Liver Disease and Nutrition

The liver serves many purposes in the body, including filtering harmful substances from the blood, producing substances that assist with food digestion, and helping to change food into energy. There are many kinds of liver diseases, such as:

  • Cirrhosis: Scarring and hardening of the liver
  • Fatty Liver Disease: Build-up of fat in liver cells
  • Bile Duct Disease: Bile is a liquid made in the liver that helps break down fats in the small intestine. Bile duct disease keeps bile from flowing into the small intestine where it is utilized.
  • Hepatitis (A), (B) and (C): Disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A, B, or C virus
  • Hemochromatosis: Buildup of iron in the liver (inherited disease)
  • Others can be the result of drugs, poisons, or drinking too much alcohol

Some of the effects of liver disease include weight changes, loss of muscle mass, ascites and/or edema (fluid retention), jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), dark urine and/or light-colored stools, fatigue or loss of stamina, nausea, vomiting, anorexia, altered taste perception, and/or signs/symptoms of vitamin and mineral deficiency. Depending on the diagnosis, alterations in calorie, protein, fluid, fat, vitamins or minerals may be recommended. For most liver diseases, a healthy diet will make it easier for the liver to function and may help repair some liver damage.
In general, it is important to:

  • Limit high sodium foods
  • Avoid foods that may cause foodborne illness such as:
    • Unpasteurized milk products
    • Raw or undercooked meat, poultry, fish, seafood, and eggs
    • Unwashed fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Eat enough food to obtain adequate calories, vitamins, and minerals.

How can these changes be made?

  • It may be easier to eat several small meals throughout the day (4-6) as opposed to a few large ones.
  • Look for no-sodium or low-sodium versions of foods you like to eat, such as crackers, cheese, canned vegetables, or soups.
  • Avoid overly processed foods, as these tend to be higher in sodium.
  • Use herbs, spices, vinegar, oils, juice, or herb mixes (e.g., Mrs. Dash) to flavor food instead of salt.
  • Between meals, enjoy healthy snacks, such as:
    • Fruits and vegetables with dip, whole milk, yogurt, cereal, bagels, roasted nuts, and peanut butter.

Check with a dietitian or doctor for your specific dietary needs.


Christmas Magic

By: Trisha Mayhorn
Christmas at The Wesley Communities is always a magical time of year. The halls are full of decorations and employees are full of cheer! As for the residents, you can see how touched they are by all the holiday magic. I couldn’t imagine a better place to work, especially during the holidays. There are so many great people here, but one who stands out around Christmas is Phil Van Walsen.
Phil creates dazzling Christmas displays for us at Wesley Glen. They truly set the stage for the other holiday décor! The tradition started when a neighbor of Wesley Glen wanted to donate her 500-piece Christmas village collection. She was moving to Florida, and although it was hard to part with her things, she knew her collection had found a good home here at Wesley Glen.
Phil accepted the challenge to create the beautiful displays, and he has added another 500 or so pieces to the display over time. Each year residents and friends donate additional items and Phil finds a place for them.
He doesn’t use a blueprint. He just builds as the spirit moves him. This year, it’s a multi-level affair with motion and lots to look at, including custom Wesley Glen painted items! Phil even used the potted plants that are usually in the south lobby and he’s created a fun seek-and-find for specific items too.
Residents, staff and visitors love spending time looking at it. The Wesley Communities has the holiday spirit, and for that we would like to thank all of our residents and staff!