Usually diagnosed before symptoms occur, primary biliary cirrhosis, or PBC, is a chronic medical condition that causes inflammation and damage to the bile ducts in the liver; this causes scarring and can lead to cirrhosis.

The diet for people with PBC is aimed at promoting good health and meeting nutrient needs. A healthy, balanced diet that supplies enough calories and protein is recommended; however, additional diet modifications may be necessary if complications occur.

Implement a Nutritious Diet

A healthy, balanced diet for PBC includes a variety of foods that supply energy, vitamins and minerals. Make sure your daily diet includes fruits and vegetables, with a goal of five servings a day.

Complex carbohydrates, such as whole-wheat pasta and bread, potatoes, brown rice and whole-grain cereals are an important source of calories and energy.

For protein, include lean sources of meat, poultry, seafood, eggs and beans.

Consume low-fat or nonfat dairy foods for strong bones and watch total fat intake. A dietitian can provide individualized amounts based on your medical condition.

Watch Your Sodium

Controlling sodium is also an important diet modification. The American Heart Association recommends an ideal daily sodium intake of 1,500 milligrams a day. It is important to know how much sodium is in table salt. The approximate amounts of sodium in table salt are as follows:

¼ teaspoon table salt = 575 milligrams of sodium

½ teaspoon table salt = 1,150 milligrams of sodium

¾ teaspoon table salt = 1,725 milligrams of sodium

1 teaspoon salt = 2,300 milligrams of sodium

If you are looking to reduce sodium in your diet, there are several ways to cut back. Before starting, however, calculate about how many milligrams of sodium you currently consume in a day.

Based on the information along with the goal of 1,500 milligrams per day, devise a realistic sodium goal and then begin to cut back on sodium gradually.

Try to choose packaged and prepared foods carefully and look at the nutrition label to discover those products lower in sodium. Many canned vegetables, and even lunch meat, have low sodium versions available.

Be sure to drain and rinse canned foods to reduce the sodium by up to 40 percent. Go for fresh or frozen as often as possible and skip adding salt to these foods during cooking.

Use onions, garlic, citrus juice and spices in place of salt to add flavor. Prepare rice, pasta and hot cereals without salt and choose your condiments such as ketchup, mustard and soy sauce carefully.

Carey Stites is a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and a Registered Dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition. Carey is currently the Registered Dietitian working with Wellstone in Harker Heights. Contact her at carey.stites@smchh.org.

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