12 Healthy Diet Tips for Hepatitis C and Liver Disease

Dealing with liver disease or any chronic illness can be challenging enough and can bring an out of control feeling. Your diet is something you can control. It gives you a sense of being behind the wheel with your health.

The old adage ‘you are what you eat’ is true.  What we eat affects our entire body, especially our liver.  The liver is the powerhouse of the body.  It is the second largest organ and helps with many vital functions.  When our liver is unhealthy, it affects our entire body, even your immune system, which helps you fight disease.

Think of your liver in terms of a highly efficient engine and filter.  What you eat, drink and expose to your body is chemically broken down by your liver and affects your immune system and many other functions of your body.

 

It’s important to eat and drink the right fuel in order to operate effectively. With having Hep C, I learned 12 healthy diet tips for Hepatitis C or any liver disease that help the liver do its jobs and help repair some liver damage.

The American Liver Foundation states that eating an unhealthy diet can even lead to liver disease.  For example, a person who eats a lot of fatty foods is at higher risk of being overweight and having (NAFLD) non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

An unhealthy diet and exposure to dangerous chemicals can do damage to your liver and cause it not to function properly.  Like ‘sludge’ in your gas tank an unhealthy diet can slow down or worse, lead to compromised liver function.

When I was first diagnosed with Hep C over twenty years ago, along with seeing my liver specialist, I saw a registered dietitian for nutritional counseling.  I wanted to know from having Hepatitis C what kind of diet was best.

12 Healthy Diet Tips for Hepatitis C and any liver disease is:

  1.  Eating foods from all food groups in healthy portions such as whole grains, lean proteins, low fat dairy, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats.
  2. Eating foods with high fiber such as fresh fruits, vegetables, lentils, beans and whole grains are liver healthy foods.  Fiber it up, it’s nature’s broom to help eliminate toxins from the body.
  3.  Eat a well balanced diet, but eat lean proteins from poultry, fish, and plant based proteins.
  4. Limit red meat due to this is harder and takes longer for your system to break it down, plus it can contribute to bloating.
  5. Avoid uncooked shellfish such as oysters and clams or other uncooked meats.
  6. Limit foods and drinks that are high in sugar and salt.
  7. Limit eating high fatty foods.
  8. Limit eating fried or processed foods.
  9. Stay within a healthy weight range because the liver can function better than if we’re over or under weight.
  10. Eating smaller meals throughout the day is also better than large meals.  Your liver has to work harder to break down high fat and larger meals.  This will also help stabilize blood sugar, cravings, and the bloated, sleepy feeling that can come from eating larger meals.
  11. It is best to limit foods that have a lot of sugar and high sodium (salt). High sodium foods and eating too much protein will make you retain fluid and can lead to excess toxins in your blood stream.   Be careful not to limit your protein too much because it can result in a lack of certain amino acids that is essential for your body to function properly.
  12. Drink plenty of pure water, filtered if possible.  Drink at least 64 ounces a day.  Avoid Alcohol.  Alcohol is like throwing gas on a fire with liver disease and increases damage.

 

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Always consult your physician before beginning any treatment program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate treatment plan.

Article Source:  https://www.lifebeyondhepatitisc.com/2015/06/ten-healthy-diet-tips-hepatitis-c-liver-disease-2/

Folate Deficiency: What You Should Know

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As cold temperatures coat the United States respectively, many are quick to jump to comfort foods and forget to incorporate important vitamins into their diet. January is acknowledged as the month for folic acid awareness.

What is Folate? How does Folate Deficiency develop? 

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Although diets low in fresh fruit, vegetables, and fortified cereals are the main reason for folate deficiencies, people diagnosed with gastrointestinal diseases that affect absorption may also experience folate deficiencies. Diseases such as Crohn’s, celiac, and certain cancers can predispose someone to a folate deficiency.

Excessive alcohol consumption may also cause folate deficiency by stimulating folate excretion through urine. Some medications such as phenytoin, tripmethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, methotrexate, and methotrexate have been noted to cause folate deficiency.

What can happen if I am folate deficient? 

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How can I know if I am folate deficient? 

While most people consume the suggested amount of folate through the food in their diet, it is always good to be familiar with the subtle signs of folate deficiency.

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How can I prevent becoming folate deficient? 

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Folate deficiency, for most people, can be prevented through eating a balanced, nutritious diet.

Foods that are high in folic acid are: 

  • leafy, green vegetables (ex: spinach)
  • Brussels sprouts
  • peas
  • citrus
  • lentils
  • fruits, such as bananas and melons
  • tomato juice
  • peanut butter
  • eggs
  • beans
  • legumes
  • mushrooms
  • asparagus
  • nuts
  • shellfish
  • wheat bran
  • fortified cereals

The recommended folate dose is 400 micrograms per day. Women who may become pregnant should take a folate supplement. Folate is critical for normal fetal growth.

People who take medications known to cause folate deficiency should take a supplement as well, but it’s always important to check with your doctor first.

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Find out how you can help medical research and contribute to finding cures by contacting PlasmaMed through our website: www.plasmamedpatients.com/contact 

Article resources:

  • https://www.healthline.com/health/folate-deficiency#complications
  • Bueno, O., Molloy, A. M., Fernandez-Ballart, J. D., Garcia-Minguillan, C. J., Ceruelo, S., Rios, L., . . . Murphy, M. M. (2015, November 11). Common polymorphisms that affect folate transport or metabolism modify the effect of the MTFHR 677C > T polymorphism on folate status. Journal of Nutrition, 146(1), 1-8ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26561410

 

 

 

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month.

About 79 million Americans currently have HPV. Many people with HPV are unaware that they are infected. And each year, more than 11,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer.

Most deaths from cervical cancer could be prevented by regular screenings and follow-up care. Cervical cancer screenings can help detect abnormal (changed) cells early, before they turn into cancer.

Take the time to learn more about HPV (human papillomavirus) and cervical cancer. 

Here are several helpful links to learn more about HPV and cervical cancer prevention.

Cervical Cancer: What to Know.

HPV Vaccination & Cancer Prevention

 

Keep up with Plasma MedResearch through our facebook page. 

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SLMA September – Cholesterol Awareness

Article Source: https://www.houmatimes.com/health_and_wellness/slma-september—cholesterol-awareness/article_93f7e882-9242-11e7-9f9b-b337abd6dd90.html

 

Back to school is just around the corner, but September is about more than just new books and school clothes, it’s also Cholesterol Awareness Month. Celebrate the start of fall by learning more about cholesterol and how you can help keep your body healthy.

What is Cholesterol?

We often hear and talk about cholesterol but may not know exactly what it means. Cholesterol actually isn’t a bad thing; it’s a waxy, soft, fat-like substance that our bodies need to produce cell membranes and other important substances. The liver produces the cholesterol needed by the body to function properly. But cholesterol also comes from the food we eat, specifically food from animals, like meat and full-fat dairy. These foods also contain saturated and trans fats which signal your liver to produce more cholesterol. This can result in levels that are too high. Nearly one-third of adults in the United States have high cholesterol levels.

Types of Cholesterol

There are two types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL is known as bad cholesterol because it carries particles of cholesterol around your body in the bloodstream and leaves them on the walls of your arteries. This results in build up along the artery walls so they become hard and narrow. On the other hand, HDL is known as good cholesterol because it works to remove cholesterol from your bloodstream, taking it to the liver so it can be broken down. Having high levels of HDL and low levels of LDL is ideal.

Causes of High Cholesterol

A number of factors can influence your cholesterol levels, including the following:

● Obesity – Extra weight increases LDL levels

● Inactivity – Regular physical activity helps lower LDL and increase HDL

● Poor diet – Diets high in saturated fat and cholesterol increase the level of LDL in the bloodstream

● Family genetics – Your genes can impact how much cholesterol your body produces

● Age – Cholesterol levels rise with age

● Gender – Men often have higher cholesterol levels than women before menopause; after menopause, the levels tend to even out

Managing Cholesterol

Whether you have high cholesterol and want to lower your levels or you just want to prevent high cholesterol from developing, it’s important to focus on lifestyle changes. What you eat is an important part of fighting cholesterol, so work toward consuming a heart-healthy diet. Well-balanced diets focused on fiber-rich foods, fruits, vegetables and whole grains are key. You should also minimize the amount saturated and trans fats you consume, which are found in foods like meat, full-fat dairy, fried food and store-bought baked goods. Here are some examples of heart-healthy foods to include in your diet:

● Barley

● Oatmeal

● Leafy greens

● Avocado

● Nuts

● Salmon

● Beans

● Eggplant

● Soybeans

● Black tea

● Garlic

Regular physical activity is also important. Aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five days week. Other lifestyle changes can also help lower cholesterol, including reducing stress, losing weight and quitting smoking.

Cholesterol Medication

Managing cholesterol should focus on making lifestyle changes. However, if you are working on changing your lifestyle and are struggling to bring down your cholesterol levels, then talk to your doctor. They may prescribe certain medications, including fibrates, statins and niacin, to help lower cholesterol. These medications may be taken individually or in combination; your doctor will determine what is appropriate for you.

Test Your Cholesterol

Having your cholesterol tested is the only way to know what your levels are like. A simple blood test determines your current levels. The most common cholesterol screening is a lipid profile; it measures the level of fats in your blood, including cholesterol. It’s recommended that people over age 20 get a cholesterol screening at least once every five years, but certain factors make it better for some people to get tested more often. Optimal cholesterol levels are as follows:

● Total cholesterol below 200 mg/dL

● HDL at 60 mg/dL or above

● LDL below 100 mg/dL

Dangers of High Cholesterol

Although it’s usually impossible to determine if you have high cholesterol without a blood test, that doesn’t mean it isn’t impacting your body and health. If left unchecked, high cholesterol can contribute to a number of health problems. The biggest problem is a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries that combines with other substances and leads to the formation of plaque. This buildup of plaque in your arteries is known as atherosclerosis. As the plaque deposits continue to grow, they narrow the space inside your arteries. This restricts the flow of blood. A clot that develops in your bloodstream can easily become stuck in an area where the arteries are narrowed, completely blocking the flow of blood. If your blood can’t carry oxygen to your heart or brain, then a heart attack or stroke will occur.

When to See Your Doctor

It’s important to talk to your doctor about testing your cholesterol levels. Many times you won’t notice high cholesterol until it’s too late. Regular screenings can determine your cholesterol levels so you can take appropriate action if necessary. In addition, if you notice chest pain it’s important to see your doctor right away. This can be a sign that the blood flow to your heart is restricted.

Managing your cholesterol levels is an important part of overall health, particularly heart health. Celebrate Cholesterol Awareness Month by talking to your doctor about getting a cholesterol screening. Then choose a lifestyle change to work on for better heart health.