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Viral Hepatitis and Liver Disease

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Eating Tips: Protein

for Veterans and the Public

Get enough protein - Hepatitis C for Patients

Protein is needed to fight infection and to heal damaged liver cells. Protein helps rebuild and maintain muscle mass and it aids in healing and repair of body tissues.

Good protein sources can be divided into 2 groups:

Dairy products

Besides providing protein, dairy products are the richest source of calcium and one of the few sources in the diet of vitamin D. Dairy products include milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and puddings made with milk.

Tips:

Choose dairy products that are low-fat or fat-free. Go easy on dairy products that have lots of fat and little calcium, such as cream cheese, cream, and butter.

Meats, fish, dried beans, soy, nuts, and eggs

This group of foods provides protein, as well as B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, zinc, and magnesium.

Tips:

Choose lean meats. Boil, bake, or stir-fry them instead of frying.

Caution about iron

Some people with hepatitis C have above-average iron levels in their body. If you have too much iron, your doctor may ask you to eat fewer iron-rich foods, such as red meats, liver, and iron-fortified cereals. You also should avoid cooking with iron-coated cookware because the iron from the pots gets absorbed into food.