Cirrhosis is a late stage of fibrosis of the liver. Every time your liver gets injured due to some disease, it tries to repair itself. As cirrhosis progresses, scar tissues form, making it difficult for the liver to function properly. Although advanced liver cirrhosis is life-threatening, if detected at an early stage, it can be treated to prevent further damage.
What causes cirrhosis?
The causes of liver cirrhosis include chronic alcohol abuse, cystic fibrosis, poorly formed bile ducts, autoimmune hepatitis, copper accumulated in the liver, chronic viral hepatitis (hepatitis B, C, and D), and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Being obese also increases the risk of getting diagnosed with cirrhosis.
What are the symptoms of liver cirrhosis?
The symptoms of liver cirrhosis do not appear until the damage is excessive. The symptoms include nausea, fatigue, getting bruised or bleeding easily, weight loss, swelling in your legs, feet or ankle (edema), yellow discoloration in the skin and eyes (Jaundice), confusion, drowsiness and slurred speech, and fluid accumulation in your abdomen. Women may face loss of periods which is unrelated to menopause, whereas, men may face testicular atrophy and breast enlargement.
Foods best for a healthy liver
Owing to the changes in your metabolism and digestive system due to liver damage, it is important to stay adequately nourished. Liver cirrhosis can lead to malnourishment. In this case, you will be required to eat frequent meals throughout the day to consume more calories.
Take a look at the foods you should consume to stay healthy and protect your liver:
- Consume fresh fruits like apples, oranges, berries, peaches, and vegetables such as broccoli and spinach, which are rich in antioxidants. Blueberries contain nutrients such as polyphenols to protect you against nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. You can add fruits to oats or cereal for natural sweetness, fiber, and nutrition.
- Choose more whole-grain bread and brown rice instead of those made with refined white flour.
- Derive the majority of protein from a plant-based balanced diet, such as legumes, dried beans, small portions of unsalted nuts, and tofu.
- Small servings of lean poultry without the skin, some types of fresh-caught fish (such as salmon), and eggs or egg whites are suitable protein-rich options.
- You can include low-fat Greek yogurt, fortified dairy-free milk alternatives like almond or soy, and small portions of low-sodium hard cheese.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. If you are on a low-sodium diet, then check the label of bottled water as some contain sodium. Consume milk and juice only if it is pasteurized.
Following is a list of foods you should avoid:
- Refrain from consuming alcohol and smoking which can cause liver failure.
- Reduce the amount of sugary, salted, fried or fatty foods and maintain a healthy weight. Also avoid saturated fats, high-calorie meals, and refined carbohydrates (like white bread, pasta, white rice).
- Avoid undercooked meat or seafood as it can lead to serious infections.
- Avoid red meat or any kind of processed lunch meat or sausage.
On World Liver Day, spread awareness about liver cirrhosis and take necessary precautions to prevent it. Find out more on fitness and nutrition-related topics on the Activ Living page.