Sr. Consultant Gastroenterologist, Hepatologist and Endoscopist
Published on: 20/06/2022
A wrong diet can make jaundice serious.
Let’s fight it with the right diet and treatment!
The primary function of the liver is to remove toxins from the body as well as damaged blood cells. When this process is interrupted, a waste product known as bilirubin begins to accumulate. This can lead to jaundice. A healthy and balanced diet can help the liver treat jaundice by avoiding it from reoccurring!
Now the question is, which diet to take and which one to avoid?
The diet plans depend on the severity of jaundice and the patient's underlying medical conditions. Here is the list of foods and drinks to consume for patients having jaundice:
Water: Staying hydrated is important for recovering from jaundice. Every day, at least 2 litres of water should be consumed. A teaspoon of fresh lime, lemon, or grape juice can be added to the water. This provides an additional dosage of antioxidants.
Fresh Fruits and vegetables: Fresh fruits and vegetables also help to protect the liver as they contain fibre, antioxidants, and liver-friendly nutrients that are beneficial to the liver. It also helps digestion. Some of the fruits and vegetables are listed here:
- Cranberries, grapes and blueberries
- Citrus fruits like lemons and limes
- Watermelon and papaya
- Sweet potato
- Beetroot and carrot
- Garlic and ginger
- Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli and brussels sprouts
- Collard greens and spinach
Whole grains: Whole-grain diets are high in liver-friendly nutrients. They contain a lot of fibre, antioxidants, and minerals. Oats are also high in beta-glucan, which has been shown to improve liver function after 12 weeks of regular consumption.
Tea and coffee: Coffee and herbal teas are also high in antioxidants. They also help digestion. Coffee has been proven to lessen the risk of liver disease, cancer, and fibrosis by slowing the progression.
Nuts and legumes: Nuts and legumes are rich in vitamin E, antioxidants and phenolic acid. They are also high in fibre and healthy fats, which help the liver to function properly.
Milk thistle: The herb milk thistle contains silymarin and is also high in antioxidants. Silymarin promotes the repair of damaged liver cells. However, patients should consult their doctor before using it if pregnant or breastfeeding.
Foods to avoid during jaundice: A certain food types that are heavy for our liver and digestive system should be avoided. Our diet should allow easy digestion and healing of the liver, so certain foods should be avoided.
Iron: It is important to keep track of iron consumption. Iron overload may result in liver scarring (cirrhosis). To reduce liver disorders, the patient must establish how much iron he should consume.
Fat: Fried foods and foods high in fat should be consumed in moderation or avoided entirely. Saturated fats, such as those found in dairy products and meat, are more difficult for the liver to process than unsaturated fats.
Sugar: Refined sugar, as well as other forms of processed sugar, can all contribute to the accumulation of liver fat. It's better to choose fruit or low-fat, low-sugar yoghurt. Apart from refined sugar, limiting artificial sweeteners is a great approach to prevent extra strain on the liver.
Salt: A diet high in salt can cause liver damage. Eliminating processed and canned foods from the diet is an easy way to reduce sodium.
Alcohol: It is advised not to consume alcohol until the jaundice is completely gone. Alcohol is very dangerous for the liver as it can damage it more.
Maintaining a food diary is a great way to fight jaundice!
Other Tips for Jaundice:
- Instead of large meals, have them into several smaller ones.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Do not add sugar to coffee and tea
- Low-fat milk or variants can be used in place of whole milk and cream.
- Follow the do’s and don'ts for jaundice.
Jaundice can be fatal if left untreated!
While maintaining a balanced diet, one should visit a doctor, seek proper treatment and take medications on time.
If you experience any symptoms of jaundice,