Jaundice, also known as hyperbilirubinemia, is the yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes. Amongst the diverse patient population, newborns and the elderly are more prone to the disease. In infants, jaundice usually occurs when the baby’s blood has a large amount of bilirubin, a yellow pigment found in the red blood cells.
In adults, however, as NCBI states, jaundice is an indicator of a serious underlying disease. Experts believe that the normal level of bilirubin in the body(1) is less than 1mg/dl. When the levels reach more than 3mg/dl, the chances of jaundice increase.
Treatment of jaundice is usually determined by the underlying cause. If there is an obstruction in the bile duct, then surgery is required; otherwise, jaundice can be treated with proper medication and a carefully planned diet.
What to Include in a Jaundice Diet
Experts believe that the first and most important step for recovery in jaundice is to keep the body hydrated. You should drink plenty of water as it helps to flush the toxins out of the body. It will also help maintain your electrolyte balance and cure bodily weakness. Also, try to consume watery juices and soups to provide your body with nutrients.
2. Herbal Tea
Herbal tea is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties which can help bring down the inflammation of the liver and the bile duct. It is also known to improve liver health by clearing out the toxins in it. Studies prove that about three cups of herbal tea a day can combat liver problems.
3. Milk Thistle
Milk thistle is rich in an enzyme called silymarin(2), which helps repair damaged liver cells. It can be consumed with herbal tea, or it can also be added in salads or midday snacks. However, if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking any other prescription medicines, it is advisable to consult your doctor before taking it.
[Read: Home Remedies to Treat Jaundice]
Experts state that naturally occurring digestive enzymes help reduce the excessive amount of bilirubin in the body. Honey is one such natural ingredient that has digestive enzymes in it, making it an excellent food for jaundice patients. You can consume honey with water, milk, or herbal tea. You can also add it to your salad or breakfast cereal.
5. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables are one of the best foods for jaundice as they contain power antioxidants which increase the metabolism of the body(3) and ease the digestive process. Vegetables and fruits are also a powerhouse of nutrients, and the majority of them are liver-friendly. They not only help you release the toxins from the liver and the body but also help you maintain a balanced diet of low calorie and high fiber.
Some of the fruits and vegetables which are very beneficial are
- Cranberries and blueberries
- Avocados and olives
- Lemons, orange, and grapefruit
- Yams and sweet potatoes
- Carrot and beetroot
- Spinach and celery
- Ginger and garlic
What You Must Exclude In A Jaundice Diet!
While suffering from jaundice, it becomes tough for the liver to process unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats can be healthy, but they should be strictly excluded from your jaundice diet. Other high-fat food and fried food should also be avoided or should be eaten in minimal quantities.
Studies have confirmed that refined sugar and other forms of processed sugar are not ideal foods for jaundice as they can cause fat build-up in the liver. Consumption of food high in sugar during jaundice can significantly risk liver damage. If you have a sweet tooth, you can consume some fruits but strictly avoid artificial sweeteners and sugar syrups.
[Read: Best Vitamins For Liver]
High sodium intake can contribute to liver damage and affect the water retention capacity of the body. You can use alternatives like oregano(4), chilli flakes, garlic powder, etc. to season your food. Also, try to avoid processed and canned food as they have quantities of salt in them.
A Perfect Diet Chart
|BREAKFAST||Tomato Soup (1 cup)||Carrot Soup (1 cup)||Bell pepper soup (1 cup)||Broccoli and Bell pepper soup (1 cup)||Boiled chickpeas with tomatoes (1cup)||Carrot and beetroot soup (1 cup)||Porridge (1/2 cup)+ 1 fruit|
|LUNCH||Porridge (1 cup)||Soybean (1 cup) + 2 chapatti||Vegetable stew (1 cup) + 2 chapatti||Baked vegetable (1/2 cup) + 2 chapatti + curd (1/2 cup)||Lentil soup (1 cup) + boiled rice (1 small bowl)||2 Rice cakes + lentil soup (1 cup)||Boiled rice (1small bowl) + any vegetable (1 cup)|
|MID-MEAL||Coconut water (1 cup) + 1 orange||Coconut water (1 cup) + 1 apples||Coconut water (1 cup) + grapes (1/2 cup)||Coconut water (1 cup) + Puffed rice (1/2 cup)||Coconut water (1 cup) + 1 orange||Coconut water (1 cup) + 1 pomegranate||Coconut water (1 cup) + Roasted rice flakes (1/2 cup)|
|DINNER||Boiled rice (1 small bowl) + any vegetable curry (1 cup)||Boiled rice (1 small bowl) + lentil soup/fish stew (1cup)||Porridge (1 cup)||Boiled rice (1 small bowl) + any vegetable curry (1 cup)||Boiled rice (1 small bowl) + mashed potatoes (1/2 cup) + ghee (2 tbsp)||Porridge (1 cup)||Boiled rice (1 small bowl) + bottle guard curry (1 cup)|
It is crucial to look after your body when you have jaundice. Eat a well-balanced diet to keep your liver healthy and alleviate jaundice. Furthermore, proper care and a balanced diet will also help you prevent its recurrence. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to consult your doctor and take some specific recommendations from them. Also, a few small considerations can help you fight jaundice better:
- Eat-in small quantities
- Drink water throughout the day
- Strictly stay away from alcohol and nicotine
1. How Long Does It Take to Clear Jaundice?
With a proper jaundice diet, you can notice the disease clear in roughly 2-3 weeks.
2. Is Curd Good for Jaundice?
Yes, eating curd is suitable for jaundice as it is a good probiotic which helps combat liver damage.
3. Can I Eat a Banana in Jaundice?
Yes, absolutely! Fruits like bananas, apples, and oranges help detoxify the liver and should be a part of your diet if you have jaundice.