Fatty liver diet: what to eat and avoid
A fatty liver is a condition in which the organ stores an abnormally large amount of fat. If not treated, your liver may eventually fail. However, you can start treating a fatty liver by eating a healthy fatty liver diet. You may need to concentrate on certain foods while avoiding others.
One of the most common causes of liver disease in the United States is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). It is a condition in which excess fat is stored in the liver and, if left untreated, can lead to cirrhosis and liver failure. NAFLD is more common in people who have certain conditions, such as obesity or type 2 diabetes, and, unlike alcohol-related liver disease, NAFLD is not caused by excessive alcohol consumption.
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The liver removes toxins from the body and produces bile, a protein that breaks down fat into fatty acids so that it can be digested. Fatty liver disease damages the liver and prevents it from functioning properly, but lifestyle changes can keep it from worsening. Weight loss through a combination of calorie restriction, exercise, and eating a healthy fatty liver diet is the first line of treatment for NAFLD.
Foods to reverse fatty liver
- fruits and vegetables.
- High-fiber plants such as legumes and whole grains.
- Significantly reducing consumption of certain foods and beverages such as those high in added sugar, salt, refined carbohydrates, and saturated fat.
- No alcohol.
Here are some foods to include in your fatty liver diet:
Coffee can help reduce abnormal liver enzymes.
Coffee on a daily basis may help protect your liver from NAFLD. According to a 2021 review, regular coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of developing NAFLD, as well as a lower risk of the progression of liver fibrosis in those who have already been diagnosed with NAFLD.
Caffeine appears to reduce the number of abnormal liver enzymes in people who are predisposed to liver disease.
Greens to prevent fat accumulation
Compounds found in spinach and other leafy greens may aid in the treatment of fatty liver disease. A study published in 2021 discovered that eating spinach specifically reduced the risk of NAFLD, possibly due to the nitrate and distinct polyphenols found in the leafy green. Surprisingly, the study concentrated on raw spinach, as cooked spinach did not yield the same strong results. This could be due to the fact that cooking spinach (and other leafy greens) reduces polyphenolic content and antioxidant activity.
Soy and beans to lower the risk of NAFLD
When it comes to lowering the risk of NAFLD, both beans and soy have shown promise. According to a scientific review of diet and liver disease, legumes like lentils, chickpeas, soybeans, and peas are not only nutritionally dense, but also contain resistant starches that help improve gut health.
Consumption of legumes may even help lower blood glucose and triglycerides in obese people. Furthermore, a 2019 study discovered that diets high in legumes specifically helped lower the risk of NAFLD.
A few studies have also found that eating soy (whether as a replacement for meat or fish, or by consuming miso soup, which contains fermented soy) may help protect the liver, most likely because soy contains a high content of the protein -conglycinin, which has been linked to lower triglyceride levels and possibly protection against visceral fat buildup. Tofu is also a low-fat food that is high in protein, making it an excellent choice if you are trying to reduce your fat intake.
Fish can help lower inflammation and fat levels.
Omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna, and trout. According to research, omega-3 supplementation may benefit those with NAFLD by lowering liver fat, increasing protective HDL cholesterol, and lowering triglyceride levels.
Whole-grain, fiber-rich foods, such as oatmeal, have been linked to a lower risk of NAFLD-related diseases. A nutritious diet rich in high fiber foods like oats has been shown in studies to be effective for those with NAFLD and may help reduce triglyceride levels.
Nuts to aid in inflammation reduction
A nut-rich diet is linked to lower inflammation, insulin resistance, and oxidative stress, as well as a lower prevalence of NAFLD.
A large Chinese study discovered that increased nut consumption was significantly associated with a lower risk of NAFLD — and research has discovered that people with fatty liver disease who eat walnuts have better liver function tests.
Turmeric to reduce liver damage markers
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, in high doses may reduce markers of liver damage in people with NAFLD.
Turmeric supplementation has been shown in studies to reduce serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels — two enzymes that are abnormally high in people with fatty liver disease.
foods to stay away from if you have fatty liver disease
If you have fatty liver disease, your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods, or to eat them in moderation. These foods, in general, contribute to weight gain and can raise blood sugar levels.
Avoid whenever possible
- Alcohol: Alcohol is a major contributor to fatty liver disease and other liver diseases.
- Added Sugar: Avoid sugary foods like candy, cookies, sodas, and fruit juices. High blood sugar levels increase the amount of fat that accumulates in the liver.
- Fried foods: These contain a lot of fat and calories.
- Added salt: Excessive salt consumption can increase the risk of NAFLD. It is advised to keep sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams per day. High blood pressure patients should limit their salt intake to no more than 1,500 mg per day.
- White bread, rice and pasta: Because of the lack of fiber in white flour, items made with it can raise your blood sugar more than whole grains.
- Red meat: Saturated fat is abundant in beef and deli meats.