Living with liver disease requires a special diet, because it is important to prevent the liver from working too hard. When liver disease is present, the organ is unable to properly process proteins and this can lead to a buildup of waste products, which can in turn impact brain function. Here are five diet strategies to keep in mind when creating a proper diet for living with liver disease.
1. Reduce Protein
By reducing the number of proteins the liver must process, the organ is not overtaxed in its job and one can prevent the buildup of harmful toxins that may stay in the body. It is important to note that a complete cessation of proteins can lead to deficiencies in some essential amino acids, so a full absence of protein consumption is not recommended. When reducing the amount of protein consumed, one must carefully consider the appropriate dietary replacements, so as not to fill the body with empty calories.
2. Increase Carbohydrates
For a person living with liver disease, carbohydrates should exist as a major part of daily nutrition and as mentioned above, it is important to make sure the quality of carbohydrates consumed is as healthy as possible. Making choices such as eating fruits instead of French fries, or whole grains instead of simple white flour ensures that your body receives a healthy amount of vitamins and minerals which may be lacking due to a reduced protein diet.
3. Avoid Sodium
Although staying away from sodium and reducing sodium consumption has long been offered as sage advice for anyone wishing to lose weight, it is additionally important for someone with liver disease. Salt has a tendency to cause the body to retain fluid when it is consumed in large amounts. When large amounts of salt exist in the body, the kidneys become overtaxed and the liver might end up having to pick up the slack. With reduced efficiency of the liver, it is essential to prevent the organ from having to accommodate the work of any other organ.
4. Vitamin Supplements
Because someone living with liver disease is required to employ an alternate diet, sufferers are often plagued with improper levels of vitamins and nutrients in the body. One way to combat these imbalances is to take vitamin supplements.
One of the most important vitamins in the body of someone with liver disease is vitamin B. A B-Complex vitamin should be one of the first choices for a supplement. Having proper vitamin levels in the body is essential to successful weight loss, so the benefit of vitamin supplements is twofold.
5. Many Small Meals during the Day
Beyond altering the food one eats to accommodate a liver that does not function properly, it is also advisable to eat smaller meals throughout the day. This will prevent the liver from having to deal with large amounts of food to metabolize at any one time. Eating smaller meals throughout the day also has the added benefit of keeping one’s metabolism at an optimally burning rate, and aids the special dietary requirements of people living with liver disease.