafy green vegetable good for liver health is that it has anti-inflammatory properties (5) and hepatitis C is a virus that is characterized by liver inflammation.
Make a kale salad, add it to your smoothie, or throw it into your favorite soup. This is one vegetable that is incredibly versatile so it can be used in any number of ways!
Realistically, you can find broccoli year-round. But its peak season runs through the winter, making this the best time to consume this green vegetable.
Research indicates that broccoli contains a natural compound called indole which helps to promote a healthy liver by lowering inflammation as well as reducing fatty deposits. (6) Eat it raw as a between-meal snack or steam it at dinner for a healthy side.
Cabbage is another winter vegetable that contains indole. (6) If you like your cabbage in the form of coleslaw, you can make it healthier by swapping regular mayonnaise with olive oil mayonnaise. You can also sauté cabbage in a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil and onions. This makes for a satisfying side dish on a cold winter day.
Harvested from late summer to early spring, parsnip is a root vegetable that is closely related to the carrot. It has long been known as a medicinal plant that offers many benefits, one of which is aiding in the treatment of liver disorders. (7)
Parsnip can be:
- boiled and mashed
- or cut up and added to stews and soups
Adding these top winter fruits and vegetables into your diet can help promote liver health in people living with hepatitis C. They’re also a tasty way to get through the colder months while improving your wellness at the same time.
(1) Kawaguchi, Y., Mizuta, T. (2014, March 21). Interaction Between Hepatitis C Virus and Metabolic Factors. World Journal of Gastroenterology. doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i11.2888
(2) Kelley, D., Adkins, Y., Zunino, S., et al. (2015, January). Citrus Limonin Glucoside Supplementation Decreased Biomarkers of Liver Disease and Inflammation in Overweight Human Adults. Journal of Functional Foods. doi:10.1016/j.jff.2014.11.026
(3) Guan, Y., He, Q. (2015, June 28). Plants Consumption and Liver Health. Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Liver Diseases 2014. doi:10.1155/2015/824185
(4) Cook, L., O’Reilly, G., Goran, M., et al. (2014, November). Vegetable Consumption Is Linked to Decreased Visceral and Liver Fat and Improved Insulin Resistance in Overweight Latino Youth. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2014.01.017
(5) Satheesh, N., Fantah, S. (2020, August 27). Kale: Review on Nutritional Composition, Bio-Active Compounds, Anti-Nutritional Factors, Health Beneficial Properties and Value-Added Products. Cogent Food & Agriculture. doi:10.1080/23311932.2020.1811048
(6) Texas A&M. (2020, February 7). Natural Compound in Vegetables Helps Fight Fatty Liver Disease. Retrieved January 19, 2022, from https://today.tamu.edu/2020/02/07/natural-compound-in-vegetables-helps-fight-fatty-liver-disease/
(7) Kenari, H., Kordafshari, G., Moghimi, M., Eghbalian, F., TaherKhani, D. (2021, March 31). Review of Pharmacological Properties and Chemical Constituents of Pastinaca sativa. Journal of Pharmacopuncture. doi:10.3831/KPI.2021.24.1.14