What Is a Good Diet for People With Cirrhosis?

A low-sodium diet is a healthy diet for patients with cirrhosis, because too much salt in the body leads to fluid retention and thus aggravates swollen abdomen and legs, explains the Mayo Clinic. Herbs are good alternative food seasonings to salt. Patients with cirrhosis also benefit from eating different types of fruits and vegetables and lean protein, including fish, poultry and legumes. Alcohol and raw seafood may worsen cirrhosis.

Excessive sodium levels in the body aggravates cirrhosis, because sodium promotes water retention, states the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Doctors recommend consuming only up to 2,000 milligrams of sodium daily. A dietitian can help provide a particular diet suited for a patient with cirrhosis.

To avoid getting too much sodium from the diet, patients with cirrhosis should use herbs and lemon juice rather than salt and choose fresh foods over processed foods, suggests the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Tomato sauce, canned soups, salsa and other salty food items should be avoided. Reducing meat intake, avoiding fast foods and checking food labels for sodium amounts are also essential steps.

Extra protein and calories coming from vegetables and dairy products are important for patients with cirrhosis, as the symptoms of this condition lead to insufficient minerals and nutrients in the body, notes the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Eating small meals four to seven times daily is more beneficial than eating large meals.