July 28 marks the World hepatitis Day. Here’s a look at how to prevent malnutrition due to the disease. Acute viral hepatitis is a widespread inflammationof the liver and is caused by hepatitis viruses A,B,C,D and E. Hepatitis causes nausea fever liver tenderness and enlargement jaundice pale stools and anorexia. The non-medical person identifies hepatitis or jaundice though jaundice can be precipitated by other causes as well. Nutrition plays a very important role in preventing malnutrition and faste recovery. It’s a common perception to completely avoid fats and oils and consume only curd rice or idlis that are easy to digest. However the nutrient requirements with this dietary regimen would not be met and individulas can get under nourished with poorer clinical course.
Following these nutritional guidelines would help individuals stay well-nourished and recover faster.
COMPLETE AND BALANCED DIET Irrespective of the formof hepatitis a complete and balanced food intake should be ensured. When nausea and vomiting is preventing adequate food nutritional supplements can be taken.
SOFT FREQUENT MEALS Large and heavy meals are not tolerated and therefore small frequent meals with plenty of fluids or water are advised. The meals can be soft foods to regular as tolerated by the individual.
HIGH CALORIE Diet should provide 30 – 35 kcal per kg body weight with sufficient carbohydrates to replenish the liver stores of glycogen. If regular foods are not meeting this calorie requirement nutritional supplements can be taken.
HIGH PROTEIN DIET Intake of protein should be 1 – 1.2 gms per kg body weight for acute hepatitis. Proteins would help in liver cell regeneration and faster recovery. Eggs lean meat milk and milk products can be included in the diet.
FATS AND OILS though controversial with many individuals going to a zero fat diet research suggests use of adequate amounts of fats and oils. You need to cut back only when intolerance to fats is observed.Regular vegetable cooking oils can be used in the meals to make them more palatable and appetizing t an already anorexic individual recovering from hepatitis.
MICRONUTRIENTS B – complex vitamins vitamin C and zinc are supplemented. Ensure that diet includes plenty of fruits and vegetables whole creals and pulses.
ALCLHOL If any food that needs to be completely avoided it is alcohol . Abstinence is advised.
FLUIDS Extra fluids is encouraged. Therefore include plenty of water fruit juices buttermilk milk vegetable juices and soups.
COURTESY THE HINDU