Bilirubin is produced by the conversion of hemoglobin when the liver breaks down red blood cells that are no longer required by the body. High bilirubin levels in the body are caused due to an increase in toxicity in the liver, malfunction of the liver or the gallbladder. High levels of bilirubin can also be caused due to diseases such as cirrhosis, viral hepatitis, gallstones, leukemia, Gilbert syndrome, pancreatitis, cancer or inflammation of the gallbladder.
High bilirubin levels can cause jaundice-like symptoms such as yellow discoloration of the skin and whites of the eyes. In case of Gilbert syndrome, the body experiences constant fatigue or stomach pain. The best way to treat these symptoms and lower bilirubin levels is by consulting a doctor and following a prescribed treatment plan. Along with treatments, it is necessary to fortify the liver so that its functions return to normal, thus lowering bilirubin levels. One way to do this is by eating a healthy diet that works towards making the liver strong. Here are a few things that should be a part of the diet when high bilirubin levels are produced in the body:
- Food with high nutrient content: Nutrients in the food is processed by the liver. The liver also filters the blood to get rid of toxins. The liver’s functions are boosted when the diet is packed with nutrient-rich food. It is essential to make the following things a part of daily diet: fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, healthy fats, lean meat such as chicken, fish, beans and so on.
- High-fiber content food: It is claimed that a diet rich in fiber helps to increase the regeneration of cells of the liver. Eating soluble fiber also helps in easing bowel movements. Whole grains, beans, fresh vegetables, and fruits are rich sources of fiber. Black beans and kidney beans are known to have a high percentage of fiber.
- Opt for red vegetables and fruits: Red fruits and vegetables contain a chemical and antioxidant called as lycopene. Lycopene is known to be beneficial for liver health. A high proportion of lycopene is present in cooked tomatoes, guavas, watermelon, papayas, cooked sweet red peppers, and grapefruit. Tomato juice and tomato paste are also good sources of lycopene.
Food to avoid
Food that causes inflammation of the liver can aggravate the symptoms of high bilirubin levels. It is essential to avoid food that is high in processed sugar and fat. Deep fried and greasy food should not be consumed. Carbonated drinks and fast food should not be part of the diet. The amount of salt in food should be reduced. Alcohol should be avoided as well.