Heal with Food: How Eating Right Can Control Fatty Liver

Did you know that you can have a fatty liver even without drinking alcohol? Your liver performs more than 500 vital metabolic functions every day, including removing toxins from the body’s blood supply, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, and producing bile.

Unlike liver infection like hepatitis, fatty liver can be completely asymptomatic, yet it still drastically affects your physiological and metabolic health.

Do you feel fatigued most of the time? Do you have occasional pimples and pigmentation?

Do you catch a cold or flu instantly?

Some or all of these symptoms could indicate that you have a fatty liver!

Your liver is the chemical plant and inspection station of the body. Performs the following functions:

• Excretion of bilirubin, cholesterol, hormones and drugs

• Production and excretion of bile

• Metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates

• Storage of glycogen, vitamins and minerals

• Synthesis of plasma proteins, such as albumin and coagulation factors.

• Detoxification and blood purification

1

What is a fatty liver?

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common cause of chronic liver disease worldwide. Fatty liver disease is characterized by the accumulation of fat in the liver of patients who do not abuse alcohol.

Fatty liver is common in Western countries, and the prevalence of NAFLD has increased in the Asia-Pacific region due to Western lifestyle and increased incidence of obesity. In the early stages, fatty liver shows no symptoms. Progression of the condition results in symptoms such as loss of appetite, weight loss, weakness, abdominal pain, liver enlargement, and in severe cases can cause jaundice and liver cirrhosis leading to liver failure.

A poor lifestyle driven fatty liver condition is now part of Metabolic Syndrome which also includes other lifestyle disorders like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, hypothyroidism, etc.

Also read: The best foods and drinks for a healthy liver

NAFLD is linked to the following:

• Overweight or obesity

• Insulin resistance, in which your cells don’t absorb sugar in response to the hormone insulin

• High blood sugar (hyperglycemia), indicating prediabetes or type 2 diabetes

• High levels of fats, particularly triglycerides, in the blood

The underlying causes of a fatty liver are:

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eating an unhealthy diet

Did you know that the main reason for a fatty liver is a poor diet? A diet rich in sugar, liquid and industrial fats and refined carbohydrates. Sugary drinks and beverages are the biggest culprits, followed by packaged fruit juices, energy drinks, sweetened breakfast cereals, fast food, store-bought sauces and dressings, processed meat, ready-to-eat noodles, and instant foods, frozen snacks, and dairy products. , energy bars, baked goods like cakes, donuts and cookies, street food and just about everything you can order online.

Easy tip: Eat fewer processed foods, buy fresh, whole ingredients that aren’t produced in an industrial food plant, and prepare and cook more meals at home with lots of vegetables, herbs, and spices.

Also read:
Do you have fatty liver? These 10 foods naturally cleanse the liver

Excessive use of tobacco and alcohol

Smoking can seriously damage the liver, as the liver must break down all of the toxic chemicals in the smoke. Drinking too much alcohol or too quickly can seriously overload liver cells. When that ice cold beer hits the liver, it produces a harmful enzyme called acetaldehyde, which can destroy liver cells and can even lead to permanent scarring.

Being overweight

Obesity is known to play an important role in the development of a fatty liver. A healthy liver should contain a negligible amount of fat. If it’s made up of more than 5% fat, then it’s considered “fat,” leading to myriad health concerns. The common contributing factor to obesity and fatty liver is insulin resistance that develops with excess abdominal adipose tissue. When a person is insulin resistant, the muscles, fat, and liver cells cannot respond properly to this hormone. As a result, insulin builds up in the blood and increases the fatty acids circulating in the bloodstream. These fat molecules enter and are deposited in liver cells initiating NAFLD.

Improving nutritional intake and exercising regularly has enormous potential to prevent and treat fatty liver disease.

How is a fatty liver diagnosed?

Clinically a fatty liver can appear in

– Blood tests such as liver function tests: if any of the liver enzymes are detected high or the levels of bilirubin and protein are abnormal, they may indicate a fatty liver.

– Imaging tests: a computed tomography or ultrasound scanning method can help identify this liver problem. On CT scans, the liver may appear less dense than it normally should, and on ultrasound images, the organ will appear brighter than normal, with layers of fat rendered in a wave-like pattern.

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How can you reverse your fatty liver disease to some degree?

Early stage fatty liver disease can be completely reversible and preventable. The following lifestyle changes can help significantly

Weightloss: Losing some weight and restoring your visceral fat and body fat percentage to normal levels is the first thing you can do to reverse NAFLD. Weight loss also helps the liver by improving blood glucose (sugar) levels, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure.

Eat Liver-Friendly Foods for Fatty Liver Disease

The best diet to reverse fatty liver disease is one that includes a wide variety of nutritious foods and limits sugar, “junk food,” refined fats, and alcohol.

Also Read: Can Giloy Tea Really Affect Liver Functioning? Our analysis and the right recipe to prepare it

This is what this means:

• Eat lots of colorful vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, eggplant, tomatoes, spinach, dark green vegetables, bell peppers, bitter potato, and sweet potatoes.

• Eat low-fructose fruits like berries, avocado, plum, peach, tangerine, pomegranate, and papaya. Avoid high fructose and sweet fruits.

• Replace your wheat and rice with unpolished millet like Ragi, Jowar, Buckwheat, Quinoa, Amaranth, Besan, Red Rice and Black Rice, and get rid of white flour like bread crackers and noodles.

• Eat nuts and seeds as snacks instead of store-bought crackers, chips, or salty mixes.

• Choose healthier fats like lard, coconut and olive oil

• Completely eliminate simple sugars like white sugar, processed honey, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners.

• Eat mostly plants and substantially reduce animal foods, especially animal foods that are processed, such as ham, bacon, steak, sausage

Physical exercise

Getting at least 50 minutes of aerobic exercise 5 times a week with 15 minutes of high-intensity activity can help reverse NAFLD. It is also important to stay physically active throughout the day and break the sedentary pattern.

Fast

Constructing any form of fasting, from eating at a fixed window to eating one or two meals a day only to fasting on water or fasting once a week, can prevent the liver from processing food and heal and regenerate liver tissue.

The best foods for liver health


1. Carrot, celery and spinach juice

This natural treatment is very effective in detoxifying the liver. Blend carrot, celery, spinach with mint and herbs into juice in cold blender. You can drink it on an empty stomach or between meals.

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2. Indian gooseberry or amla

Amla has massive amounts of vitamin C which can help the liver to heal. Consume Amla raw or as Chutney, boiled or pickled.

3. Dandelion tea

You can make tea with dandelion root powder or by boiling the roots and drinking the extract. Replace your Masala tea with dandelion tea.

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4. Apple cider vinegar

Helps purify your liver. If consumed before a meal, ACV can help metabolize fats quickly and also aids in better nutrient absorption. You can consume apple cider vinegar by mixing two teaspoons in a full glass of water and drink it a few minutes before your meal.

5. Turmeric

Turmeric improves liver function. You can mix 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper with ghee or coconut oil. Consume it daily.

6. Flax seeds, walnuts and avocados

Add flaxseeds, walnuts, and avocado to your diet plan as these foods will help protect your liver from disease. The glutathione in walnuts and avocados eliminates toxins transferred by the liver. Flax seeds have lignans which are fiber-like compounds that have antioxidant properties and reduce the toxic load on the liver.

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7. Green leafy vegetables and berries

Leafy vegetables improve the circulation of bile, and the pectin contained in green leafy vegetables and berries helps eliminate toxins in the digestive system. This serves as protection for the liver.

8. Green tea

Green tea in leaf form has a high amount of catechins that help the liver to function efficiently. You could drink 2-3 cups of tea a day to keep your liver healthy and disease free.

9. Papaya and pineapple

Papaya and pineapple contain plant enzymes and can effectively treat fatty liver. They are also a rich source of carotenoids and other antioxidants.

10. Drink water without fluoride

Consume 10 to 12 glasses of clean water without fluoride in a day. Drinking enough water prevents constipation and reduces the load on the liver by helping to remove waste from the body. Staying hydrated causes the blood to thin and ultimately makes it easier for the liver to filter.

Contributed By: Manjari Chandra, Functional Nutrition & Nutritional Medicine Consultant, Manjari Wellness, Max Healthcare, Metabalance

Thumb and embed images courtesy: istock

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