Diet in cirrhosis

Cirrhosis of the liver is associated with a transformation of liver cells into scar and connective tissue. It occurs when various liver diseases can not heal for years. When much functioning tissue is destroyed, the performance of the organ is restricted. However, as long as the liver fulfills its tasks (compensated form of cirrhosis of the liver), even in this form of liver disease no restrictive dietary measures are needed, but a healthy, full-fledged diet.


Malnutrition is a common complication (> 50%) in chronic liver disease and a key factor in the prognosis and treatment of the disease. In malnourished patients complications occur much more frequently, such as. As ascites (ascites) and infections. Watch early for signs of malnutrition, such as a decrease in muscle mass and strength, frequent fatigue, fatigue, and diminished performance. Regularly check your weight, but keep in mind that this may be misleading if water in the abdomen is stored.

  • Make sure you have enough energy and nutrients
  • Take about 1.2 g protein per kg body weight daily; you prefer vegetable proteins from soy products, legumes, etc.
  • Do not be frugal with fats! You can enrich food with cream, butter or vegetable oil and eat high-fat milk and dairy products.
  • You may want to use special energy enrichment products (such as high energy powders to fortify food, high calorie drinking foods, etc.). However, use these only after consultation with your doctor or a nutritionist!


If there is an accumulation of water in the abdominal cavity as a result of cirrhosis of the liver, it is important to limit the intake of saline. In particular, high salt content ready foods should be avoided. These include: ready meals, ready-to-eat soups and sauces, canned vegetables, salted nuts, crisps, pretzels, salted herring, etc. Often a restriction of hydration is necessary. For this the doctor will give you exact information.

Liver-related brain performance disorder (hepatic encephalopathy)

A disruption of brain function may occur as a result of cirrhosis. The reason for this is a poisoning phenomenon caused by substances that can no longer be properly degraded in the liver (eg degradation products from the protein metabolism). If this occurs, a reduction of the protein intake may be necessary exceptionally and for a short time. This should only be done by the doctor and is usually not less than 60g per day.

Varicose veins in the esophagus

The incorporation of connective tissue into the liver affects blood flow through the liver. The blood builds up and looks for other ways. Small vessels in the stomach and esophagus are much more perfused. They are bulging and can tear easily. This can lead to life-threatening bleeding.

It is important to protect the easily tearing varicose veins in the esophagus by chewing and chopping the food well. Sharp-edged food components should be avoided. These include, for example, crispbread, rusks, hard biscuits, fried potatoes, French fries, chips and spicy roast.

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