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What Foods Help Cure A Fatty Liver?
Fatty liver is also called non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) in which there is accumulation of fat in the liver. This does not cause any inflammation or damage of any cells of the liver or lead to any complications (1, 2).
Ideally a healthy liver contains very little fat. But when there is a build-up of fat in the liver it may not cause problems in the early stages but it may lead to issues later.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most common chronic diseases affecting people in developed countries because of rising number of people who are obese (3).
According to a clinical update (3) it was observed that insulin resistance which is associated with metabolic syndrome acts as a trigger for NAFLD. The other factors which precipitate NAFLD along with insulin resistance being adverse genetic, humoral, hormonal and lifestyle factors.
There are certain risk factors which if present may lead to fatty liver (1, 2)
- Being obese or overweight
- Having abdominal obesity
- Being diabetic, having insulin resistance
- Having high cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- Being hypertensive that is high blood pressure
- Being above the age of 50
NAFLD may be seen even in people without these risk factors and it is not associated with drinking excess alcohol.
Foods that help manage fatty liver
There is no particular medicine for NAFLD but the condition can be managed by taking measures such as reducing weight if obese, managing insulin resistance with proper medication etc. The basis of treatment of NAFLD is serious lifestyle modification and treating the risk factors.
Here are some foods which help in reducing weight, abdominal obesity, manage glucose and lipid levels in blood and contribute towards controlling blood pressure. Therefore, these foods can be consumed to manage NAFLD.
Avoid refined foods such as foods made with refined cereals and flour. Incorporate whole grains so that there is plenty of fiber in the diet which helps lose weight as well as manage blood glucose and lipid levels.
Cut down on empty calories
Avoid sugary drinks and high sugar foods such as desserts because these are calorie dense but not nutrient dense.
Increase protein content
Most of the weight loss diets contain significant amount of protein. A high protein diet when compared to a low protein diet is associated with better weight maintenance especially with individuals who have a higher body mass index and waist circumference.
Include lean meats, legumes and nuts in the diet.
Stop eating foods that have high salt content such as savoury snacks which include potato chips. Avoid pickles as they have plenty of salt.
Include low glycaemic foods
High glycaemic foods like those made out of refined flour and sugar make you feel hungry in a short time. Whereas low glycaemic foods such as those which are high in protein and dietary fiber do not make you feel hungry soon. These help in weight loss.
Drink sufficient water in a day. Water keeps you hydrated, helps in not over eating and keeps you from drinking sugary drinks for quenching thirst.
Fruits are low in calories, good sources of vitamins and minerals, rich in dietary fiber and play an important role in a healthy balanced diet. Fruits contribute towards reducing belly fat.
Vegetables are good sources of micronutrients, vitamins and minerals, and rich sources of dietary fiber. They also have several phytonutrients which have antioxidant value. Vegetable intake decreases abdominal obesity.
A study results pointed out that substitution of almonds instead of a high carbohydrate snack may be a simple alteration in the diet to reduce central adiposity. Make almonds part of your balanced diet. Have a fistful of almonds every day as a snack.
Consumption of green tea as a beverage helps in the loss of abdominal fat. Have a cup of green tea every day as it provides innumerable health benefits along with inducing belly fat reduction.
There is no cure as such for fatty liver but it can be managed. Lifestyle modifications such as consuming a healthy balanced diet, achieving ideal weight, incorporating suitable exercise into daily routine will all help manage fatty liver and stop it from progressing into a serious health disorder.
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (2016). Definition & Facts of NAFLD & NASH
- National Health Service (2018). Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
- Pappachan, J. M., Babu, S., Krishnan, B. and Ravindran, N. C. (2017) Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Clinical Update, Journal of clinical and translational hepatology. Vol. 5(4).