Just as the name suggests, fatty liver is accumulation of fats on the liver. The liver has a main function of getting rid of harmful substances by a number of enzymes. Liver repairs itself by regenerating new liver cells and getting rid of the old and damaged liver cells. Fatty liver occurs when there is repeated damage to the liver and is too much for it to metabolize. There are two types of fatty liver disease given below:
1) Alcoholic fatty liver disease (ALD)
2) Non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NALD).
This is mostly an underlying condition and can go unnoticed until the ages of 40-60. But if gone unnoticed, it can prove to be extremely harmful and causes problems for treating it.
Thus, to make the decision for your liver; you must start the diet for fatty liver immediately. But first of all you need to know the causes behind this condition.
Causes For Fatty Liver
- Alcoholics, this is definitely not a good sign for you. Because the causes that tops the list is alcoholism. Alcohol can lead to oxidative stress (formation of free radicals) when the liver attempts to break down alcohol. Also, alcohol damages the intestine and disables the intestine to transfer the toxic bacteria of the gut to the liver for detoxification. All these factors lead to severe pressure on the liver and it starts to scar and accumulate fat cells. Although, researchers still do not know exactly how alcohol can lead to fatty liver; it still holds the most prominent risk in forming fatty liver.
- Obesity can cause risk to develop fatty liver disease because of the build-up of fats all over the body.
- Hypertension and hyperlipidaemia can also cause this condition because it triggers high amount of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.
- Type 2 diabetes can also increase the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease but type 1 does not show any risk of this occurring.
- Hepatitis, rapid weight loss, malnutrition or the type of medications you may be on can also cause this disease.
- Pregnancy can also cause fatty liver disease, although it is rare it can still occur.
- Underactive thyroid or pituitary can also be one of the causes of this condition.
- Sleep apnea can also increase the risk of fatty liver disease
So, if you or someone you know has a history or are suffering from these conditions; then you may also be at risk for developing ALD or NAFLD.
Symptoms Of Fatty Liver
Alcohol Liver Disease
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bleeding in the gut
- Bruising easily
- Swelling of ankles and abdomen
- Itching and liver cancer
- Weakness and loss of appetite
- Vomiting blood
- Sensitization to alcohol and medications or drugs
This can ultimately lead to liver failure but in order to prevent this, you are advised to completely stop drinking alcohol. In most severe cases, liver transplant is required and doctors will only consider it, if the person completely stops drinking alcohol for at least 3 months.
Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
- Feeling fatigued
Usually there is constant pain in the upper abdomen and most likely due to an enlarged liver. The most likely test doctors will do is a blood test and if comes out abnormal, liver cirrhosis is most likely suspected.
Diet For Fatty Liver Which Will Be Helpful
1. Organic Raw Vegetables
Raw vegetables are low in sugars and this will help to lose weight and get rid of fats that enable the condition of fatty liver. Fatty liver diet consists of high amount of sugar that leads to obesity and strain on the liver.
Fruits have natural sugars but it is also important to know that too much sugar is bad for the liver. So if you or someone you know is suffering from fatty liver, it is advisable to eat only one to two fruits a day. Consider this as a diet for fatty liver by avoiding high sugar products like biscuits, breads, etc.
Canned or fresh fish has omega-3 fatty acids and unsaturated fats that help in prevention or reducing the fatty liver condition.
Yogurt has good amounts of proteins and helps in reducing weight. Thus, it helps in protecting the body from liver disease.
Coffee is good for reducing obesity and also known for lowering heart disease risks. It thus helps in lowering fats and cholesterol that are the causes of heart diseases and obesity and thus is a good diet for fatty liver prevention or reduction.
Raw garlic enables break down of fats and improves insulin resistance and thus takes load off of the liver.
Nuts like Brazil nuts have mineral called selenium present in them. This is very effective against fatty liver disease. Also, pecans, walnuts, almonds, etc have monounsaturated fats that lower cholesterol and thus do a favor to the liver.
8. Green Tea
Green tea is high in antioxidants, helps to lower weight and prevents insulin resistance. This helps to fight against free radicals that damages the liver and lower fat accumulation on the liver. Thus is a great diet for fatty liver reduction.
Wolfberry is a Chinese plant that has weight loss properties and thus can reduce harmful fats in the body. Thus, reducing the load on liver.
10. Wheat Germ
Wheat germ has betaine that helps in protecting the liver from diseases.
Above foods will surely be helpful in fighting and avoiding fatty liver disease. There are other foods which will keep your liver healthy.
Read: 10 liver cleaning foods.
Harmful Diet For Fatty Liver Which You Should Avoid
- Diet Foods: Foods that guarantee weight loss are harmful for the liver as they have artificial sweeteners or high sugars present in them.
- Fried Foods: Deep-fried food like chips, French fries, crackers, etc has high amounts of saturated fats that are very harmful for the liver.
- Fast Foods: Fast foods like burgers, pizzas, donuts, bagels etc are really harmful and causes overload on the liver.
Try avoiding these foods as much as possible to help prevent liver diseases.
Other Ways To Deal With Fatty Liver Disease
- Stop drinking alcohol.
- Stop smoking.
- Drink lots of water.
- Exercise regularly.
- If you are obese, try to attain the healthy weight by exercising and eating healthy. And avoid going on commercial crash diet that give you slimming diets.
- If you are a diabetic, then maintain glucose levels.
Blood tests are most the initial step for diagnosis.
- Complete blood count test.
- Tests done for checking whether or not the person is suffering from hepatitis.
- Fasting blood sugar levels.
- Celiac screening tests.
- Liver enzyme and liver function test.
- Lipid profiling.
- Ultrasound is the initial step in diagnosing and a step closer to treatment of fatty liver.
- CT scans or MRI scans is done on the abdomen but they have limitations as they cannot distinguish between non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and non-alcoholic fatty liver.
- Transient elastography is an advanced ultrasound for indicating liver stiffness. If there is liver stiffness, then it suggests fibrosis or scarring.
- Magnetic resonance elastography is the combination of elastography and MRI to show sound waves coming from the liver to indicate a visual map of stiffness for reflecting fibrosis or scarring.
Tissue examination liver biopsy consists of extracting a sample from the liver. It may be painful because it requires inserting a needle through the abdomen into the liver.
The initial way that patients are treated, is that they are advised to lose weight. Vaccinations are suggested against hepatitis A and B for further liver damage. In most severe cases, a liver transplant is sought for. Research is going on to find promising drugs for curing fatty liver disease. However, until now there is no FDA-approved drug that exists on the market for fatty liver. In this way, you get an insight to the causes, diet, diagnosis and treatment of ALD and NAFLD. Also, prevention is better than cure; so it would be best to start eating diet for fatty liver as given above.