Hepatitis C is a blood-borne viral infection that affects the liver. A liver-friendly diet is therefore central to its effective management and to improved quality of life for patients, says top celebrity chef and food writer, Gizzi Erskine.
Eating your way to a healthier liver
Last year, Erskine, hosted a ‘C party’ dinner at Boy George’s house in London, to raise awareness for the charity Hepatitis C Trust and about the importance of healthy eating to promote liver function. She says: “The liver is one of the most important organs in the body. It plays a crucial role in digestion, fat and sugar metabolism, hormones production, and in the elimination of toxins and other harmful substances. It’s really important to ensure that it functions properly through a well-balanced, healthy diet. For someone with hepatitis C, this can potentially lead to fewer symptoms and visits to the doctor.”
“Foods that are helpful for liver health include artichokes, asparagus, leafy green vegetables, fruit, white meat, and fish,” she continues. “Also important are foods with a high water content, such as cucumber and watermelon. These are all excellent at boosting liver function and should be regular items on the menu of people with hepatitis C.”
What to avoid
“Those with the condition should also consider that the liver doesn’t respond well to sugar, fat, alcohol and caffeine, so limiting the consumption of these substances is another important step they can take,” says Erskine. It is also vital for them to reduce the intake of foods rich in salt or iron; processed, junk and fried foods; and anything that contains pesticides and additives. Iron supplements and multivitamin tablets that contain vitamin C — which promotes the absorption of iron — should also be avoided.