© 1986 - excerpt from Natural Liver Therapy
Foods to Use and Avoid for Those With Hepatitis or Cirrhosis
Foods To Use
- Steamed green vegetables
- Fresh vegetable juices
- Whole grains
- Legumes, including tofu, tempeh, and soups with aduki and mung beans
- Fish, organic chicken, and turkey
- Plenty of fresh water; add juice of half a lemon to a quart of distilled water
- Fresh fruit in season, one to three pieces a day, depending on season and climate
Foods To Avoid
- Alcoholic beverages of any kind
- Hot foods such as chili peppers and onion; use only moderate amounts of garlic. Ginger is the preferred spice because it has a protective effect on the liver.
- Pain-relieving drugs such as asprin and products containing acetaminophen. Many are toxic to the liver.
- Most pharmaceutical drugs, especially anti-inflammatories and antibiotics. Check the Physician's Desk Reference, available in a home edition and at most libraries, if you are uncertain about the potential toxicity to the liver
- Fried greasy foods; they are often difficult for the liver to handle
- Stimulants like coffee, black tea, or ephedra (ma huang) products; they increase body metabolism and act as a central nervous-system stimulants, increasing body heat
- Refined sugar products such as cakes, cookies, candy, and ice cream; or foods with white sugar, honey, and maple syrup. Refined sugar suppresses the immune system, stimulates metabolism, and increases heat in the body. Depend on fresh fruit in season for natural sweets.
Nutritional Supplements to Add
- Antioxidants such as milk thistle, vitamin E (400 to 800 lU/day), vitamin C (1 to 3 grams per day), grape-seed extract (150 to 200 mg/day)
- Essential fatty acids. Be sure there are enough in your diet. Use one or two teaspoons of organic flax seed oil a day on salads or steamed vegetables, or take capsules.
- B vitamins are important for liver health. Take a B-vitamin complex supplement that contains thiamine, choline, riboflavin, and niacin.
The Ideal Diet
For the liver, keep it simple. An example of what not to have for dinner would be rich casseroles with meat and oil, lots of different vegetables and chopped nuts, topped off with a sweet dessert like cake. Optimum for the liver is a simple meal of steamed vegetables and rice - even white rice can be used because it is simple to digest and cooling for the liver. Whole grains, such as millet, buckwheat, rice, quinoa, and amaranth are also beneficial. Bread is okay, preferably whole grain.
Eat according to the seasons. When the weather is cold, eat warmer, cooked foods. Alaskans, for example, need meat and fat in their diets while South Americans need cooling fruits and vegetables. It is also important to tailor the diet to the type of work you do. Doing hard physical labor requires stronger, heavier foods than does sitting at a computer. People generally grow up eating the diet they get from their parents. Sometimes, this diet is influenced by advertising, such as "Milk does a body good." Milk is not good for everybody. Its benefits depend on genetic heritage, digestive capacity, and the type of work done. Sometimes people just follow their parents' diet without really examining it until they get older, start feeling aches and pains, and realize that their diet may not necessarily be right for them. The ensuing years are a time of self-discovery and figuring out one's optimum diet, based on individual needs, climate, and type of work done.
< return to intro to next excerpt >