Diet Tips When Suffering From Jaundice

What is Jaundice?

A build-up of bilirubin in the blood is known as jaundice.

What is Bilirubin?

Bilirubin is a yellow pigment, which is released during the breakdown of red blood cells. Excess of this bilirubin in the blood causes jaundice, which is characterised by a yellow tinge to the skin and the white of the eye.

What Causes Jaundice?

The liver is responsible to filter out the bilirubin present in the blood. Jaundice is therefore mostly due to the inefficiency of the liver to perform its function i.e. in liver disease or failure.

What Is The Importance Of Diet In Jaundice?

Whatever we eat is processed in the liver, which makes it important for us to know what kind of food should be consumed if suffering from jaundice. Eating a healthy diet helps the liver function efficiently and also helps it to filter out the waste and toxins. This helps in reducing the risk of suffering from jaundice in the future. During jaundice, the patient is advised a diet, which helps improve digestion and metabolism, and also protects the liver from damage and detoxifies it.

Diet Tips For A Person Suffering From Jaundice

Diet Tips For A Person Suffering From Jaundice

The diet suggestion depends on the severity of the jaundice and also the underlying medical condition causing the jaundice.

What to Eat in Jaundice?

Water. Water helps to remove toxins from the body and helps the liver recover from jaundice. Drinking 2 liters of water every day is recommended to everyone suffering from jaundice. If you are not able to consume this much water, try adding a flavour to it, such as lemon or grapefruit juice, which can add an antioxidant to the water with its own health benefits.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables. The antioxidant and the fiber content of fresh fruits and vegetable helps ease digestion and limit liver damage in jaundice. Fruits and vegetables contain liver friendly nutrients, which help keep the liver healthy and help in recovering faster from jaundice. Fruits such as whole cranberries, lemons, grapefruits, papaya, melons, sweet potatoes, avocadoes, olives, pumpkins, yam, spinach, and collard greens help keep our liver in a healthy state. Fruits and vegetables are an integral part of a jaundice diet.

Highly processed fruit juices and other processed food should be avoided when having liver disease, such as jaundice.

Whole Grains. Whole grains are rich in antioxidants, nutrients, and minerals which help the liver recover faster and also keep up with its functioning. Whole grains can be included in the diet for jaundice.

Herbal Tea. Antioxidants stimulates digestion. Herbal tea contains a high dose of antioxidants and should be taken when suffering from jaundice for a good recovery.

Nuts and Legumes. Nuts and legumes are rich in phenolic acid, vitamin E, and antioxidants. They are also rich in fiber and healthy fats, which is beneficial in improving liver function if consumed regularly and hence become a must include in the diet of the person suffering from jaundice.

Foods to Avoid When Suffering From Jaundice

There are certain foods and beverages, which delay the recovery and add to the discomfort and therefore should be refrained from when suffering from jaundice.

Alcohol. The first thing to avoid when suffering from jaundice is alcohol. Excess alcohol can lead to chronic inflammation of the liver, reduce liver function and aggravate jaundice. If suffering from jaundice, alcohol should be reduced or completely restricted.

Refined Carbohydrates. Refined carbs, such as soda, baked goods, and pasta contain a high amount of refined sugar. Excess sugar impairs liver function and increases the risk of type-2 diabetes and obesity. Refined carbs must be completely excluded from the diet of the patient suffering from jaundice.

Fats. Highly fried and fatty foods should be completely and absolutely avoided when suffering from jaundice, as they lead to a fat build-up in the liver and increase the severity of jaundice. Saturated fats such as meat and dairy are hard on the liver than the unsaturated fats and should be avoided in the diet of patients suffering from jaundice. Fats should, therefore, be taken in moderation and even eliminated from the jaundice diet if having a liver condition.

Salt. A high salt diet contributes to liver damage and water retention. Instead of adding extra salt to the food, garlic powder, onion powder, or oregano can be used to flavour the dishes for a jaundice patient. Also canned and processed food should be avoided as they are rich in sodium.

Iron. Excess iron leads to scarring of the liver. Therefore iron should also be taken in an appropriate amount if suffering from jaundice.


A healthy and well-balanced diet can help the liver recover from jaundice and also prevent the recurrence of jaundice. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to your diet along with proper treatment when suffering from jaundice.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 7, 2019

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