For hepatitis B, doctors recommend eating a balanced diet with plenty of carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables to help the liver function properly.

Hepatitis B is a viral infection that affects a person’s liver. The liver filters the blood, processes and stores nutrients, and converts harmful substances into harmless ones. When this organ is inflamed or damaged, it cannot function properly.

Doctors know that when people with hepatitis B follow a nutritious, well-balanced diet with whole grains and lean proteins, their liver function improves.

This article explains how to eat for a healthier liver and explores the foods and drinks to include and avoid. It also gives tips about lifestyle changes that benefit a person’s liver.

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In a 2020 paper, researchers investigating the role of diet therapy in treating liver disease confirm that simple dietary changes help the liver recover more quickly.

Everything a person eats or drinks passes through the liver. This organ filters the blood, removing nutrients and vitamins and metabolizing harmful substances.

Highly processed foods, fats, red meat, and sugary foods make the liver work harder, while fruit, vegetables, and whole grains support its function.

When a person’s liver is damaged, they may not absorb nutrients effectively. According to a 2020 paper looking into the nutritional status of people with hepatitis B, researchers know that many are experiencing malnutrition.

People who worked with a nutritionist to change their diets experienced an improvement in their liver function and a boost in nutrient levels.

Changes to a diet will not cure hepatitis B but increase the likelihood of the person’s liver recovering completely. Those who continue these eating habits reduce the amount of stress on their liver.

People with hepatitis B can enjoy many foods, including lean meats, fish, whole grains, vegetables, and fruit.

In the 2020 paper exploring diet and liver disease, researchers also recommend eating smaller but more frequent meals throughout the day.

Foods to eat more of include:

The researchers add that people can eat the vegetables raw or cooked and that frozen, tinned, and fresh varieties all help.

They advise people to wash fresh fruit and vegetables to remove any preservatives or insecticides that might be on the skin. These chemicals place a strain on the liver.

Most people need to increase their intake of complex carbohydrates and choose more nutrient-dense, whole-grain varieties, including whole wheat bread and pasta.

Cutting back on certain foods can help the liver function. Foods to reduce or eliminate from the diet include:

  • fast food or takeaway food
  • fried foods, including potato chips
  • full fat dairy products, including cream and butter
  • saturated fats
  • highly processed foods, including hot dogs, cured meats such as ham, store-bought salad dressings, and sweetened breakfast cereals
  • salty foods and salt
  • rich sauces and relishes
  • sugary foods and drinks, including sodas, cookies, and many packaged baked goods
  • raw or undercooked shellfish

Highly processed foods usually contain a lot of fat, salt, and sugar and make a person’s liver work hard.

In the above 2020 paper, the researchers advise people to reduce their fat intake as much as possible and restrict it to ideally between 40 and 60 grams per day.

People with hepatitis B still need the recommended number of calories each day, though many find it helps to eat smaller meals more often. A person can also aim to fill up on fiber.

In a 2020 paper, researchers note that those with hepatitis B need to get most of their calories from carbohydrates. They also recommend cutting down on meat consumption.

Individuals can also keep the calorie levels of each meal about the same, including some carbohydrates with every meal.

There are no rules regarding what to eat or when, but a person needs to keep the meals varied and well-balanced. Meal ideas for people following the six-day meal plan are included below.

Meal Ideas
Breakfast• 2 slices whole-wheat toast with natural peanut butter and a banana
oatmeal with skim milk and dried or fresh fruit
• vegetable omelet with whole-wheat toast
Morning snackcarrot and celery sticks with hummus
• cottage cheese and cantaloupe
Lunch• baked sweet potato with black beans and avocado
• grilled chicken or turkey salad wrap with whole-wheat tortilla
Afternoon snack• small green apple with cinnamon and natural peanut butter
• scrambled egg on whole-wheat toast
Dinner• grilled salmon with quinoa and green beans
• burrito bowl with brown rice and tofu
Evening snack • dried fruit and nuts
• air-popped popcorn

People with hepatitis B also benefit from simple lifestyle changes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends:

They also recommend checking with a pharmacist or doctor before taking any over-the-counter medications.

This section answers some frequently asked questions about the best diet for hepatitis B.

Is egg suitable for a person with hepatitis B?

Yes, eggs are a lean protein that people with hepatitis B can enjoy as part of a varied diet.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), eggs are a suitable source of choline, which is important for liver function.

Can a hepatitis B patient eat protein?

Lean proteins are fine for people with hepatitis B.

In a 2020 paper, researchers recommend that about 15% of a person’s daily calorie requirement comprises protein.

Lean proteins include fish, chicken, turkey, skim milk, eggs, cottage cheese, and tofu.

Hepatitis B is a viral infection that affects a person’s liver. Researchers have shown that people who eat more whole grains, fruit, vegetables, and lean proteins can help protect their livers from lasting damage.