Foods to fend off jaundice

October 9, 2015

Juandice occurs when a pigmented component of bile builds up in the blood. It's noticeable because the skin and whites of the eyes start to turn yellow. Here are facts about the illness and dietary approaches to help.

Foods to fend off jaundice

Types of jaundice

There are three general types of jaundice:

  • The most common is due to hepatitis or some other liver disorder
  • Obstructive jaundice, usually results from gallstones or another gallbladder disease
  • The least common involves some sort of abnormality in bilirubin metabolism


Each year more than 27 million North Americans are afflicted with liver and gallbladder disorders, but not all of these people develop jaundice. Among those who do, hepatitis — an inflammation of the liver — is the likely cause. There are five major forms of viral hepatitis:

  1. The liver inflammation may also be due to alcohol or drug abuse
  2. Adverse reaction to a medication
  3. Bacterial
  4. Parasitic
  5. Fungal infections of the liver.

Some strains of viral hepatitis are highly contagious and can enter the human body through water or food (especially shellfish) that has been contaminated by human waste. Hepatitis can also be spread through blood transfusions from an infected person or by direct contact with infected body fluids or the use of contaminated syringes.

Dietary approaches to help fight juandice

A nutritious, well-balanced diet and rest can lead to viral hepatitis resolving itself — although it may take several weeks. Unfortunately, many people find it ­dif­ficult to eat at the very time that they need extra calories to help the liver recuperate and regenerate its damaged cells. Eat a diet high in protein, from both animal and vegetable sources. The best sources are lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products and a combination of legumes and grain products. If the appetite is poor, intersperse several small meals a day with a nutritious snack (such as a milkshake or an enriched liquid drink).

Foods to avoid

  • Fried and very fatty foods -- They are difficult to digest, should be avoided. A small amount of fat is acceptable to provide needed calories and add flavour. In general, the fats in dairy products and eggs are easier to digest than those in fatty meats and fried foods.
  • Sweets and alcohol -- They may squelch the appetite for more nutritious foods. Alcohol should not be consumed, because it places added stress on an already sick liver. It may be tolerated after recovery, but some liver disorders mandate total abstinence from alcohol for life.

Getting jaundice is a sign of serious complications but it has many possible causes. Make sure you seek treatment and eat foods that are friendlier to your liver.

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