Cirrhosis is an irreversible distortion of normal liver architecture characterized by hepatic injury, fibrosis, and nodular regeneration. The clinical presentations of cirrhosis are a consequence of both progressive hepatocellular dysfunction and portal hypertension.
As with other presentations of liver disease, not all individuals with cirrhosis develop life-threatening problems. Indeed, in nearly 40% of cases of cirrhosis, it’s diagnosed at autopsy in individuals who did not manifest obvious signs of end-stage liver disease.
Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver caused by long-term inflammation damage. The damage can be caused by a variety of things, but the most common are chronic alcoholism or hepatitis c. Some less common causes of damage are from a chronic viral infection or certain medications. The liver repairs the damage by replacing those areas with scar tissue. However, too much scar tissue can make the liver malfunction.
Another important aspect of your cirrhosis diet plan will be to ingest an adequate, but not excessive, amount of protein in your diet. Protein is necessary in repairing and maintaining your body tissue, especially your liver!
Many persons dealing with cirrhosis tend to better absorb and use protein from plant and dairy sources rather than from meat and poultry. And, consequently, your diet should reflect that tendency, being comprised of nuts, seeds, yogurt, etc. Large amounts of animal proteins in your diet can lead to a condition called encephalopathy, so your protein intake with cirrhosis should be handled with great caution.
As the largest organ in your body, your liver plays a greatly multi functional role.
And, as such, persons dealing with cirrhosis often experience difficulty digesting fat in their diet as well. A good guideline to use for your fat intake would be to try and keep the total calories of fat in your diet to around 25%. And, as a general principle for a healthy diet, and for its liver protecting qualities, try to ingest a good portion of that fat from Omega-3 fatty acids, found in food such as salmon, walnuts, and flaxseed oil.
Proteins, but not just any proteins
Low or no-fat milk, eggs and beans are great proteins because they don’t create ammonia like some other proteins (such as red meat), and they’re high in iron. Oh, and shove down that tofu too. Really, it’s not so bad.:)
Your sodium intake typically needs to be regulated and/or restricted with cirrhosis. Unfortunately, this means no salt on your eggs, steak, or ice cream! However, salt is an acquired taste, so, just like any difficult habit it will get easier as time goes on.
The major and most difficult hurdle could also be the foods that come pre-packaged with ample of sodium. Foods to be on the lookout for would be your processed meats and cheeses, canned soups, and frozen dinners.
Woot for coffee!
Coffee is not just OK to consume on a cirrhosis liver diet, but it’s GOOD! Fresh-brewed though. None of that instant stuff, even if it is Starbucks. And look, coffee is easy to overdo. I know this from personal experience, believe me! But it’s good to keep it to no more than 3 cups a day. Any more and you’re going to end up stressing your body out. And you’ll be shaking all over the place anyway. That’s not too fun, right?