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Jaundice is a condition in which the body's bilirubin levels rise. Bilirubin is a yellowish pigment that is formed when your liver breaks down old red blood cells (RBCs). Excess bilirubin is usually expelled out of the body through stools. However, if you have a liver condition, bilirubin will start to accumulate in your body and cause yellowing of eyes, skin and mucous membranes. 

Alcoholic liver disease, hepatitis, drug toxicity or a blockage or tumour in the bile duct (the duct that connects the liver to the small intestine) are some of the possible causes of jaundice. 

Diet plays an important role in promoting health. Along with medical treatment, you can take certain foods to help promote liver health. Furthermore, there are certain foods that you should avoid if you have jaundice.

Here is a guide on what to eat and what not to eat in jaundice.

  1. Foods to eat in jaundice
  2. Drink water if you have jaundice
  3. Coffee is good for jaundice patients
  4. Whole grains benefits in jaundice
  5. Fruits and vegetables to eat in jaundice
  6. Foods to avoid in jaundice
  7. Sugarcane juice benefits in jaundice
  8. पीलिया में पीएं नींबू पानी - Jaundice me piye nimbu pani
  9. पीलिया में पीना चाहिए फलों का जूस - Falo ka juice pina chahiye piliya me
  10. जॉन्डिस में खाएं बादाम - Jaundice me khaye badam
  11. जॉन्डिस में अधिक नमक नहीं खाना चाहिए - Jaundice me adhik namak nahi khana chahiye
  12. जॉन्डिस में मीट न खाएं - Jaundice me meat na khaye
  13. पीलिया में अधिक फैट वाले खाद्य पदार्थ न खाएं - Jaundice me adhik fat wale khadya padarth na khaye
  14. पीलिया में न खाएं चीनी - Piliya me na khaye chini
  15. जॉन्डिस में अधिक प्रोटीन युक्त खाद्य पदार्थ न खाएं - Jaundice me adhik protein yukt khyadya padarth na khaye
  16. पीलिया में कैफीन युक्त पेय न पीएं - Do not Drink caffeinated beverages in Jaundice in Hindi
  17. पीलिया में केला नहीं खाना चाहिए - Do not eat banana in Jaundice in Hindi
  18. जॉन्डिस में न खाएं जंक फूड़ - Jaundice me na khaye junk food
  19. जॉन्डिस में क्या करना चाहिए और परहेज - Jaundice me kya karna chahiye aur parhej
Doctors for What to eat and what not to eat in jaundice

There are various foods that have proven benefits in promoting liver health. Most of these foods also prevent liver diseases. However, if you have jaundice, it is best to check in with a doctor to know which foods are safe for you.

Read more: Foods to improve liver health

Water plays an important role in almost every process going on in your body. It helps flush out the toxins and also aids digestion. 

Dehydration severely impacts every organ of the body and may even lead to liver damage. So, experts suggest that you should drink at least two to three litres of water every day - about eight to 10 glasses. 

Alternatively, you could drink lemon water. Studies have shown that lemon juice is loaded with antioxidants and is hence effective in improving liver function, especially in the case of alcohol-induced liver damage.  

Studies have shown that drinking two cups of black coffee per day can arrest the progression of liver disease. It can also reduce your risk of getting liver disease.  

Various mechanisms have been proposed to explain the beneficial effects of coffee on liver health:

  • First, coffee is rich in antioxidants which reduce inflammation and prevent liver damage.
  • Second, coffee has antifibrotic properties - it prevents liver fibrosis.
  • Third, coffee promotes liver detoxification.
  • And finally, it reduces fat deposition in the liver.

However, you should avoid drinking too much coffee as it may cause high blood pressure, headaches and insomnia.

Whole grains are rich in fibre - a complex carbohydrate that helps promote digestion - and various other bioactive compounds that not only promote liver health but also keep liver diseases at bay. 

Grains like maize, oats and sorghum are rich in antioxidants, brown rice has anti-inflammatory activity, wheat promotes fat metabolism and barley is effective in preventing fatty liver

According to a study published in the journal Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, oats have hepatoprotective properties (prevents liver damage). They also help reduce body weight.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are among the most important components of a healthy diet. They contain fibre, water, minerals and vitamins which help to fulfil your recommended daily requirements for macro and micronutrients.

Also, most fruits and veggies are rich in antioxidants and other compounds that together reduce liver damage and inflammation, improve metabolism and lower cholesterol levels. Here are some fruits and vegetables you should eat in jaundice:

  • Studies have shown that any plant from the Allium genus - onions, leeks, garlic, and shallots - has hepatoprotective activity.
  • Citrus fruits including lime, lemons, oranges and mandarins and vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, bok choi, and cauliflower are considered to be good for the liver. 
  • Other vegetables and fruits that are suitable for patients with various liver conditions include sweet potatoes, yams, beetroot, carrot, papaya, banana, avocado, fig, watermelon, pineapple, mango and pomegranate.

The following foods should be avoided if you have jaundice:

  • Green tea: Although green tea contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances, there is a lot of controversy on the effects of green tea on the liver. While some studies show that green tea reduces the risk of various liver diseases, there are some experts who suggest that regular consumption of green tea causes liver damage.
    If you have jaundice, it is best that you either avoid green tea or talk to your doctor to know how much green tea is safe for you.
  • Nightshade family (potatoes, brinjal and tomato): If you have jaundice due to an underlying liver disease, it is best to stay away from all the plants of the nightshade family. Animal studies show that these plants have a toxic effect on liver cells and increase the levels of the enzyme alanine aminotransferase (ALAT) in the blood - ALAT is a marker of liver damage. Some other plants of this family include peppers, tobacco, datura, and ground cherry (rasbhari).
  • Alcohol: Alcohol is primarily metabolised in the liver, hence if you tend to drink a lot of alcohol, your liver gets impacted the most. One of the first things that alcohol does is increase fat deposition in your liver, leading to alcoholic-fatty liver disease.
    Regular alcohol consumption leads to liver fibrosis and liver damage and, in severe cases, cirrhosis and eventually liver failure.
    If you already have a liver condition and are showing signs of jaundice, it is best to avoid alcohol completely. (Read more: Effects of alcohol on the body)
  • Saturated fat: Overconsumption of saturated fats is one of the contributing factors for fatty liver disease - one of the possible underlying causes of jaundice. It also promotes weight gain and obesity, which are the risk factors for liver disease. If you already have liver disease and jaundice, it is best to stay away from saturated fats. Some of the sources of saturated fats include dairy products like butter, ghee, milk, coconut oil, lard, processed meats like salami, and sausages.
  • Salt: Animal studies indicate that excess salt consumption can damage your liver in the long run. Salt is chemically sodium chloride; your body needs sodium to maintain electrolyte balance and blood pressure. If you add a lot of salt to your food, it would disrupt the electrolyte balance.
    Sodium alters the shape of your liver cells and keeps them from proliferating. Sodium also promotes liver fibrosis. So, physicians suggest that jaundice patients should reduce their salt intake - this includes the salt you add to home-cooked food as well as the "invisible" salt in processed and packaged foods.
    Packaged food also contains a lot of preservatives which are harmful to your liver. You should avoid eating packaged food like chips and biscuits if you have jaundice.
  • Sugar: Your liver is responsible for providing as well as storing sugar in your body. Too much sugar gets converted to fats in the liver through a process called lipogenesis. Both fructose and other kinds of sugars are shown to be mediators of fatty liver disease.
    A research study published in the journal PLoS ONE indicated that reducing the intake of fatty foods in liver diseases is only helpful if you also reduce your total sugar intake.
    If you already have a liver condition and hence jaundice, your liver would have to work more to clear all the extra sugar from your system. This could be detrimental to your health.
    Since processed and packaged foods have a lot of added sugar, it is best to avoid them too.
  • Meat: Rich cuts of meats like lamb and mutton can be difficult to digest, though lean cuts of chicken and fish may be easier to consume. That said, it might be a good idea to stick to plant-based proteins like legumes while you are recovering from jaundice. Patients should also avoid processed meats like salami and bacon as they can be salty as well as rich.

Sugarcane juice is traditionally used as a remedy for jaundice. Patients are often recommended to take sugarcane juice for a speedy recovery. 

Experts say that sugarcane juice has a lot of compounds that are known to promote liver health and reduce inflammation. Animal studies indicate that sugarcane juice does have protective effects on liver function. However, more studies are needed to confirm the benefits of sugarcane juice in patients with jaundice.

Dt. Akanksha Mishra

Dt. Akanksha Mishra

Nutritionist
8 Years of Experience

Surbhi Singh

Surbhi Singh

Nutritionist
22 Years of Experience

Dr. Avtar Singh Kochar

Dr. Avtar Singh Kochar

Nutritionist
20 Years of Experience

Dr. priyamwada

Dr. priyamwada

Nutritionist
7 Years of Experience


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References

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  2. Zhou Tong, et al. Protective Effects of Lemon Juice on Alcohol-Induced Liver Injury in Mice. Biomed Res Int. 2017; 2017: 7463571. PMID: 28567423.
  3. Wang Chau-Jong. Oat prevents obesity and abdominal fat distribution, and improves liver functions in Humans. . Plant Foods for Human Nutrition. 2013 January; 68: 18-23.
  4. Guan Yong-Song, He Qing. Plants Consumption and Liver Health. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015; 2015: 824185. PMID: 26221179.
  5. Singh Amandeep, et al. Phytochemical profile of sugarcane and its potential health aspects. Pharmacogn Rev. 2015 Jan-Jun; 9(17): 45–54. PMID: 26009693.
  6. Yin Xueru, et al. The effect of green tea intake on risk of liver disease: a meta analysis. Int J Clin Exp Med. 2015; 8(6): 8339–8346. PMID: 26309486.
  7. LiverTox: Clinical and Research Information on Drug-Induced Liver Injury [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; 2012-. Green Tea. [Updated 2018 Mar 12].
  8. Osna Natalia A., Donohue Terrence M. Jr., Kharbanda Kusum K. Alcoholic Liver Disease: Pathogenesis and Current Management. Alcohol Res. 2017; 38(2): 147–161. PMID: 28988570.
  9. Rosqvist F, Kullberg J, Ståhlman M, et al. Overeating Saturated Fat Promotes Fatty Liver and Ceramides Compared With Polyunsaturated Fat: A Randomized Trial. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2019;104(12):6207–6219. PMID: 31369090.
  10. Luukkonen PK, Sädevirta S, Zhou Y, et al. Saturated Fat Is More Metabolically Harmful for the Human Liver Than Unsaturated Fat or Simple Sugars. Diabetes Care. 2018;41(8):1732–1739. PMID: 29844096.
  11. Diabetes Association of Australia [Internet]. Phipps Close. Deakin. Australia; Where do I find saturated fats in food
  12. American Chemical Society [Internet]. Washington D.C. US; Too much salt could potentially contribute to liver damage
  13. Diabetes Education Online: Diabetes Teaching Center [Internet]. University of California, San Francisco. US; The Liver & Blood Sugar
  14. Jensen T, Abdelmalek MF, Sullivan S, et al. Fructose and sugar: A major mediator of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. J Hepatol. 2018;68(5):1063–1075. PMID: 29408694.

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