Diet in liver cirrhosis

Diet in liver cirrhosis

Cirrhosis of the liver is accompanied by a transformation of the liver cells into scar tissue and connective tissue. It occurs when various liver diseases cannot heal for years. If a lot of functional tissue is destroyed, the performance of the organ is restricted. However, as long as the liver is doing its job (a compensated form of liver cirrhosis), this form of liver disease does not require any restrictive dietary measures but rather a healthy, wholesome diet. But what to eat when symptoms occur as a result of cirrhosis of the liver?

Malnutrition in cirrhosis of the liver: what to eat?

Malnutrition is a common complication (> 50%) of chronic liver disease and a crucial factor in the prognosis and therapy of the disease. In malnourished patients, complications such as B. ascites (dropsy stomach) and infections.

Therefore, watch out for signs of malnutrition early on, such as decreased muscle mass and strength, frequent tiredness, exhaustion and reduced performance. Check your weight regularly, but remember that this can be misleading if you have water retention in your abdomen.

What should you eat to avoid malnutrition?

  • Make sure you are getting enough energy and nutrients.
  • Consume about 1.2 g protein per kg body weight daily; prefer vegetable proteins, such as soy products. Although legumes are rich in protein, they often need to be better tolerated.
  • Don’t be stingy with fats! You can enrich dishes with cream, butter or vegetable oil and consume high-fat milk and dairy products.
  • Use unique products for energy enrichment (e.g., energy-rich powders for enriching meals, high-calorie drinking foods, etc.) if necessary. However, only use these after consulting your doctor or a nutritionist!


Diet for abdominal dropsy (ascites)

If cirrhosis of the liver causes water to accumulate in the abdominal cavity, limiting the intake of table salt is essential. In particular, processed foods with a high salt content should be avoided. These include ready meals, soups and sauces, canned vegetables, salted nuts, crisps, pretzels, salted herring, etc.

Limiting fluid intake is often necessary. The doctor will provide you with detailed information on this.

Liver-related brain dysfunction (hepatic encephalopathy)

Brain dysfunction can occur as a result of cirrhosis of the liver. The reason for this is a symptom of poisoning caused by substances that can no longer be broken down properly in the liver (e.g. breakdown products from protein metabolism). If this occurs, a reduced protein intake may be necessary as an exception and for a short period. This should only be done on doctor’s orders, usually at least 60 g daily.


Varicose veins in the oesophagus: nutrition

The accumulation of connective tissue in the liver impairs blood flow through the liver. The blood backs up and looks for other ways. Small vessels in ​​the stomach and the oesophagus are supplied with much more blood. They are bulging and can tear easily. This can lead to life-threatening bleeding.

Protecting the easily torn varicose veins in the oesophagus is essential by chewing and breaking up food well. Sharp-edged food components should be avoided. These include, for example, crispbread, rusks, hard biscuits, fried potatoes, French fries, chips and spicy fried foods.

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