According to top nutritionists, diet and exercise are the cornerstones of a fatty liver disease treatment program. This is because most people diagnosed with the condition lead sedentary lifestyles that invite excess fat to accumulate on the liver, which interferes with its detox and digestive functions and sets the stage for eventual liver failure. Here’s how to keep your liver safe and excess fat-free with food as your ally:
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Highly advocated by health professionals and dieticians as an effective weight loss strategy, the key ingredients of a Mediterranean diet include:
Salmon, trout, tuna, and sardines are known for high omega-3 fatty acid levels. Along with numerous other bodily benefits, omega-3’s minimize liver inflammation, reduce accumulated liver fat, and increase HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol levels in the body, which helps combat further fat accumulation. Walnuts are another good source of omega-3 acids and a Mediterranean diet staple.
Also high in good fats, these multifunctional power fruits inhibit further weight gain by reducing appetite due to their high fiber content, reduce blood sugar levels, and decelerate liver damage by releasing anti-inflammatory nutrients into the bloodstream.
Blueberries strawberries, and other members of the berry family release antioxidants into the blood to combat free radical damage and liver cell destruction. This keeps fat from building up in the liver. Similarly, the antioxidant Resveratrol obtained from red grape skin helps reduce liver inflammation.
The high vitamin E content in these crunchy snacks acts as an antioxidant to prevent liver damage caused by free radicals. It also reduces and prevent inflammation, hence protecting the liver from further damage.
Like avocados, the high fiber and (good) carbohydrate content in oatmeal and other whole grains acts as an appetite filler, which helps prevent further weight gain. They also promote weight loss through exercise and increased physical activity by increasing body energy levels.
The most essential component of a Mediterranean diet, extra virgin olive oil not only provides numerous liver health benefits through its high omega-3 content, but also helps prevent liver damage and weight gain by lowering liver enzyme levels.
Cruciferous vegetable like broccoli, spinach, and kale, are best known for their weight reducing and detoxifying capabilities. However, they have also been shown to prevent fat accumulation in the liver.
Also a South Asian diet staple, garlic is known to help reduce liver fat and body weight in those with fatty liver disease. Eating raw garlic also promotes body fat breakdown, hence effectively reducing fat levels.
The chlorogenic acid found in coffee helps reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, hence preventing liver damage due to inflammation, promoting abdominal weight loss, and reduce liver stiffness caused by fat accumulation. It can also help keep other liver diseases at bay. However, aim for skimmed, low-fat mostly black coffee for proper health benefits.
Low fat-dairy is an excellent source of whey protein, which not only combat blood sugar spikes after consuming sugary and processed foods, but also prevent further liver damage and reduce overall body weight. Moreover, vitamin D and potassium-fortified milk, cheese, and yogurt help reduce the effects of fatty liver disease and prevent it from occurring in the first place.
- Sugary and Processed Foods like sodas, cookies, and even store-bought coffee, along with foods containing corn syrup and fructose increase blood sugar levels, which is a prime contributor of fatty liver disease.
- Red Meat, i.e. beef, mutton, lamb, and deli meats contain high concentrations of saturated aka ‘bad’ fats, which increase blood cholesterol and rapidly accumulate in the liver.
- White Foods like pasta, bread, and rice are made of processed flour, which contains saturated fats instead of fiber. This makes them easily digestible. Resulting in elevated blood sugar levels, weight gain, and liver fat accumulation.
- Fried and Sodium-Rich Foods promote weight gain due to their high saturated fat content and cause bloating by forcing the body to retain water, respectively.
There are currently no specialized medications for treating fatty liver disease, making diet and exercise a first-line treatment for the condition. However, if your symptoms do not improve even with lifestyle and dietary adjustments, consult with your doctor to help determine an alternative treatment plan.
You can also book an appointment with a top Nutritionist in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your liver-related concerns.