Hepatitis C: Diet and Exercise

Despite what you might read on the Internet, there's no special hepatitis C diet or exercise plan that cures the disease. But what you eat and how much you move makes a difference in how healthy you are with the disease.

Eat Right

What should you be eating? The same diet everyone should follow for good health.

That means lots of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. You should also cut back on fatty foods, salt, and sugar.

If you want to try a diet that sounds too good to be true, check it out with your doctor first.

Some people with hepatitis C find that the disease makes them less hungry. If this happens to you, you don’t have to force down a big breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Eat smaller meals more often throughout the day.

Get Moving

Exercise can make you feel stronger. It can also help with the depression that some hepatitis medications can cause.

Of course, a trip to the gym may feel like the last thing you want to do. One of the main symptoms of hepatitis C is fatigue. When you’re tired, it might seem like a workout would only drain you more. But it actually helps you get more energy.

The CDC suggests you get 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least 5 days a week. If that's too much for you, start with 10 minutes and work your way up. Check in with your doctor about a workout plan before you start it to make sure it’s safe for you.

What About Alcohol?

It can damage your liver. That's why it's especially risky for people with a liver infection like hepatitis C. But doctors don't agree about whether you should stop drinking or just cut down.

Some say that you should cut out all alcohol. Others feel it's OK to limit it to a glass of wine with dinner or a beer at the ballgame.

No one with hepatitis C should drink regularly, though.

Ask your doctor whether you can drink alcohol and, if so, how much is safe.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on April 15, 2019

Sources

SOURCES:

Paul Berk, MD, professor of medicine and emeritus chief of the division of liver disease, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City; former chairman of the board, American Liver Foundation.

Alan Franciscus, executive director, Hepatitis C Support Project and editor-in-chief of HCV Advocate, San Francisco.

Thelma King Thiel, chair and CEO, Hepatitis Foundation International.

David Thomas, MD, professor of medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore.

Howard J. Worman, MD, associate professor of medicine and anatomy and cell biology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York City.

The American Gastroenterological Association.

CDC.

The Hepatitis Foundation International.

The HCV Advocate.

The National Institute of Allergic and Infectious Diseases.
 



 

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