The fatty liver diet alone cannot get rid of fat from your liver. It has to be accompanied by a disciplined lifestyle and exercise to get your liver fully fit again. However, the foods recommended here will help to keep your liver healthy and functioning well.
- Alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD) is primarily due to excessive consumption of alcohol.
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) occurs in people who do not drink but harbor certain risk factors. These could include obesity, hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, etc., and some undisciplined lifestyle factors.
Therefore, what you eat when you have a fatty liver plays a crucial role to reverse this liver condition. A fatty liver diet will incorporate foods that also aim to take care of your existing risk conditions.
- In people with alcoholic fatty liver disease, abstinence from alcohol becomes primarily essential.
- Obese people must stick to the weight-reducing diet. Getting rid of obesity and reducing your weight is the single most important factor to cure fatty liver disease. Obesity has a damaging effect on your liver.
- People who are hypertensive must follow the DASH diet.
- Diabetic people should practice eating the diet for diabetes
- Then there is the diet for people with elevated cholesterol and with some changes, a diet and lifestyle for increased triglycerides.
- Some heart conditions can cause excess deposits of fat in the liver. These people are advised a heart-friendly diet.
To combat fatty liver disease, it’s essential to make strategic and lasting changes to your diet, changes that will be sustainable.
Dietary changes inducing weight loss and adding nutrient-dense, antioxidant-packed foods, such as fruits and vegetables, can reverse or prevent the progression of the disease. Limiting refined carbohydrates, simple sugars, fried foods, processed foods, and foods high in saturated fat is also important.
Essentially, it means:
- Limiting your intake of saturated fats and trans fats, which are high in calories and increase your chance of developing obesity.
- Replacing the above fats with unsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids. Besides being good for the liver, these fats reduce your chance of heart disease.
- Eating foods that are low on the glycemic index. These include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid high-glycemic index foods, such as white bread, white rice, and potatoes. This will help control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, improve lipid levels in people with hyperlipidemia, will help overweight people lose weight, and reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Avoid foods and drinks that contain large amounts of simple sugars, especially fructose. That means avoiding sweetened soft drinks, sports drinks, sweetened tea, and canned juices. Sugar is sucrose, which rapidly changes to glucose and fructose during digestion and should therefore be avoided.
These dietary tips can reverse or prevent the progression of liver disease.
Now, let’s be specific about the foods that you should eat and avoid if you develop fatty liver disease. The following foods detoxify your liver and cleanse it of toxins and wastes.
Foods to eat for fatty liver
Research trials indicate that intake of garlic powder at 800 mg/day for 15 weeks improved hepatic steatosis, liver enzymes, lipid profiles, and fasting blood sugar in patients with NAFLD.
Experts advise that you eat at least four cloves of fresh garlic each day in a meal to improve liver function.
Selenium is a mineral present in garlic, which cleanses the liver. It can trigger the secretion of liver enzymes, and naturally, flush out the toxins from your body.
Omega-3 fatty acid foods such as walnuts
However, supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids effectively reduces liver fat and inflammation in people with NAFLD
Omega-3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid, which reduces liver fat, gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT), and triglycerides. They also increase high-density lipoproteins (HDL, the good cholesterol) in patients with NAFLD/NASH. GGT is an enzyme that increases in liver disease.
Foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids and which you should eat regularly include:
- Fish and other seafood. Fish that are especially good for fatty liver include cold-water fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines.
- Nuts and seeds particularly flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts
- Plant oils (such as flaxseed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil)
- Fruits rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your liver include mangoes, muskmelons, blueberries and cranberries, grapes, prickly pear, and avocado.
Certain vegetables like Broccoli
According to The Journal Of Nutrition, people with fatty liver should include more vegetables in their diet. Long-term consumption of broccoli, especially, will not only help you lose weight but will also help to improve fatty liver disease. Other vegetables that are good for people with fatty liver include carrots, pumpkin, leafy greens, beetroot, cauliflower, green onions, and celery.
Clinical trials show that supplementation with Green Tea Extract in people with fatty liver decreases ALT and AST levels after 12 weeks period in patients with NAFLD. Besides the multiple health benefits of green tea, it significantly contributes to weight loss.
To achieve this improvement in the serum levels of liver enzymes, it is necessary to improve your lifestyle modification as described in this post.
Healthy fats, anti-inflammatory nutrients, and soluble fiber in avocado effectively help in weight loss, reducing oxidative stress in the body, and also helping to reduce blood sugar. This greatly helps people with fatty liver disease.
Milk and dairy products
A higher dairy protein intake was significantly associated with lowering the risk of NAFLD in men and women. A study found that milk, yogurt, and cheese can help improve metabolic syndrome and lower the risk of NAFLD.
Drinks that can detoxify your liver
The liver is responsible for the metabolism of fats, protein, and carbohydrates that you ingest in your food. The following drinks can help detoxify your liver and cleanse it of toxins and impurities.
- Ginger and lemon drink
- Oatmeal drink
- Tumeric tea
- Green tea
- Grapefruit juice
Avoid the following foods if you have fatty liver
- Added sugar. Stay away from sugary foods such as candy, cookies, sodas, and fruit juices. They will increase your blood sugar, which can give you a fatty liver or worsen an existing one.
- Fried foods. Their high fat and calorie content are not good for your liver.
- Added salt. Consuming too much salt increases your risk of NAFLD. You should limit sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams per day. However, hypertensive people should limit salt intake to no more than 1,500 mg per day
- White bread, white rice, and pasta. These are highly processed foods and lack fiber, which can raise your blood sugar.
- Red meat. The high content of saturated fat and calories is a risk factor that can give you a fatty liver or worsen an existing one.
It is necessary to state here that the above are the best foods you can have to prevent a fatty liver or to reverse an existing one. Similarly, what foods you should avoid are also described.
What is important is that besides following these dietary suggestions, it is necessary to religiously follow an exercise program and improve your lifestyle to prevent or improve your comorbidities so that your liver stays or returns to its original healthy form.