The condition hepatitis is characterized by inflammation of the liver, and the various types from A to E are based on the mode of infection. Hepatitis C is a result of blood infected by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). This virus is contagious and can spread through transfusions. The two main types of hepatitis C infections are
- Acute hepatitis C
Being a short-term infection, acute hepatitis C symptoms can last up to 6 months. In this case, the body can fight the infection as the virus eventually goes away. But for people with a compromised or weak immune system, acute symptoms can lead to a chronic infection.
- Chronic hepatitis C
This form of hepatitis C can last even a lifetime. It can also cause severe health problems such as damage, scarring (cirrhosis), and cancer of the liver.
Foods that help fight hepatitis C
The symptoms of hepatitis C patients require close monitoring; moreover, appropriate treatment needs to be promptly provided to avoid further complications. As long as the HCV is present in the bloodstream, controlling symptoms becomes difficult. So, apart from administering medications for the symptoms, a diet specifically tailored to provide relief is equally important. Consuming foods rich in anti-inflammatory properties can prevent liver damage. Here are some foods that people with acute or chronic hepatitis can have to keep the symptoms at bay:
- Fatty fish
Oily fish like tuna, mackerel, salmon, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They are also excellent sources of two potent omega-3 fatty acids that effectively reduce inflammation: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). For people who don’t eat fish or fish-oil supplements, flax seeds, walnuts, and canola also offer a viable alternative for anti-inflammatory foods.
This spice is usually used in curries. Turmeric contains a powerful compound called curcumin, whose anti-inflammatory properties are as effective as many medicines, but without their side effects. The spice is believed to work by inhibiting NF-kappa B, which is a protein that triggers inflammation.
Raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, and strawberries contain large quantities of anthocyanins that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatories properties. These compounds are also responsible for giving the berries their vibrant color and relieving the symptoms of hepatitis C.
Rich in sulfur, this dark leafy green forces detoxification of the liver. And this stimulates a special type of enzymes, helping to break down toxins further. This depletion in toxins helps in avoiding chronic inflammation.
- Green tea
It’s rich in flavonoids and potent natural anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce inflammation due to hepatitis C. Studies have even suggested that regular consumption of green tea strengthens the bone and improves overall immunity. This can help fight multiple hepatitis C symptoms.
- Tart cherries
Some researchers say cherries may have the highest detoxifying content. Their detoxifying properties can control symptoms such as yellowing of skin, and fatigue. Tart cherries are rich in anthocyanin, which fights inflammation of the liver, thereby controlling the symptoms further.
- Sweet potato
Like berries, sweet potatoes are rich in anthocyanin and other color-related pigments and anti-inflammatory properties. It is found that these compounds present in sweet potatoes can remove toxic agents present in the blood, thereby reducing inflammation.
Seaweed, or Kelp, is full of a type of complex carbohydrate called fucoidan that reduces liver inflammation. It is also rich in anti-oxidative properties that further help in reducing the symptoms. However, doctors suggest consuming organic kelp harvested only from unpolluted seas.
- Olive oil
It is rich in compounds that can reduce inflammation. Virgin olive oil contains polyphenol, which is also believed to be responsible for cell longevity.
- Avoid consuming fatty foods
The liver tends to store fats derived from foods. Saturated fats in particular can cause inflammation in the liver, which can result in cirrhosis. Although some amount of unsaturated fats is required as a part of a balanced diet, those suffering from hepatitis C must consult a nutritionist. Avoid full-fat dairy food products containing saturated fats, like cakes, and biscuits.
- Include leafy vegetables
Studies suggest that leafy vegetables can lessen the fatty acid composition in your liver and protect against fatty acids that deposit in arteries. Leafy vegetables like kale, collard greens, sweet potato greens, spinach can help in reducing the fats present in the liver.
- Reduce salt intake
Excessive salt can result in the accumulation of fluid in the abdomen and can lead to ascites, which is a symptom of end-stage liver disease.
- Limit sugar
Hepatitis C and the regulation of blood sugar levels are connected. Since the liver regulates blood sugar levels by converting the sugar into usable energy, a hepatic liver can suffer damage if excessive sugar is included in the diet. Hence, it is recommended to limit sugar to avoid worsening the symptoms of hepatitis C.
This can be useful for people with hepatitis C. Juicing may not provide more health benefits than eating whole fruit and vegetables, but they do provide energy to process large meals as this can be difficult for those with a hepatic liver.