Liver Disease Diet

The liver disease diet offers guidelines regarding what foods to eat while affected by a liver disease. The liver is the largest organ in the body and is involved in many important bodily functions. Some of the liver's functions are to remove harmful substances from the bloodstream and to make sure they can exit the body. The liver also produces fluids used by the body and helps use and store energy from food. Liver disease affects the functioning of the liver and the way your body uses energy from foods. An important part of the liver disease diet is to get the right amount of calories from a variety of foods.

GUIDELINES

Sodium

Sodium is a mineral that helps the body change the amount of water and fluids it holds. Too much sodium can cause the body to hold too much fluid. You may need to decrease the amount of sodium in your diet if your body is collecting fluid in your stomach or legs. To decrease the amount of sodium in your diet, do not add extra salt to foods. Also, limit or avoid foods that contain lots of sodium, such as:

  • Salted snacks (pretzels, potato chips, crackers).

  • Canned foods (vegetables, soups, juice).

  • Salted or cured meats and deli meats.

  • Condiments (ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, barbecue sauce).

  • Sauerkraut and pickles.

  • Frozen dinners or processed or preserved foods.

A diet of less than 2000 mg of sodium may be recommended. Check food labels for specific levels of sodium.

Alcohol

Drinking alcohol may harm your liver. Avoid or limit drinks containing alcohol, such as beer, wine, and hard liquor.

Calories

It is important to make sure you are getting enough calories in your diet so that your body gets enough energy and stays at a healthy weight. Include a variety of foods in your diet.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are found in foods such as breads and starches, grains (oats, flour), cereals, and some vegetables (corn, peas). Carbohydrates change the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Advanced liver disease can affect how much glucose is in the blood, making the glucose level too high or too low. Eating carbohydrates in the right amount will help control your blood glucose. A registered dietician can help you determine how much carbohydrate you need each day.

Protein

Eating the right amount of protein every day is important for liver disease. Protein is found in foods such as meat, poultry (chicken, turkey), fish, milk, eggs, yogurt, peanuts, peanut butter, and beans. Include a protein-containing food at each meal.