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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FATTY LIVER

A fatty liver is a condition in which the liver stores too much fat, so much so that if not treated, the liver can ultimately fail, leading to several detrimental effects, such as cirrhosis. There are two kinds of Fatty liver:

  1. Alcohol-related Fatty liver disease (ARLD). 
  2. Non-Alcohol-related Fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

 Fatty liver can be treated with healthy eating. This involves changes in diet by giving preference to some food over others. NAFLD is more common in people with obesity and type 2 diabetes. At the same time, alcohol-related liver disease, alcohol-related Fatty liver disease, is caused by heavy alcohol use.

HOW THE LIVER WORKS 

In a healthy body, the liver removes toxins and produces bile, a protein that breaks down fat into fatty acids so that they can be digested. Fatty liver disease damages the liver and prevents it from working as well as it should, but lifestyle changes can prevent it from worsening.

MANAGEMENT OF FATTY LIVER 

The first line of treatment for fatty liver disease is weight loss through a combination of calorie reduction, exercise, and healthy eating.

The diet for fatty liver disease includes:

  • fruits and vegetables
  • high-fibre plants like legumes and whole grains
  • significantly reducing intake of certain foods and beverages, including those high in added sugar, salt, refined carbohydrates, and saturated fat and 
  • Reducing alcohol intake 

 A Healthy Liver Diet

This is a diet that contains little or no fats. They include:

1. Coffee to help lower abnormal liver enzymes. Regular coffee consumption is associated with a lowered risk of developing fatty liver disease and a decreased risk of the advancement of liver fibrosis in those already diagnosed with fatty liver.

2.  Greens to prevent fat buildup

Compounds found in spinach and other leafy greens and vegetables may help fight fatty liver disease.

3.  Proteins: food rich in protein, such as beans and soy, have shown promise in reducing the risk of fatty liver disease. Other legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, soybeans, and peas are nutritionally dense and contain resistant starches that help improve gut health. Consumption of legumes may even help lower blood glucose and triglycerides in individuals living with obesity. 

4. Fish to reduce inflammation and fat levels

Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna, and trout are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats benefit those with NAFLD by reducing liver fat, boosting protective HDL cholesterol, and lowering triglyceride levels.

5. fibers: fiber-rich foods like oatmeal are associated with a reduced risk of fatty liver diseases by lowering triglyceride levels. Fruits are also rich in fibers and are excellent in lowering the body’s fat levels. 

6.  Nuts to help reduce inflammation

A diet rich in nuts is associated with reduced inflammation, insulin resistance, oxidative stress and a lower prevalence of fatty liver. 

7.   Increase unsaturated fat intake

Swapping out sources of saturated fat like butter, fatty cuts of meat, sausages, and cured meats for unsaturated fat sources like avocados, olive oil, nut butter, and fatty fish may be helpful for those with fatty liver.

8. Garlic to improve overall health

This vegetable not only adds flavour to food but has been shown to help reduce body weight and fat in people with fatty liver disease and improve enzyme levels. 

WHAT TO AVOID 

People with fatty liver disease should avoid certain foods or eat them sparingly. These foods generally contribute to weight gain and can increase blood sugar. They include: 

  1. Alcohol: alcohol can be a major cause of fatty liver disease as well as other liver diseases such as liver cirrhosis, etc 
  2. Added sugar. High blood sugar increases the amount of fat buildup in the liver. Always Stay away from sugary foods such as candy, cookies and sodas.
  3. Fried foods. These are high in saturated fats and calories.
  4. Consuming too much salt can increase the risk of fatty liver. Limiting iodised salts and sodium intake should be less than 2,300 milligrams per day. People with high blood pressure should limit salt intake to 1,500 mg per day.
  5. High-Carb Diet _White flour is typically highly processed, and items made from it can raise blood sugar more than whole grains due to a lack of fiber.
  6. Red meat. Beef and deli meats are high in saturated fat and should be avoided.

LIFESTYLE CHANGES 

Additional ways to treat fatty liver disease

In addition to modifying diet, is making lifestyle changes. These include:

  1. Getting active: Exercise, paired with diet, helps in weight loss and managing liver disease. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on most days of the week.
  2. Lower blood lipid levels: Watch saturated fat and sugar intake, as this will help control cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  3. Control diabetes:  Diabetes and fatty liver disease often occur together. Diet and exercise can help in managing both conditions.

Takeaway

People with fatty liver disease or at risk of developing this condition can manage by ensuring they live a particular lifestyle and dietary plan. This can help improve the liver’s health and reduce the risk of a fatty liver. 

Conclusion 

 A well-rounded, nutritious diet rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fats is the best way to improve liver health, lower disease risk, and promote healthy weight loss. People at risk should work with a trusted healthcare professional to develop a treatment plan that includes dietary changes and lifestyle modifications like increasing physical activity, improving sleep, and reducing stress to help prevent or manage the disease. 

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