Hepatitis B Diet
For the most part, a hepatitis B diet has the same elements as a diet for an average, healthy person. People with hepatitis B should eat a diet with lots of heart-healthy foods (such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) and limited amounts of fat, and should also maintain a healthy weight. People who have hepatitis B should also avoid alcohol completely.
Is There a Special Diet for Hepatitis B?
Most people with hepatitis B do not need a special diet. What's most important is that you try to eat healthy foods and do not become overweight. For the most part, this advice applies equally to an average, healthy person as it does to someone who has hepatitis B. The exceptions to this rule are people who have cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver or another condition (such as diabetes, HIV, or kidney disease) in addition to hepatitis B, as well as people who are taking hepatitis B medications.
Everything you eat and drink passes through your liver. The liver changes food into stored energy and the chemicals necessary for life. Your liver makes nutrients available so your body can use them to:
- Build cells
- Give you energy
- Maintain normal body functions.
A bad diet can sometimes lead to liver problems in a person with hepatitis B. If your diet contains too many calories, you will gain weight. Being overweight is linked to the buildup of fat in the liver, which is known as "fatty liver." Over many years, fatty liver likely contributes to the development of cirrhosis in some people with hepatitis B. Being overweight and having fatty liver have also been shown, in a number of studies, to lead to lower rates of hepatitis B clearance in patients treated with interferon and ribavirin.
One's diet can also contain toxins that are harmful to the liver. Some toxins act quickly. For example, eating certain poisonous mushrooms can cause liver failure and death within days. Other toxins, such as alcohol, damage the liver over time.
On the other hand, a good hepatitis B diet can improve liver health in a person with hepatitis B. A balanced diet can lead to better liver functioning and lowered risk of cirrhosis of the liver. It also can help the immune system stay strong and fight off illness.
Finally, people infected with hepatitis B have higher rates of diabetes than those people who are not infected. However, a good diet can help reduce body fat and control blood sugar. This lowers the risk of developing diabetes.