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The best diet for cirrhosis, a disease that affects the liver, is simply a well-balanced diet. It is typically one that is free from fatty foods and alcohol as well. In addition, a diet for cirrhosis should include lean protein. If the disease is severe, plant-based protein instead of meat-based protein is typically recommended. A daily multivitamin and supplements should also be included in the diet, and some people use common herbs in their diet as well, in the hopes of treating the condition.
Generally, a well-balanced diet for cirrhosis includes an assortment of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole wheat. Some nutritionists and alternative medicine practitioners consider papaya to be one of the best fruits for people suffering from cirrhosis. In addition, although all vegetables are considered healthful, certain vegetables, such as beets, eggplant, squash, tomatoes, radishes, and carrots, are recommended by many practitioners and nutritionists.
In most cases, a diet for cirrhosis should include sources of lean protein, such as fish or chicken. There are certain conditions related to cirrhosis in which the protein sources should be from plants, such as tofu, nuts, lentils, or beans. For example, if the person is affected by encephalopathy, a disease that may cause a person to eventually fall into a coma, the person should avoid meat-based proteins altogether. In addition, if the cirrhosis is worsening or not stable, then meat-based proteins should be avoided as well.
Some forms of cirrhosis are caused from drinking an abundance of alcohol over a prolonged period of time. In this case, alcohol should be avoided. Consuming alcohol may damage the already fragile liver even further.
Other food items that should be avoided in a diet for cirrhosis include uncooked shellfish and sodium. Shellfish, if eaten raw, can transmit bacteria that may increase the amount of damage to the liver. Sodium is particularly a problem for people who have fluid building up in their legs or abdominal area. If fluid retention begins to occur, many diets for cirrhosis will limit salt.
Although not necessarily part of the diet for cirrhosis, there are concoctions that are made from certain foods that may help treat the disease. For example, a mixture of carrot juice and spinach juice is believed to help treat the condition. Also juice that is extracted from papaya seeds and mixed with lime juice is thought to help people suffering from cirrhosis as well. Certain herbs, such licorice root and milk thistle are also used in Chinese medicine to treat the condition.