The liver is important to the metabolism of iron.

Although it varies from person to person, most of the iron we consume leaves the body naturally.

People with chronic hepatitis C sometimes have difficulty in releasing iron. This can result in an overload of iron in the liver, blood and other organs. This overload can increase tissue damage in the liver.

Menstruating women are less likely to experience iron overload due to their loss of blood each month.

Because of this, people with chronic hepatitis C should reduce the amount of iron-rich foods in their diets. These include red meats, liver, oysters, lentils, apricots and iron-fortified cereals. However, iron is an essential part of your diet so do not cut it out entirely.

It is important to avoid taking iron supplements, unless advised by your doctor. It can make liver damage worse because the body has no way of removing excess iron and it accumulates in the organs and tissues, including the liver. Multivitamin tablets often include iron, so check the label.

Also, beware that vitamin C increases the absorption of iron from food.


Fat can cause abnormalities such as fatty deposits in the liver, fatty inflammation or fatty cirrhosis.

Of course, small amounts of fat should be consumed as part of a balanced diet.

Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats can improve your health by helping to lower cholesterol levels in your blood.

Saturated fats are mostly found in fatty meats and full-fat dairy products, as well as in cakes and biscuits. Unsaturated fats are found in fish and foods that come from plants. These include olive oil, nuts, avocado and margarines.

The effect of eating fatty foods is a separate issue to gaining weight.


Protein is necessary for the building and maintenance of muscle, and the repair and healing of the body. 60-120 grams per day of protein is adequate for an adult.

Large amounts of protein in the diet can lead to a build-up of protein breakdown products in the blood. This is because they are normally removed through the liver.

If the levels of protein breakdown products are high, a complication known as encephalopathy can occur. This condition affects mental function and often causes brain fog.

Several older studies illustrate that a diet which cuts out protein from meat improves the symptoms of encephalopathy. However, recent studies suggest it is preferable to continue eating adequate amounts of protein as low protein intake can contribute to malnutrition.

It is difficult to strike a balance between getting the protein that your body needs without causing a build-up of protein breakdown products in the blood. Roughly 1-1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is advisable.


Cirrhosis can lead to an accumulation of fluid in the abdomen. This is known as ascites, and it is a symptom of end stage liver disease.

People who experience ascites should restrict their sodium intake to less than 1000mg per day.

This is difficult as many foods have a surprisingly high salt content. If it is necessary for you limit your sodium intake, avoid adding salt to food and check the salt content of food products you consume.

You might like to use an app such as Sodium Tracker to help you track your sodium intake. It can help you to add up the amount of sodium in every food product you eat each day, which you can find on nutritional informational labels. Please go to this link for more information go here:


There appears to be a connection between hepatitis C and issues with regulation of blood sugar levels. This increases the risk of developing diabetes.

The link between hepatitis C and insulin resistance is expanded upon here:

The liver regulates blood sugar levels by converting the food we eat into substances the body can use. They are then released as energy when the body need them.

People with end stage liver disease have difficulty in regulating blood sugar. One remedy is to have small, frequent meals that keep blood sugar levels more constant.

Coffee / Caffeine

Recent studies have suggested that daily consumption of caffeinated drinks is associated with less advanced liver scarring in people with hepatitis C.

100mg of caffeine (equivalent to 2.5 cups of coffee) is associated with roughly one-third reduction in advanced scarring, but higher intake is not believed to produce a further benefit.

Leafy vegetables

Studies suggest that leafy vegetables can lessen the fatty acid composition in your liver, and help to protect against artherogenic fatty acids which form fatty deposits in arteries.

A build-up of fatty deposits in arteries can cause a condition called atherosclerosis which is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease. There is more information about hepatitis C’s link to CHD here:


Great leafy vegetables to eat include kale, collard greens, sweet potato greens, spinach and cabbage.


Including juices in your diet can be useful for people with hepatitis C.                                    

Juicing does not necessarily provide more health benefits than eating whole fruit and vegetables, but drinking juices can help to get energy when eating large meals is not possible.

It is also important to keep whole fruit and vegetables as a part of your diet because juices don’t contain any fibre.

What are good combinations to try?

Store-bought juices can be expensive, but making them yourself with a juicer can save you money.

Apples, beetroot, broccoli, carrots, celery, cucumber, ginger, parsley, watercress and wheatgrass can all be good for your liver. 

Popular combinations include:

     Carrot, apple, beetroot and ginger

     Cucumber, carrot and beetroot

     Celery, carrot and beetroot