Treating fatty liver disease with food
There are two main types of fatty liver disease — alcohol-induced and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Fatty liver disease strikes nearly one-third of American adults and is one of the head contributors to liver failure. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is most generally diagnosed in those who are obese or sedentary and those who consume a highly-processed diet.
One of the primary ways to treat fatty liver disease, regardless of type, is with nutrition. As the name implies, fatty liver disease means you have too much fat in your liver.
In a healthy body, the liver helps to eliminate toxins and creates bile, the digestive protein. Fatty liver disease harms the liver and prevents it from working as well as it should.
In general, the diet for the fatty liver disease includes:
- lots of vegetables and fruits
- very little added sugar, trans fat, salt, refined carbohydrates, and saturated fat
- high-fiber plants like legumes and whole grains
- no alcohol
A low-fat, reduced-calorie intake can help you lose weight and decrease the risk of fatty liver disease. Ideally, if you’re overweight, you would try to lose at least 10 percent of your body weight.
12 drinks and foods that you should consume for a fatty liver
1. Greens to prevent fat buildup
Broccoli is confirmed to help prevent the buildup of fat in the liver in mice. Consuming more greens, like brussels sprouts, spinach, and kale can also help with general weight loss. For a healthy start try the Canadian Liver Foundation’s recipe for vegetarian chili, which lets you cut back on calories without losing flavor.
2. Coffee to lower abnormal liver enzymes
Studies have revealed that coffee drinkers with fatty liver disease have less liver damage than those who don’t take this caffeinated beverage. Caffeine seems to lower the number of abnormal liver enzymes of people at risk for liver diseases.
3. Fish for inflammation and fat levels
Fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, and sardines, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids can improve liver fat levels and bring down inflammation. Try this tasty teriyaki halibut recipe, supported by the Canadian Liver Foundation, that’s remarkably low in fat.
4. Tofu to decrease fat buildup
A University of Illinois study on rats discovered that soy protein, which is contained in foods like tofu, may decrease fat buildup in the liver. Plus, tofu is low in fat and loaded with proteins.
5. Oatmeal for energy
Carbohydrates from whole grains like oatmeal give your body the right amount of energy. Their fiber content also fills you up, which can help you maintain your weight.
6. Walnuts to improve the liver
Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Research reveals that people with fatty liver disease who consume walnuts have improved liver function tests.
7. Avocado to help protect the liver
Avocados are high in super-healthy fats, and research suggests they have chemicals that might slow liver damage. Avocados are also rich in fiber, which can ease weight control. Try this delightful avocado and mushroom salad from Fatty Liver Diet Review.
8. Sunflower seeds for antioxidants
Sunflower seeds are particularly high in vitamin E and selenium. These function as antioxidants to defend your body’s cells against free radical damage, which act a role in several chronic diseases.
9. Milk and other low-fat dairies to protect from damage
Dairy is high in whey protein, which may preserve the liver from further damage, according to a 2011 study in rats.
10. Olive oil for weight control
This healthy oil is abundant in omega-3 fatty acids. It’s healthier for cooking than butter, margarine, or shortening. Research discovers that olive oil helps to lower liver enzyme levels and control weight.
11. Garlic to help reduce body weight
This herb not only adds flavor to food, but experimental researches also show that garlic powder supplements may help reduce body weight and fat levels in people with fatty liver disease.
12. Green tea for less fat absorption
Data confirm that green tea can help interfere with fat absorption, but the results are not conclusive yet. Researchers are studying whether green tea can reduce fat level storage in the liver and improve liver function. Still, green tea has many other health benefits, from lowering cholesterol to aiding with sleep.
6 foods to avoid if you have a fatty liver
There are foods you should avoid or limit if you have fatty liver disease. These foods commonly contribute to weight gain and increasing blood sugar.
- Added sugar.
Stay away from sugary foods such as candy, cookies, sodas, and fruit juices. High blood sugar increases the amount of fat buildup in the liver.
- Fried foods.
These are high in fat and calories.
Alcohol is a primary cause of fatty liver disease as well as other liver diseases.
Consuming too much salt can make your body hold on to excess water. Limit sodium to less than 1,500 milligrams per day.
- White bread, rice, and pasta.
White ordinarily means the flour is highly processed, which can raise your blood sugar more than whole grains due to a lack of fiber.
- Red meat.
Beef and deli meats are high in saturated fat.
What does a diet plan look like?
Here’s what your menu might look like during a typical day on a fatty liver diet plan:
|breakfast|| • 8 oz. hot oatmeal mixed with 2 tsp. almond butter and 1 sliced banana|
• 1 cup coffee with low-fat or skim milk
|lunch|| • spinach salad with balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing|
• 3 oz. grilled chicken
• 1 small baked potato
• 1 cup cooked broccoli, carrots, or other vegetables
• 1 apple
• 1 glass of milk
|snack||• 1 tbsp. peanut butter on sliced apples or 2 tbsp. hummus with raw veggies|
|dinner|| • small mixed-bean salad|
• 3 oz. grilled salmon
• 1 cup cooked broccoli
• 1 whole-grain roll
• 1 cup mixed berries
• 1 glass of milk
There are currently no medications on the market that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for fatty liver disease. While losing 10 percent of your weight is ideal, even just 3 to 5 percent can also help.
Avocados contain potent liver protectants. (2000).
Chen YJ, et al. (2016).
Fatty liver disease. (n.d.).
Goff J. (2016). Fatty liver disease.
Gupta V, et al. (2015).
Lu W, et al. (2016).
Marchesini G, et al. (2013).
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2016).
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2016).
Omara-Otunnu E. (2009).
Soleimani D. (2016).
Soy protein alleviates symptoms of fatty liver disease, study suggests. (2012).
Yee Ho JC. (n.d.). Dietary guidelines for NAFLD.