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What diet should I eat while suffering from jaundice?

Saturday, 25 June 2005
Answered by: Ms. Neesha Bukht Choksy
Consultant Nutritionist

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Q. I heard that sugracane juice is helpful in the treatment of Jaundice. How far is this true? Is it effective for pre-hepatic jaundice (haemolytic jaundice) only or even the hepatic and post hepatic (obstructive) forms of the disease?

A.  Jaundice is indicative of the malfunctioning of the liver. It may be caused by an obstruction of the bile ducts which discharge bile salts and pigment into the intestine. The simple form of jaundice, the pre hepatic jaundice can be treated well with a good diet. Recovery may however, be slow in serious cases caused by obstruction or pressure in the bile ducts, the hepatic and post hepatic jaundice cases. The patient should rest in bed till the acute symptoms subside. He should not be given any solid foods for the first few days of the treatment. He may be given plenty of fresh fruits and vegetable juices. The idea is to provide a high carbohydrate based diet as the liver is infected, and minimize the strain on the liver. Suji or dhalia porridge, soft custards, curd rice are other soft easy digestable foods. Fruits and vegetables are highly recommended, and can be used to prepare juices. Those like lemon, grapes, pear, tomato, carrot, beet and yes, sugarcane are preferable. Sugarcane juice, mixed with lime juice, being high carbohydrate can hasten recovery from jaundice. Half a glass of this juice, mixed with half a lime, may be given to the patient twice daily. It is, however, very essential that the juice must be pure and preferably prepared at home in a hygienic manner. Resistance is low in jaundice and any infected beverage could only make matters worse. It is also important to prepare this juice fresh each time and avoid storing it. After the severity of the decease has passed, the patient may be given a simple and well-balanced diet. The emphasis should be on fresh juicy fruits such as orange, apple, pineapple, grapes, papaya and mango, and vegetables such as spinach, fenugreek and carrots. The patient should avoid all fats like ghee, butter, cream and oils for at last two weeks and thereafter their consumption should be kept down to the minimum. Digestive disturbances must be avoided. No food with a tendency to ferment or putrefy in the lower intestines like pulses and legumes should be included in the diet. Other effective home remedy is the use of green leaves or radish (muli). The leaves should be pounded and their juice extracted. It should be strained through a clean piece of muslin before use. About 60 to 80 ml. of this juice, depending on the age, should be given to the patient three times daily. It induces healthy appetite and proper evacuation of bowels. But remember, these are all home remedy, they do help but do not substitute the need for rest and medication as prescribed by the doctor. Also remember to avoid alcohol until recovery. Alcohol may be poorly tolerated for some months and cause minor relapses - it should be totally avoided for at least 3 months or longer until the liver has fully recovered.

A.  Jaundice is indicative of the malfunctioning of the liver. It may be caused by an obstruction of the bile ducts which discharge bile salts and pigment into the intestine. The simple form of jaundice, the pre hepatic jaundice can be treated well with a good diet. Recovery may however, be slow in serious cases caused by obstruction or pressure in the bile ducts, the hepatic and post hepatic jaundice cases. The patient should rest in bed till the acute symptoms subside. He should not be given any solid foods for the first few days of the treatment. He may be given plenty of fresh fruits and vegetable juices. The idea is to provide a high carbohydrate based diet as the liver is infected, and minimize the strain on the liver. Suji or dhalia porridge, soft custards, curd rice are other soft easy digestable foods. Fruits and vegetables are highly recommended, and can be used to prepare juices. Those like lemon, grapes, pear, tomato, carrot, beet and yes, sugarcane are preferable. Sugarcane juice, mixed with lime juice, being high carbohydrate can hasten recovery from jaundice. Half a glass of this juice, mixed with half a lime, may be given to the patient twice daily. It is, however, very essential that the juice must be pure and preferably prepared at home in a hygienic manner. Resistance is low in jaundice and any infected beverage could only make matters worse. It is also important to prepare this juice fresh each time and avoid storing it. After the severity of the decease has passed, the patient may be given a simple and well-balanced diet. The emphasis should be on fresh juicy fruits such as orange, apple, pineapple, grapes, papaya and mango, and vegetables such as spinach, fenugreek and carrots. The patient should avoid all fats like ghee, butter, cream and oils for at last two weeks and thereafter their consumption should be kept down to the minimum. Digestive disturbances must be avoided. No food with a tendency to ferment or putrefy in the lower intestines like pulses and legumes should be included in the diet. Other effective home remedy is the use of green leaves or radish (muli). The leaves should be pounded and their juice extracted. It should be strained through a clean piece of muslin before use. About 60 to 80 ml. of this juice, depending on the age, should be given to the patient three times daily. It induces healthy appetite and proper evacuation of bowels. But remember, these are all home remedy, they do help but do not substitute the need for rest and medication as prescribed by the doctor. Also remember to avoid alcohol until recovery. Alcohol may be poorly tolerated for some months and cause minor relapses - it should be totally avoided for at least 3 months or longer until the liver has fully recovered.

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