The liver, that is located on the upper-right side of the abdomen, is the largest internal organ of the human body. The main functions of the liver are to remove few toxins and process food nutrients. Blood from your digestive system generally filters through the liver before travelling anywhere else in the body.
What is fatty liver disease ?
Fatty liver disease is also called as steatosis that is the buildup of excess fat in the liver cells, and is a common liver complaint mostly in Western countries. It affects about one in every 10 people. It is normal for the liver to contain some fat, but if fat accounts for more than 10 percent of the liver’s weight, then you have fatty liver and you may develop more serious complications.
Fatty liver is reversible if you make lifestyle and behavioral changes. In the early stages, this condition presents with no symptoms and does not result in permanent damage. However, when repeated damage occurs to your liver, permanent scarring can take the place of normal liver cells. This is called liver cirrhosis.
An inflamed liver may become scarred and hardened over time. This condition, called cirrhosis, is serious and often leads to liver failure. NASH is one of the top three leading causes of cirrhosis.
What are the causes of fatty liver?
Fatty liver may generally cause no damage, but sometimes the excess amount of fat in your body leads to inflammation of your liver. This condition, called steatohepatitis, does cause liver damage. Sometimes, inflammation from a fatty liver is linked to alcohol abuse. This is known as alcoholic steatohepatitis. Otherwise, the condition is called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH.
The most common cause of fatty liver is generally alcoholism and also heavy drinking. In many cases, doctors don’t know what causes fatty liver in people who don’t drink much alcohol.
Fatty liver develops when your body creates too much fat or cannot metabolize fat fast enough. Generally excess fat that is stored in liver cells where it accumulates to form fatty liver disease. Eating a high amount of fat, high amount of sugar diet may not directly result in fatty liver, but it can contribute to it.
Besides alcoholism, other general causes of fatty liver include
- Hyperlipidemia, or high levels of fats in the blood
- Side effect of particular medications, including aspirin, steroids, tamoxifen (Nolvadex), and tetracycline (Panmycin).
- Genetic inheritance
- Rapid weight loss.
What are the symptoms of fatty liver?
Fatty liver is typically has no associated symptoms. You will particularly experience fatigue or vague abdominal discomfort. Your liver will become slightly enlarged, which your doctor can detect during a physical exam.
However, excess fat in the liver can cause inflammation. If your liver becomes inflamed, you will have few symptoms such as:
- A poor appetite
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Physical weakness
Here are few complications of fatty liver disease.
The fatty liver disease results in fat infiltrating the liver and it may cause no damage, but it can result in serious complications. The excess fat that can lead to inflammation of the liver (steatohepatitis), which over time can lead to the scarring and fibrosis of the liver known as liver cirrhosis.
Cirrhosis is one of the most severe complications, with the damage to the liver being permanent and resulting in loss of function. Cirrhosis occurs over years and can lead to liver cancer.
What are the types of fatty liver?
There are two basic types of fatty liver: nonalcoholic and alcoholic.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is also called as (NAFLD) it generally develops when your liver has difficulty breaking down fats, which causes a buildup in the liver tissue. The cause is not related to alcohol. NAFL is generally diagnosed when more than 10 percent of the liver is fat.
Alcoholic fatty liver
Alcoholic fatty liver is the earliest stage of alcohol-related liver disease. Heavy drinking will damages your liver, and the liver cannot be generally break down fats as a result. Abstaining from alcohol will likely cause the fatty liver to subside. Within six to nine weeks of not drinking alcohol, the fat will disappear. However, if excessive alcohol use continues, cirrhosis may develop.
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and alcoholic steatohepatitis.
When enough amount of fat generates up, it will cause the liver to swell. If the original cause is not from alcohol, it’s called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). This disease can impair the liver function.
Here are few foods to eat and few foods to avoid on fatty liver
Foods to eat by fatty liver patients
In general, the less sweet and less processed food is the better chance of it being a part of the fatty liver diet and there is no particular evidence yet, few of the preliminary studies have been found that fatty liver patients respond well to the mediterranean diet, which includes plenty of fresh produce, nuts, olive oil, poultry and fish.The fatty liver diet advocates consumption of the following.
You may eat seafood, beans and lean meat. Just be sure to scrape away cooked and raw fat from the meat. Fried meats are alright as long as only a very small amount of oil is used. To be on the safer side, eat only the dishes that are steamed or boiled, instead of deep-fried. Meats are also a good source of Vitamin B.
There are few dairy products that are available in fat-free and reduced-fat varieties. If consuming them is unavoidable, check the labels of the different products and choose the ones with the least amount of fat in each serving. Mayonnaise and salad dressings fall under this group.
While salads in itself are alright to eat, the dressings may not be. In the same way as the other dairy products, use mayonnaise with the least fat content.
Green leafy vegetables should always be part of your daily diet, and they are needed more than ever for fatty liver patients. Green vegetables generally contain folic acid which, as mentioned in the previous chapter, is essential for liver health. Salads should be fresh, and try to eat only those that have very small amounts of dressing.
Beets, Carrots & Tomatoes are some of the best examples of vegetables rich with Glutathione, a protein that protects the liver. Eating these things will can help stimulate and improve overall liver function.
Citrus fruits in particular contain essential vitamins that will help keep the body healthy.
Vitamin C and Folic acid are two of the most useful vitamins that fruits contain. Vitamin C is starting to have a great potential as a fatty liver treatment.
Carbohydrate group foods
Carbohydrates should still be part of your diet. Good sources of carbohydrates are whole grains, brown rice, wheat bread and pasta. They contain complex amount of carbohydrates, which is generally recommended to join the bulk of a fatty liver patient’s diet.
Simple carbohydrates like the ones in candy stick to the teeth (the primary cause of tooth decay in children) and are stored in the adipose tissues.
This is considered an essential component of every diet. However, when most people think of protein, they think of red meat. This can actually work against a healthy liver as red meat contains excessive amounts of fat. Instead, select meats that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been proven in many of the studies to promote good liver health.
It is a clever idea to reduce red meat intake and replace it with other alternative protein sources. Fish, white meat, eggs, nuts, legumes, and low-fat cheese are good alternatives.
While some fats may be bad for you, there are good fats as well. Good fats include monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids. Previous studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids can protect the liver from developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It also aids in the removal of fat from your liver once fatty liver disease has begun.
Great sources of omega-3’s include salmon, tuna, and sardines. Monounsaturated fats found in items such as olive oil have also been proven to prevent and treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Foods fatty liver patients should avoid
Much like how there are few types of foods that promote liver health, there are also foods that work against it. Here are some examples:
While it is true that the body craves sugar, too much of it can be bad for your liver. Excess consumption of sugar can lead to obesity and diabetes, which are both risk factors for fatty liver disease development. Many studies have linked a decrease in sugar consumption to a healthy liver and the prevention of fatty liver disease.
Sugar is generally hiding in many processed foods such as cookies, cereals, cakes, juice, soda, sauces, and sweetened snacks. Hidden sugar may also be lurking in foods such as salad dressings and ketchup.
This is a natural sugar that is found in fruit. However, many companies isolate this type of sugar from corn and use it as an inexpensive additive to sweeten sodas, sauces, syrups, and other foods. The problem is that this form of sugar syrup is very concentrated, containing high amounts of calories and sugar molecules that bombard the system.
These are overly processed carbohydrates that have none of the healthy nutrients their counterparts have. Simple carbs cause blood sugar to spike, which can lead to insulin becoming resistant over time. This can lead to the development of fatty liver disease. Simple carbohydrates include white bread, white noodles, cakes, cookies, pastries, and crackers.
Trans and saturated fats
These are unhealthy fats that have been linked to the development of heart disease and disease of the blood vessels. Eating foods high in these fats can lead to obesity and increased blood lipid levels, both of which contribute to a fatty liver.
It’s important to choose healthy sources for your daily protein intake, and unfortunately, red meat is not one of them. Previous studies have shown that high red meat and saturated fat intake leads to an increased risk of liver disease and liver cancer. Red meat is commonly used to make sausages, hot dogs, and cured meats.
Fatty Liver Diet Ratios
Professional opinions on the ideal ratio of produce, carbohydrates, healthy fats and protein for preventing or reversing a fatty liver differ greatly. Some nutritionists advocate an emphasis on lean protein and fresh vegetables while others believe that whole grains should get the largest ratio allocation.
Most of the healthcare providers will agree that high levels of protein are best for liver health, unless the person has advanced liver disease. Individuals with cirrhosis might be advised to restrict their protein levels to prevent an accumulation of ammonia in the blood. As such, those with advanced disease should consult with their healthcare provider for the ratios that would suit them best.
Overall all know that the fatty liver foods describes a healthy eating plan that can help almost everyone in numerous ways. Specific to fatty liver, by following the fatty liver diet, you will avoid foods that promote liver fat and eat foods that negate liver fat, both of which will help you shed excess weight, stabilize blood sugar levels and restore healthy blood fat proportions.
By following the fatty liver diet tips described here in, your risk of fatty liver disease will diminish, and you will feel energized and healthier.Once an individual is diagnosed with this liver condition, it becomes essential that he or she correct their faulty eating habits. Along with this, following an exercise routine to bring their body weight to stable levels will help greatly in improving the sufferer’s liver functions.