For Patients Caregiver Tips and Advice For Medical Professionals

Liver Disease Diets

How you should eat if you have…

Bile is a liquid made in the liver that helps break down fats in the small intestine. Bile duct disease keeps bile from flowing to the small intestine.

Diet Recommendations:

  • Use fat substitutes
  • Use kernel oil (i.e. canola, olive, corn, sunflower, peanut, flax seed oils) because it needs less bile to break down fats than other types of oil

Cirrhosis is the scarring and hardening of the liver.

Diet Recommendations:

  • Limit salt and foods that contain a lot of salt
  • Talk to your doctor about how much protein to have in your diet

Fatty liver disease is the build-up of fat in liver cells.

Diet Recommendations:

  • Limit foods that are high in calories
  • Eat foods that have fiber

Hemochromatosis is the build-up of iron in the liver.

Diet Recommendations:

  • Do not eat foods that have iron
  • Do not use iron pots and pans
  • Do not take pills with iron
  • Do not eat uncooked shellfish

Hepatitis C is a disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis C virus.

Diet Recommendations:

  • Limit foods that have a lot of iron
  • Do not use iron pots and pans
  • Limit salt and foods that contain a lot of salt

Wilson disease is the build-up of copper in the body.

Diet Recommendations:

  • Limit foods that have copper such as chocolate, nuts, shellfish and mushrooms
  • Do not use copper pots

Do you realize that your liver is depending on you?

It’s true. Even though you can’t see it hidden away under your rib cage, if your liver could speak to you, it would say: “I’m working hard, doing my best to process what you eat and drink into energy and nutrients. Hey, I’m also your filter! I’m trying to remove harmful substances from your blood. So, won’t you at least help me?”

A talking liver—sounds odd, doesn’t it? But actually, your liver does communicate with you.

If you eat a healthy diet, your liver “tells” you that you’re doing a great job. You get the message because your liver is able to function properly and, provided your overall health is good, you feel in great physical shape.

If, on the other hand, you aren’t careful with your diet, your liver is defenseless. When you consume fatty or fried foods, and pile on the salt, your liver literally is under attack.

If you don’t help your liver, it can’t help you. The result: Liver disease and, possibly, disorders that could affect other organs. Of course, it’s important to maintain a healthy weight. In addition to eating a healthy diet, exercise regularly.


A Healthy Diet, a Healthier Liver, a Healthier You

So, what should you eat to ensure that your liver can function normally?

If you’re a liver patient, your diet is adjusted to meet your individual needs. Talk to your doctor about what’s best for you. Still, here are some general food tips for a healthy or healthier liver:

  • What to avoid: Don’t eat foods high in fat, sugar and salt. Stay away from a lot of fried foods including fast food restaurant meals. Raw or undercooked shellfish such as oysters and clams are a definite no-no.
  • Talk to your doctor about alcohol and your liver health: Depending on the state of your liver, you should avoid alcohol. If you’re allowed alcohol, limit it to no more than one drink a day if you’re a woman and two drinks a day if you’re a man.
  • Eat a balanced diet: Select foods from all food groups: Grains, fruits, vegetables, meat and beans, milk, and oil.
  • Eat food with fiber: Fiber helps your liver work at an optimal level. Fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads, rice and cereals can take care of your body’s fiber needs.
  • Drink lots of water: It prevents dehydration and it helps your liver to function better.


Here are 10 healthy tips to follow the next time you go to the supermarket:

  1. Pick out vegetables and fruits without high-calorie sauces or added salt & sugars
  2. Choose fiber-rich whole grains
  3. Pick up poultry and fish without skin prepared in healthy way
  4. Decide over lean cuts of meat instead of those high in fat
  5. Eat fish at least twice a week, especially fish containing omega-3 fatty acids (e.g. salmon, trout and herring)
  6. Make sure your dairy is Fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%)
  7. Avoid foods with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat
  8. Limit saturated fat and trans fat by replacing them with the better fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated)
  9. Cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars
  10. Choose foods with less sodium and prepare foods with little or no salt

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