Jaundice is not a disease but rather a
sign that can occur in many different
diseases. Jaundice is the yellowish
staining of the skin and sclera (the
whites of the eyes) that is caused by
high levels of the chemical bilirubin in
blood. The color of the skin and sclera
vary depending on the level of bilirubin.
When the bilirubin level is mildly
elevated, they are yellowish. When the
bilirubin level is high, they tend to be
Jaundice occurs when there is
1) Too much bilirubin being produced for
the liver to remove from the blood. (For
example, patients with hemolytic anemia
have an abnormally rapid rate of
destruction of their red blood cells
that releases large amounts of bilirubin
into the blood),
2) A defect in the liver that prevents
bilirubin from being removed from the
blood, converted to bilirubin/glucuronic
acid (conjugated) or secreted in bile,
3) Blockage of the bile ducts that
decreases the flow of bile and bilirubin
from the liver into the intestines. (For
example, the bile ducts can be blocked
by cancers, gallstones, or inflammation
of the bile ducts).
Dietary Management of Jaundice
• When the level of bilirubin is very
high, the diet must consist of intake of
a lot of fluid. This will help in
eliminating the bilirubin through urine
and stool. One should stick to liquid
diet for at least first five days.
• When the level of bilirubin has
subsided, one can include light diet of
cereal porridge, yogurt and fruit salad.
Vegetables like carrots, beans and
spinach can also be included.
• It is best to have small meals several
• At this stage one egg is also
recommended, as including lean protein
in Jaundice diet results in quick
• Oil, spices, ghee and butter is
• After two more weeks as the level of
bilirubin falls to the level of almost
normal, Jaundice diet can have light
rice, dal, as well as fish. The fish,
however, needs to be boiled or steamed
without any oil, spices or essence.
Inclusion of fish, however, does not
allow chicken and meat. They are rich
sources of fat and cholesterol which is
difficult to digest.
• Gradually as the symptoms gets
treated, cream, butter and olive oil can
be used to cook the food.
Till over fifteen days after recovery,
Jaundice diet should avoid fatty and
heavy foods which are difficult to
digest, as the system takes time to
recover and be back in its normal self.
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