Fatty Liver Diet Guide

Fatty Liver Diet Guide

Living a healthy life entails caring for our organs, and one of the most important yet frequently disregarded is our liver. Fatty liver, a disorder characterized by excessive fat accumulation in the liver, can afflict people of any age or weight. 

While medication and lifestyle modifications are necessary for controlling this illness, what we eat plays an important role in supporting liver function and perhaps correcting fatty liver. 

What is a Fatty Liver

The liver is a powerful organ responsible for several important processes like filtering pollutants, digesting nutrients, and creating proteins. When extra fat accumulates in the liver, it can limit its capacity to function properly, possibly leading to liver damage and major health issues including cirrhosis. 

There are two types of fatty liver disease:

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD): Not caused by excessive alcohol consumption.

Alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD): Caused by excessive alcohol consumption.

Causes of Fatty Liver

A healthy liver has less than 5% fat content. In fatty liver, however, this amount can reach 10% or greater. Several factors can lead to fat accumulation, including:

  • Diet: High intake of saturated fat, refined carbohydrates, and sugar.
  • Obesity and insulin resistance: Increased fat storage and difficulty using insulin effectively.
  • Genetics: Some individuals are more predisposed to fatty liver due to their genetic makeup.
  • Certain medications: Some medications can have side effects that contribute to fatty liver.
  • Medical conditions: Diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, and hypothyroidism can increase the risk of fatty liver.

Foods for Fatty Liver

Nourishing your liver with the correct nutrients is key for treating fatty liver. Here are some healthy ingredients to integrate into your diet:

Coffee

Coffee drinking in moderation (1-3 cups per day) has been related to enhanced liver function, potentially lowering the risk of NAFLD and its development.

According to a 2021 review, regular coffee drinking is connected with a lower risk of acquiring NAFLD, as well as a lower risk of the progression of liver fibrosis among people who have already been diagnosed with NAFLD.

In patients at risk for liver disease, coffee appears to reduce the amount of aberrant liver enzymes.

Broccoli

Broccoli

Eating a range of whole vegetables is useful for persons with fatty liver disease, and broccoli is one vegetable that a person with fatty liver disease can consider having in their diet.

This cruciferous vegetable contains antioxidants and sulforaphane, which help protect liver cells and facilitate detoxification.

According to a 2022 animal research published in The Journal of Functional Foods, broccoli assisted the liver of mice with NAFLD in breaking down lipids quicker, lowering fat buildup.

Human studies are still needed, according to the researchers. Early study on the influence of broccoli intake on the development of fatty liver disease, on the other hand, is encouraging.

Whey Protein or Soy

Protein is essential for liver function and repair. Choosing plant-based or whey protein sources can offer the required amino acids while limiting your intake of saturated fat.

According to a 2019 analysis published in the journal Nutrients, soy and whey protein decreased fat formation in the liver.

One study in the review found that eating 60 grams (g) of whey protein per day for four weeks reduced liver fat by 20% in obese people.

Soy protein includes antioxidants known as isoflavones, which can enhance insulin sensitivity and decrease body fat.

Walnuts

Walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory qualities and may benefit liver function.

Fish

Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are high in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, both of which are favorable to liver function. 

Consuming fatty fish, ironically, aids in the prevention of fatty liver. Salmon, sardines, tuna, and trout are all strong in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help minimize liver fat and inflammation. 

It is also a healthier alternative to meat since it delivers protein while avoiding the fats and skins found in meat and poultry. Aim for two to three servings each week.

Flaxseed Oil

Flaxseed oil is high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid that the body may convert into EPA and DHA.

When it comes to weight control and lowering liver enzyme levels, you can’t go wrong by limiting the quantity of fat and oil in your diet and replacing it with healthy, unsaturated oils. 

Flaxseed oil is an example of an unsaturated oil that is also high in omega-3 fatty acids. You may sprinkle it on a salad, pour it over toast, or use it as a light frying oil to give a distinct flavor to all of your recipes without feeling bad about it.

Milk

Milk

Low-fat or fat-free milk and dairy products provide calcium and vitamin D, which are both vital for bone health and may be good for liver function.

Protein aids in the repair of bodily tissue, and milk is an excellent source of protein. Choose skimmed or fat-free varieties. 

Green Tea

Green tea contains antioxidants, including catechins, which may protect liver cells and prevent inflammation.

Green tea appears to reduce fat buildup in the liver and improve liver function, according to new research. While this research is still in its early stages, there’s no harm in drinking green tea for all the health advantages we already know it has, such as decreasing cholesterol and aiding sleep – and a regular good night’s sleep also helps you lose weight.

Garlic

Garlic contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities that may be beneficial to liver function.

If experimental research is to be believed, garlic powder supplements may be your answer to lowering fat levels if you are not a lover of garlic. Nonetheless, garlic enhances the flavor of your food, preventing you from using too much sauce, which adds calories and salt.

Foods to Avoid

Limiting certain foods can significantly help manage fatty liver:

  • Saturated and trans fats: Found in fried foods, processed meats, and fatty dairy products, these fats can contribute to fat buildup in the liver.
  • Refined carbohydrates: White bread, pastries, and sugary drinks promote blood sugar spikes and insulin resistance, contributing to fat storage in the liver.
  • Added sugars: Sugary drinks, candies, and desserts increase the risk of fatty liver and other health problems.
  • Excessive alcohol: Alcohol consumption is a major risk factor for fatty liver disease.

Other Ways to Manage Fatty Liver

  • Maintain a healthy weight: Even losing 5-10% of your body weight will enhance liver function dramatically.
  • Manage your stress: Chronic stress might aggravate fatty liver. Stress-reduction practices such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing should be used.
  • Get adequate sleep: Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night to give your body the time it needs to heal and recover.
  • Quit smoking: Smoking is a significant risk factor for a variety of health issues, including fatty liver disease.
  • Schedule regular check-ups with your doctor to monitor your liver function and change your treatment plan as necessary.

Conclusion

Fatty liver disease may appear intimidating, but with the appropriate approach, you may improve your liver health and general well-being. Incorporating the dietary advice in this book, along with other healthy lifestyle adjustments, will help you achieve a healthier liver.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to read this article on Effective Ways to Flush Your Kidneys and Liver.

*This information is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional medical or dietary advice tailored to individual needs.

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Dr. Kimberly Langdon

Kimberly Langdon

Dr. Kimberly Langdon has been an MD for 31 years, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine, earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place accolades for her Senior Research Project and Score of 98th percentile on a National Proficiency Test.

During her clinical career, she delivered over 2000 babies and specialized in minimally invasive procedures, menopause, endometriosis, menstrual disorders, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. After retiring from clinical practice, she founded a medical device company to commercialize her two patented and four patent-pending medical devices for both life-threatening and non-life-threatening infections.

Kimberly Langdon M.D.

Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Coologics, 2010-present
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kimberly-langdon-m-d-41847610/
The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Doctor of Medicine 1987-1991
The Ohio State University Hospital Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program 1991-1995
Private practice 1995-2010

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu, M.D., received his medical doctorate from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. During his medical school training, Dr. Hsu worked with various patients, including adult and pediatric patients with acute and chronic conditions. Dr. Hsu’s interests include neurology, psychiatry, pediatrics, and sleep medicine.

Before medical school, Dr. Hsu finished a master’s degree at Harvard University and wrote a thesis on neuroimaging in schizophrenia patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospital. Dr. Hsu was also a part of the 2008 NASA Phoenix Lander Mission team, which sent a robotic spacecraft to the North polar region of Mars. Dr. Hsu also had research experience on neuroimaging in neonates at Boston Children’s Hospital, another Harvard Medical School-affiliated Hospital.

Since graduating from medical school, Dr. Hsu has worked as a full-time medical writer and consultant. In addition, he has experience writing and ghostwriting books and articles for physicians and health technology start-up companies. Dr. Hsu believes good communication between healthcare providers and patients creates the best results.

Publications

-Peer Reviewed Journal Article:
Kounaves, S.P., Hecht, M.H., West, S.J., Morookian, J.-M., Young, S.M.M., Quinn, R., Grunthaner, P., Wen, X., Weilert, M., Cable, C.A., Fisher, A., Gospodinova, K., Kapit, J., Stroble, S., Hsu, P.-C., Clark, B.C., Ming, D.W. and Smith, P.H. The MECA wet chemistry laboratory on the 2007 phoenix mars scout Lander. Journal of Geophysical Research. 2009, Mar; 114(E3): 10.1029/2008je003084.

-Poster Presentation:
2011 Harvard Psychiatry Mysell Poster Session; Boston, MA
Hsu, P.C., Rathi, Y., Eckbo, R., Nestor, P., Niznikiewicz, M., Thompson, E., Kubicki, M., Shenton, M.E. (March, 2011). Two-Tensor Diffusion Tensor Imaging of Acoustic Radiations in Schizophrenia

Dr. Nicolette Natale

Nicolette Natale

Dr. Nicolette Natale is a physician, with a background in Psychology, General Medicine, and English Literature, combining her expertise to provide readers with the most accurate, easy-to-understand, and comprehensive information regarding healthcare. She received her Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from Nova Southeastern University, and her bachelor’s in English Literature and Psychology from the University of Miami. Dr. Natale seeks to empower individuals with knowledge, fostering a greater understanding of holistic health and encouraging a proactive approach to well-being