What Kind of Diet Should Be Followed by Patients Who Have Cirrhosis of the Liver?


Quick Answer

People with cirrhosis of the liver are recommended to reduce sodium intake, avoid alcohol and eat a healthy diet, according to the Mayo Clinic. Following dietary guidelines can help reduce further damage to the liver.

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Full Answer

Cirrhosis is characterized by the replacement of healthy liver tissue with scar tissue, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The more scar tissue there is, the more blood flow through the liver is restricted. This causes additional damage to the liver.

Even if the liver damage was not originally caused by excess alcohol consumption, people suffering from cirrhosis of the liver should minimize alcohol intake, states the Mayo Clinic. It also recommends eating a low-sodium diet. A diet high in sodium increases fluid retention, which can increase swelling in the abdomen and legs. Because the liver's ability to process nutrients and protein, people with the cirrhosis can become malnourished. To avoid this, they should eat a plant-based diet.

Since patients can lose their appetite, the VA recommends eating small meals 4 to 7 times per day. A doctor may also recommend a high-nutritional supplement drink to help replace nutrients that may be lost by vomiting. Water pills may be prescribed to help reduce fluid retention from high sodium intake.

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