What to eat when you have cirrhosis?

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A cirrhosis diet is made to support those who may experience malnutrition due to modifications to their metabolism and digestion that occur as the liver sustains more damage. 

As a result, paying attention to what you eat and drink each day is essential if you have this illness. 

Protein, sodium, and sugar are common ingredients in foods to stay away from if you have cirrhosis.

Benefits of following the cirrhosis diet 

The liver is one of the most important organs and performs over 500 tasks. Because of cirrhosis, your liver cannot effectively carry out one of its most crucial functions: assisting your body in obtaining nutrition from the food you eat. 

While there is no cure for liver cirrhosis, there are steps you may take to avoid complications by changing your diet. Limiting your consumption of salty foods, for instance, can help maintain a balanced sodium level, avoid fluid retention, and avoid the related disease known as ascites. 

Additionally, limiting your consumption of bad fats can help prevent steatorrhea or excess fat in the stool, which may indicate intestinal malabsorption. 

Concentrating on eating a range of foods and receiving adequate calories is essential. This aids in preventing malnourishment, a frequent side effect of cirrhosis. 

Malnutrition can lower muscle mass, impede wound healing, worsen immune system performance, raise the frequency and intensity of cirrhosis symptoms, and lower overall quality of life. 

A cirrhosis diet can assist in ensuring appropriate nutrition, minimising the effort your liver must make, avoiding problems, and stopping additional liver damage. According to research, those with liver disease who are undernourished are more likely to suffer from cirrhosis-related complications. 

A cirrhosis diet should be initiated early to enhance the prognosis and treatment results. Regretfully, cirrhosis-related scarring that already exists cannot be undone. If you have liver cirrhosis, so controlling your diet is essential for taking control of your future. 

How it works 

Although your cirrhosis diet must be customised for your unique demands and overall health, the following fundamental dietary parameters frequently influence this eating plan: 

Steer clear of alcohol: Drinking any amount of alcohol puts cirrhosis patients at risk for more damage to their livers, including liver failure. Additionally, drinking might exacerbate other health issues, such as malnutrition. 

Limiting fats: Bile, a yellow-green liquid produced in the liver, is used by the body to break down fats. Digestive problems may result from alterations in bile production and delivery resulting from liver injury. A high-fat meal is complicated for a liver that isn’t functioning adequately to metabolise.  

Steer clear of raw or undercooked meat and seafood: Because cirrhosis-related liver impairment impairs immune function, germs and viruses that these foods may contain can cause a potentially dangerous illness. 

You should also adjust how much food you eat and the composition of your diet. Because liver disease can make you more susceptible to malnourishment, you may need to consume extra calories daily to keep up with your body’s increased energy needs. 

Be aware that there are differences in the recommended amount of protein if you have a liver disease. Protein’s role in liver disease is still being investigated and is a topic of considerable controversy. 

To find out the precise quantity of protein you are advised, speak with a dietitian or your healthcare professional. A varied and nutritious diet will be incomplete without the calories from protein, which is also necessary to prevent muscular atrophy (thinning). 

What to eat

A cirrhosis diet will require you to abstain from certain foods and drinks. Still, you will be able to choose from a wide variety of delectable and nutritious items, such as whole grains, fresh produce, and plant-based protein. 

Vegetables and fruits 

When feasible, use fresh food because canned goods typically contain sugar and sodium. Add fruit to cereal or oats for added nutrients, fibre, and a hint of natural sweetness. On their own, fruits high in fibre, such as apples, provide a wholesome and fulfilling snack.  


Dairy products with total fat will be too difficult for your body to process. Limit your intake to low-fat Greek yoghurt, small servings of hard cheese with minimal sodium, and fortified dairy-free milk substitutes such as soy or almond.

Desserts heavy in milk, such as pudding, custard and ice cream, should be consumed in moderation. If you experience severe problems with fat and sugar processing when following a cirrhosis diet, you should avoid them entirely. 


Select whole-grain products over refined white flour when buying bread, pasta, brown rice, and cereal. Granola and granola bars are OK for on-the-go snacks with minimal sodium and sugar. 


A cirrhosis diet is not recommended for those who consume red meat or any processed lunch meat or sausage. Eggs or egg whites, some fresh-caught fish (like salmon), and small portions of lean 
chicken without the skin might be OK. 


It’s recommended to avoid packaged cake, cookies, brownies, biscuits, pancakes, and waffle mixes, as they may be rich in sugar and salt. Generally, unless you can manufacture your own low-fat, low-sugar, and low-salt versions, you should avoid pastries, doughnuts, and muffins. 


If you have liver cirrhosis, you cannot drink alcohol, but you will have many other possibilities. The most hydrating option is water, but if you’re following a low-sodium diet, read the bottled water labels because some contain sodium. Only pasteurised milk and juice should be ingested. 

Recommended timing 

The majority of medical experts advise patients with cirrhosis to abstain from caffeine-containing beverages, including coffee, tea, and soft drinks, despite some studies suggesting coffee (but not other caffeine-containing beverages) may be beneficial for those with liver disease brought on by alcohol consumption. 

If you are malnourished as a result of liver illness, your doctor may advise you to consume more calories. Try eating tiny, frequent meals and snacks throughout the day if you don’t feel like eating larger meals to increase your calorie consumption. 

Make sure you schedule your meals, whether during the day or at night, around when you are awake if your sleep cycle is disturbed. Aim to avoid going more than a few hours without eating or having a snack.  

Cooking tips to follow when you have cirrhosis 

Try cooking vegetables without oil or butter by grilling or boiling them. Use fresh herbs and spices instead of table salt if you’re following a cirrhosis diet that lowers your sodium intake. If you have difficulty breaking the habit of adding salt to your diet and find it challenging, your healthcare practitioner might let you use an alternative to salt. 

Select lean cuts of meat to begin with while cooking it. Compared to red meat, skinless fowl is a healthier choice. Depending on how it’s prepared, you might be permitted to eat tiny servings of beef occasionally. For instance, grilling meat lowers its fat content and keeps it from getting too greasy for a cirrhosis diet compared to frying it in oil or butter.  

To lower your chance of contracting a foodborne illness, handle food properly, follow safety procedures, and avoid raw or undercooked meat and seafood. 

Potential downsides of following the cirrhosis diet 

Switching to a liver cirrhosis diet may be difficult, depending on your diet. For instance, it can entail consuming fewer foods and beverages you frequently consume and find enjoyable, such as fast food, alcohol, and packaged snacks. Furthermore, the constraints may make eating in social settings or at restaurants more difficult.

It may be discouraging to learn that you might have to stick to the diet indefinitely to stop more damage because liver scarring cannot be undone. As a result, it’s a good idea to consult a dietician or your doctor to find out how to create a diet that you’ll be enthusiastic about and able to follow in the long run. 


It can be challenging to maintain an adequate diet if you have cirrhosis. To ensure your body gets the energy it needs, follow the diet.

To prevent further harm to your liver, it’s also essential that you closely monitor what you eat. For instance, you must abstain from alcohol, foods heavy in fat, and uncooked or only half-cooked shellfish. 

Even though altering your diet won’t cure a liver that is already damaged, it can help you live better and avoid consequences. 


Which fruit is most beneficial for liver cirrhosis? 

Fruits high in polyphenols aid in good liver health. These health advantages are associated with pomegranates, grapes, strawberries, and blueberries. Polyphenols are also abundant in many plants and herbs. 

How can cirrhosis be cured as quickly as possible? 

Cirrhosis cannot be cured. The goal of treatment is to address the underlying illness, and that may entail anything from medicine and lifestyle modifications to a liver transplant. The good news is that a diet tailored for cirrhosis patients will help minimise damage and halt the disease’s progression.



The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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