Every year on 28 July, the world comes together to commemorate World Hepatitis Day (WHD). World Hepatitis Day 2018 is an initiative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to spread awareness about this liver disease and minimise the burden of hepatitis globally. According to their official report 'Eliminate Hepatitis,' "Viral hepatitis affected 325 million people worldwide in 2015, with 257 million people living with hepatitis B and 71 million people living with hepatitis C - the two main killers of the five types of hepatitis." But, before we talk about causes, prevention and dietary changes for hepatitis, let's understand what hepatitis is and how it affects people. Hepatitis is a viral infection that causes inflammation in the liver. The most common types of hepatitis are hepatitis A, B, C and E. There is another type of hepatitis - hepatitis D - which only occurs in people who are already infected with the hepatitis B virus. People who are not already infected with hepatitis B can prevent hepatitis D by getting vaccinated against hepatitis B.
World Hepatitis Day 2018: Causes Of Hepatitis
According to Dr. Amit Gupte, who is a Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist at Wockhardt Hospital (Mumbai), "viral hepatitis can either be hepatitis A/hepatitis E that spreads mainly through contaminated food and water, or hepatitis B/hepatitis C that spreads by body fluids, blood transfusions or even from mother to baby. Hepatitis B and hepatitis C usually cause a chronic hepatitis and can progress to liver cirrhosis (permanent liver damage)." "Hepatitis A and E usually cause an acute self-limiting illness, which resolves over a few weeks and has no specific treatment, but to rely on good nutritious diet and rest. Whereas, hepatitis E can sometimes be dangerous, especially in pregnant women and may cause liver failure," he adds.
World Hepatitis Day 2018: Prevention Of Hepatitis
Our liver plays an important role in digestion. Everything we eat and drink passes through the liver and, therefore, we need to eat right to keep it strong and healthy. The World Health Organisation is working with various countries to help them improve access to hepatitis cure and prevention. As per Dr. Gupte, "hepatitis A and E can be prevented by food hygiene and use of safe water for drinking." He suggests to eat freshly-cooked homemade food and avoid street food and raw foods, moreover, recommends to boil and store your drinking water. For hepatitis B and C, he says, "there are good oral medications available. It is important to consult a doctor for timely treatment. There are vaccines available for hepatitis A and hepatitis B." He recommends a salt-restricted diet with high protein foods like pulses, sprouts, dal, paneer, egg white, fish and chicken. Moreover, he suggests to avoid bakery items, papad, pickles, chips, salt-water fish and red meat for the people who have liver cirrhosis.
World Hepatitis Day 2018: Six Foods That Can Help In Protecting Your Liver
Turmeric has many medicinal benefits. It is known to be one of the most powerful spices that helps maintain a healthy liver by protecting against liver damage and regenerate healthy liver cells. It helps in digesting fats and increases the production of bile. It also helps in detoxifying your liver.
Garlic contains certain sulphur compounds that are essential for supporting the liver and activating liver enzymes, which are responsible for flushing out toxins and waste from the body. Garlic also has selenium, which is an important mineral that helps in detoxifying our immune system.
We all know that lemons are full of vitamin C, which helps in building our immunity and keeps infections at bay. Lemons also act as a powerful antioxidant, which helps fighting disease-causing free radicals. Moreover, lemons have an alkalising effect on the body, which helps them to neutralise toxins and help in excreting wastes.
4. Greens Leafy Veggies
Our liver loves bitter and greener leafy veggies like spinach, amaranth leaves and mustard leaves. These greens are packed with chlorophyll, which helps in purifying the blood and supports smooth liver functions.
Walnuts are a rich source of amino acid known as arginine that support liver cleansing. Add walnuts to your daily diet as they are high in glutathione and omega-3 fatty acids, which support our liver functions and help in the cleansing process.
Beetroots are known as great blood purifiers. They are also rich in flavonoids that help in improving your overall liver functions. Moreover, the fibres and nutrients in beetroots help in flushing out the toxins that may be stored in the liver. Pectin is a type of soluble fibre found in beetroot, which is known for its cleansing properties.
Taking care of your liver and eating the right food can help in preventing the risk of many health ailments. If you have chronic hepatitis B or C, then you must check with your doctor instead of self-medicating or following our own diet.