A fatty liver diet plan should be holistic in its approach to not only improving liver health, but also the overall health of the human body. Everything you eat, good or bad, passes through the liver before being distributed to other areas of the body. Performing more than 200 functions, the liver is a critical organ, and a healthy liver generally corresponds to a healthy body.
Fatty liver disease (FLD) occurs when triglyceride fat makes up more than 5-10% of the liver’s weight. Fat accumulates in and around liver cells (hepatocytes), causing the liver to enlarge and become heavier. When this happens, some patients complain of abdominal pain and discomfort and a feeling of feeling “stuck” in the lower torso on the right side of the body.
For the most part, fatty liver in its early stages (simple steatosis) is an asymptomatic condition. Many patients are unaware that the condition exists until it worsens. When this happens, symptoms can include weakness and tiredness, nausea, anorexia, confusion, abdominal pain, and jaundice. If not remedied with diet and exercise, FLD can progress to cirrhosis or liver cancer and can become fatal.
There is no cure for fatty liver. However, this does not mean that the condition cannot be treated, delayed, or even reversed. Although there are alternative treatment methods, such as the use of vitamin C and E, Epsom salts, milk thistle, and a variety of different medications, and are gaining popularity in some medical circles, proper diet and exercise are still the best way to combat FLD.
The best diets for fatty liver patients follow a few key principles. Here’s a quick breakdown that can help you if you have alcoholic or nonalcoholic FLD.
- Focus on foods rich in complex carbohydrates like brown rice and whole grains.
- Cut back on refined and simple carbohydrates such as those found in sugar, white bread, egg noodles, cakes, and many desserts.
- Eat lots of servings of fruits and vegetables every day. A quick tip: Raw vegetable juices can be extremely healthy for the liver.
- Stay away from processed, fatty, and fried foods, especially processed meats like hot dogs and sausages.
- Reduce and limit your consumption of dairy products. When consuming dairy products, focus on organic yogurts and ricotta and / or cottage cheese. You can also opt for soy and rice milks instead of whole or 2% milks.
- Margarine, excessive consumption of fatty condiments such as salad dressings, sugary fruit juices, energy drinks, and alcohol should be avoided.
- Focus on lean white meats like chicken or turkey instead of beef or pork. Free-range meats are the best as they do not contain steroids, growth hormones, and other harmful antibiotics.
- Drink lots of water (at least 2 liters per day).