The human body has fat stores in different places where it uses fat for energy, as well as insulation. One of those places is the liver. Part of the composition of the liver is fats. However, fat content in the liver can become too high. If this happens, you will develop a condition known as fatty liver disease.
Many things can make fats to accumulate in the liver. And if care is not taken, this can lead to serious liver damage. Thankfully, there are ways to treat and manage fatty liver disease (FLD). For instance, you should make dietary changes if you have this condition. The fatty liver disease diet is one of the important ways to manage the disease.
Fatty liver disease has two types – Alcoholic FLD and nonalcoholic FLD. A third type, though nonalcoholic too, but quite distinct is FLD that occurs as a result of pregnancy. Hepatic steatosis usually causes damage to the liver. It affects liver functions like toxin elimination as well as bile production. When these functions are compromised, it puts you at risk of many other complications. Treatment options for fatty liver disease involve medication, dietary changes, and exercise.
Fatty Liver Disease Diet: What to Eat
A good way to start is to cut calories and eat more high-fiber real foods. Foods that have anti-inflammatory properties and aid tissue repairs are helpful too.
Diet plans like the Mediterranean diet and plant-based diet have all it takes to fit into the healthy eating style for fatty liver disease. You may get the service of a dietitian to help create a personalized diet plan. That would not only consider your health status and symptoms, but it would factor in your tastes and preferences as well.
Examples of foods that are particularly helpful for treating fatty liver disease are as follows:
Garlic is one of the staple foods you will find in various diets. It can benefit those who have fatty liver disease in many ways. It is very potent for reducing body weight as well as fat.
Experts say that omega-3 fats can lower fat levels in the liver and HDL cholesterol levels. However, we still need more research to establish this. Foods rich in Omega-3 fats include sardines, salmon, flaxseeds, and walnuts.
Coffee may seem like one of those early morning routines that people love. But it may mean much more than that. Reports from expert research show that coffee has chlorogenic acid in it. This compound has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Chlorogenic acid can help reduce cholesterol. It can also help protect you from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Other beneficial foods for treating FLD include:
- Whey protein
- Sunflower seeds
Foods You Should Avoid
It is not enough to incorporate healthy foods into your diet. That is just one side of the coin. The other side of the coin involves avoiding or, at least, limiting certain foods. Such foods that you should avoid are as follows:
Added sugars spike up your blood sugar levels. It increases the fat deposits in your liver. Avoid ice cream, candy, soda, and other sweetened beverages as these foods contain high amounts of sugar.
You should also avoid baked goods, packaged foods, table sugar, corn syrup, and fructose to keep that fat level in your liver at the barest minimum.
Refined grains are usually present in pasta, white rice, and white bread, among many others. These grains are highly processed and their fiber has been removed. This makes them mostly pure carbs that would elevate blood sugar.
Any food that sharply elevates blood sugar would inadvertently trigger fat accumulation in the liver. As such, refined grains are not good for you if you have FLD. You should substitute them with whole grains and whole wheat alternatives, legumes, or potatoes.
Alcohol is one major risk factor when it comes to liver problems. It contributes to FLD as well as many other forms of liver disease. If you have FLD, you should aim at eliminating alcohol from your diet.
Salty or fried foods
Too much salty or fried foods may raise your calories and make you gain excess weight. You can add extra herbs and spices to your meal as alternative flavors to salt. Meanwhile, you can either steam or bake your foods instead of frying them.
Pork, beef, deli meats, and the likes have lots of saturated fats. These foods are not a good choice for someone who has fatty liver disease. You can opt for lean meats, tofu, fish, or tempeh instead. Your best bet, however, is wild-caught fish.
How About Lifestyle Changes?
Regular exercise is beneficial even if you don’t have FLD. It would help you stay fit or lose excess weight as the case may be. It can help reduce and manage the symptoms.
Moderate exercise routines, like a 30-minute walk for 3 to 5 times weekly, can keep you fit and reduce your symptoms.
With proper diet and regular moderate exercise, you should be able to manage fatty liver disease. If there is no significant improvement in your symptoms, consider talking to your doctor.