According to the Mayo Clinic, following a diet for reducing a fatty liver may be beneficial for individuals dealing with fatty liver disease.
Fatty Liver Disease
The term, "fatty liver" refers to the excess build up of fats in the liver. It is considered normal for the liver to contain some fat. However, once the fat makes up of 10% or more of the weight of your liver, then you can be diagnosed with fatty liver. Fat in the liver alone may not cause serious problems. However, fatty liver can lead to more serious conditions ranging from Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis to Cirrhosis of the liver.
Diet for Reducing a Fatty Liver
Currently, there are no well-researched therapies being used for Fatty Liver Disease. However, following a healthy diet for reducing a fatty liver may help to prevent and reverse all three types of fatty liver disease.
The following are dietary recommendations for individuals dealing with a fatty liver:
Avoid Processed Foods
Processed foods include the following:
- microwave dinners
- boxed meals
- white flour
- soda pop
- white sugar
- white rice
Eat Plenty of Fresh Fruits
It is recommended that most adults eat at least two cups of fresh, frozen, or canned fruits every day.Examples of a one cup serving of fruits include:
- One small apple
- One large banana
- 32 seedless grapes
- One large orange
- Eight large strawberries
- One cup unsweetened fruit juice
- One cup chopped melon
- 1/2 cup dried fruit (raisins, plums, apricots, etc.)
Consume Fresh Vegetables
According to ChooseMyPlate.gov, most women need to consume at least two and a half cups of vegetables each day and most men need at least three cups per day. Vegetables are extremely nutrient dense, which means you get a lot of vitamins and minerals per calorie. Vegetables are also full of fiber, which most Americans do not get enough of.
Generally speaking, one cup of cooked or raw vegetables, or two loosely packed cups of leafy greens count as one cup of vegetables.
Here are some examples of a once cup serving of vegetables:
- 1 cup chopped broccoli or cauliflower florets
- 1 cup cooked spinach
- 12 baby carrots
- 1 large baked sweet potato
- 1 cup beans
- 1 large ear of corn
- 2 large stalks of celery
- 1 cup sliced cucumber
It is crucial to drink plenty of water each day in order to maintain or regain health. Water helps to keep you hydrated, while also removing waste from your body.It is recommended you drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water each day.
For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be drinking at least 75 ounces of water.
A simple way to keep track of how much water you are drinking is to purchase a refillable water bottle, and refill it several times per day.
High Fructose Corn Syrup and NASH
A study published by American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases links regular consumption of high fructose corn syrup with Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH). The study was the first of its kind, and prior to the research conducted by the team at Duke University, there were very few answers regarding the link between lifestyle and NASH. While this study is a step in the right direction in the quest for answers concerning what causes NASH, more research needs to be completed before we have a definitive answer as to whether avoiding foods that contain high fructose corn syrup can prevent or reverse NASH.
Other Recommendations to Consider
While no specific therapy exists for treating fatty liver disease, following these recommendations can also contribute to the prevention and reversal of conditions associated with a fatty liver:
Avoid Drinking Alcohol
Abstention from alcohol can help to reverse Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.
Reduce Your Weight and Cholesterol Levels
Losing weight and reducing your cholesterol levels may help to improve fatty liver disease. The best way to do this is to improve your diet and increase your activity levels. Speak to your doctor and a Registered Dietitian for individual help to reduce your weight and cholesterol levels.
Keep Your Diabetes Under Control
Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis is commonly seen in individuals who have diabetes. Resistance to insulin is believed to be a contributing factor to developing NASH. If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, keeping your blood sugar in check is an important way to prevent the accumulation of fat in your liver.
Transitioning toward a healthier lifestyle is the best way to reduce a fatty liver and to improve your health. This includes consuming a well balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods. Making big changes can seem overwhelming, so try to go slowly and make small changes at first. Remember, even if you drink just one more glass of water or include one more serving of vegetables in your diet each day, you will be on the road to better health.