As malnutrition is common in people with cirrhosis during the course of the disease, which can lead to serious health problems, it is necessary a greater understanding towards the nutritional aspects to avoid severe complications, so it becomes important to keep them with a healthy diet in all stages of the disease.
The feeding of the cirrhotic varies whether it is compensated or decompensated (hepatic encephalopathy, digestive bleeding, ascites, hepatorenal syndrome). The diet in the first case will be established following healthy diet guidelines. In the decompensated cases, readjustment patterns according to the patient’s response to therapy are necessary.
What is a Good Liver Cirrhosis Diet Plan?
Compensated Cirrhosis Of The Liver
Nutritional recommendations for patients with compensated cirrhosis of the liver:
The compensated cirrhotic can have an acceptable nutritional status, as well as a good appetite. For patients with moderate or compensated cirrhosis, a well-balanced diet will suffice. In general, these patients should eat a diet that provides sufficient amounts of calories, proteins, vitamins and minerals, although with strict control. These are some recommendations:
- Enteral nutrition should be the first way of providing nutrients to be considered and must be that way unless patients have intolerance to the oral route, malnourished patients who must undergo surgical treatment; also in the serious hepatic insufficiencies or other complications.
- The patient’s diet will be particularized according to their nutritional evaluation and energy needs. The contribution of carbohydrates, fats and proteins will be suitable in an approximate proportion of: Carbohydrates: 60-65%; Fats: 20-25 %; Proteins: 10-15%.
- The energy needs calculated for each individual can vary from 25-30, and up to 40-50 kcal/Kg/day. The energy will be provided primarily as carbohydrates and fats.
- The proteins will be given in the dose of 1-1.2 g/Kg/day. It can be started with 0.7 g/kg/d, with progressive increases. The consumption of proteins of vegetal origin is a priority. The ingestion of red meats and viscera should be avoided. The white meats should be administered carefully.
- Moderate fat intake is recommended. The patient with cirrhosis has many difficulties to digest fats. The contribution of saturated fats will be up to 40%. The rest of the fat intake will be at the expense of mono fats and polyunsaturated.
- Patients with fluid retention are recommended a low sodium diet. It should be restricted the entry of sodium to the body avoiding food products such as canned soups and vegetables, cold cuts, dairy products, and condiments such as mayonnaise and ketchup. A substitute for salt with nice flavor is lemon juice.
- Honey will be used as a sweetener. Eat lots of rich foods in refined sugars leads to increased fat and cholesterol. Also the use of artificial sweeteners harms the diseased liver.
- Fruits and vegetables are recommended for liver patients. They are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, also contains a lot of fiber that favors faster evacuation of stool and non-absorption of toxins by the intestine.
- Alcoholic beverages are completely prohibited. Tobacco and coffee are not recommended either.
- The patient’s meals must be divided and frequent during the day, and should avoid large intakes at one time, to solve the frequent problems of nausea and feeling of fullness. Inclusion of a snack in the nights.
- In liver cirrhosis, vitamin levels in the body are found decreased, so it is recommended to take vitamin supplements.
Decompensated Cirrhosis of the Liver
Nutritional recommendations for patients with decompensated cirrhosis of the liver:
In any of its forms, it must be closely monitored nutritional therapy and adjust the diet sequentially, according to the response of the individual. They will be given enough kilocalories, according to their tolerance, to keep it compensated, in the form of enteral and parenteral products.
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