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Fatty Liver Diet: Diet to Follow & Prevention of Fatty Liver

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What is a Fatty Liver?

Hepatic steatosis is another name for fatty liver disease. This condition is caused due to fat build-up in the liver. Having some amount of fat on the liver is considered healthy. But when it crosses a certain limit, it can become dangerous to one's health.

Liver is the second largest organ in your body. It helps process nutrients from the food and drinks one consumes. It filters toxic substances from the blood. 

When there is too much fat in the liver, it can lead to a condition known as liver inflammation. It can severely damage the liver. It can also cause scar tissue to develop. In certain serious conditions, this can even lead to fatal liver failure.

When fatty liver develops in someone who consumes a lot of alcoholic drinks, it is known as alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD). On the other hand, when a fatty liver develops in a person who doesn't consume a lot of alcohol, it is known as Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD).

Symptoms of Fatty Liver

Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease have similar kinds of symptoms. But, in many cases, fatty liver causes no symptoms that are outwardly noticeable. One might feel tired, experience fatigue or have some discomfort. You may feel some pain in the upper right part of your abdomen.

Causes of Fatty Liver

Some of the factors that may cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are as follows:

  • Being severely overweight or obese
  • Diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes
  • Having resistance to insulin
  • High levels of bad cholesterol in the blood
  • Any syndrome based on a weak metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Certain side effects from medicines
  • Hepatitis C 
  • Some rare genetic diseases

Treatment of Fatty Liver

Presently, there are no particular medications that have been approved to treat fatty liver disease. There needs to be research done to develop and test medicines that can treat this condition.

In the case of a fatty liver, certain lifestyle modifications can significantly improve the condition. The doctor might advise you to take creating steps such as:

  • Reduce the consumption of alcohol
  • Weight loss needs to be made your priority
  • Dietary changes are seriously suggested
  • Kindly avoid certain medicines and supplements that may be hard on your liver

If one has alcoholic fatty liver disease, your doctor may recommend one to avoid alcohol at all costs. You will be put on a detox program. Counselling will be provided especially if you have alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Some viral infections can also damage the liver. To protect the liver's health, you need to take certain vaccines for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B. Based on your situation, you may also be advised to get screened for Hepatitis C on a regular basis.

The Fatty Liver Diet

According to McCarthy and Rinella (2012), the following are some of the key dietary recommendations for a fatty liver diet:

  1. Follow a Mediterranean Diet
  • Eat a fatty liver diet rich in plant-based foods like legumes, vegetables and fruits.
  • Limit your intake of meat products, especially red meat. This fatty liver diet can even help in preventing certain heart diseases.
  1. Reduce your consumption of sugar-based products like baked goods and fizzy cold drinks. This contains a simple sugar called fructose. This may increase blood sugar. It can even lead to a condition called insulin resistance.
  • In a fatty liver diet, you need to completely avoid processed food items. They contain fructose such as items with ingredients like "high fructose corn syrup" and "glucose-fructose syrup"
  • Foods to avoid with fatty liver such as beverages with added sugar
  1. Include Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs) especially omega-3-rich food items and Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFAs) should replace saturated fatty acids (SFAs) in your diet.
  • Consume oily fish like mackerel, salmon and sardines at least 2 - 3 times per week.
  • When following a fatty liver treatment diet, you may replace your cooking oil with extra virgin olive oil, especially in salads and when sauteing vegetables.
  • Eat some nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds as a part of the fatty liver diet.
  1. Consume more unprocessed food items, particularly those that are high in fibre, like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds.
  • In the fatty liver diet, have a colourful plate during each meal by filling a major portion with various vegetables.
  • Consume a variety of bread and cereals made of whole grain.
  • Eat legumes on a regular basis. Replace meat at least 2 - 3 times a week.
  • Fresh fruits can be eaten on a daily basis.
  • Have nuts and seeds as snacks regularly as a part of your fatty liver diet.
  1. Reduce Consuming Alcohol
  • Have more fresh juices that do not contain added sugar like coconut water and lemon juice.
  • Keep yourself hydrated with lukewarm water.

Prevention of Fatty Liver

One of the best ways to avoid fatty liver disease is to maintain one's overall health by:

  • Maintain a healthy weight which is neither overweight nor obese.
  • Lose your weight in a gradual manner in order for the weight loss to be sustainable in the long run.
  • Reduce consumption of alcohol on an immediate basis.
  • Take your prescribed medicines as per the schedule prescribed by your doctor.
  • Consume a healthy fatty liver treatment diet as prescribed above in order to reduce the harmful effects of having a fatty liver or better still, you may even prevent it.

Fatty liver disease is one of the most prevalent conditions in the general population. One of the main ways to prevent this disease is to follow a fatty liver diet. When facing this condition, what we eat and how we eat plays a huge role in both the prevention and treatment of the disease. For more information, visit Metropolis Healthcare at www.metropolisindia.com today.

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