Walsh Consultant

Trusted Health Consultant

Fatty Liver: Everything You Need To Know

Fatty Liver: Everything You Need To Know

Introduction

Fatty liver is the accumulation of fat on the liver. In medical terms, it is known as hepatic steatosis.

Our liver often doesn’t have any fat storage on it. But if continued over a long period of time, it will eventually result in elevated triglycerides, blood pressure, and Cholesterol

Thus, making some dietary changes is essential to eradicate the fatty liver disease. One of the most effective approaches to treat and alleviate general symptoms is a fatty liver diet.

A fatty liver diet’s main goal is to get rid of excess belly fat. It slows the buildup of fat in the liver. This diet is also appropriate for those who have jaundice.  To be safe, it is a preventative action to make sure the liver problem doesn’t get worse.

Understanding fatty liver disease can help us better comprehend the fatty liver diet.

Fatty Liver Disease

Accumulation of too much fat on the liver is known as fatty liver disease. More people than ever have this disease because of bad lifestyles and food habits. Initially, it typically does not show any symptoms. But frequently, imaging tests that are requested for other reasons are what discover it first. Abdominal ultrasound, a CT scan, or an MRI are a few of these examinations.

A fatty liver is typically connected to excessive alcohol consumption. People who don’t consume any alcohol at all, however, can also develop this prevalent condition. Moreover, research shows that this liver disease in non-drinkers can be brought on by malnutrition and a low-protein diet.

People over the age of 60 are most likely to experience it. Children and young adults, however, are also susceptible. NAFLD, or ‘Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease,’ is the name given to this type of liver disease.

Also read: A Complete Guide To Jaundice- Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)

Hepatic steatosis, or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, is a buildup of fat in the liver. There are a number of causes for development of fat on the liver such as obesity, Diabetes, high cholesterol, and bypass surgery.

Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, or ‘NASH,’ can develop as a result of an inflamed liver over time. Cirrhosis (liver scarring) and liver cancer are potential outcomes of NASH, a more severe form of fatty liver disease. 

Chronic diseases like Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, and renal disease might develop as a result of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Therefore, it is good to get a Liver Test done on a regular basis.

Causes of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Fatty liver can occur for a number of causes. There are some factors that are under your control, like your diet and nutrition. The genetic relationship may not be as easily regulated for conditions like pre-diabetes, though. Medication might be necessary for these causes.

Obesity

Similar to starvation, overeating can lead to inflammation resulting in liver damage.

According to research, most obese people have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Insulin resistance and inflammation are brought on by an excess of body fat leading to the occurrence of fat on the liver.

Losing weight is one of the key suggestions for getting rid of the fat deposited in your liver. Increased liver enzyme synthesis can be achieved by losing at least 10% of body weight. As a result, some of the fat that was stored naturally will be removed.

Low protein intake

According to scientists, a primary cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease may be insufficient protein consumption in infancy.

The later years of a child’s life may see them acquire fatty liver disease if they have Marasmus or Kwashiorkor (severe forms of malnutrition). These two disorders, which are most common in severely undernourished children, are brought on by a lack of protein in the diet.

Poor gut health

Some people’s development of NAFLD may be influenced by an imbalance of bacteria in their gut lining.

Overconsumption of sugar and carbohydrates 

NAFL is associated with excessive sugar intake, and processed carbohydrates such as white bread, and soda. For those who are resistant to insulin, it is dangerous. Therefore, the likelihood of getting a fatty liver disease is significant.

Pre-diabetes

People who are insulin resistant or sensitive to sweets typically have higher levels of body fat. Additionally, pre-diabetics accumulate more fat on their livers than healthy individuals. They, therefore, have a higher chance of developing fatty liver.

Genetics 

Some ethnic groups are more likely to develop fatty liver. Therefore, those who are genetically predisposed to this type of liver disease should adhere to an inflamed liver diet. It will help them in avoiding the illness.

Malnourishment

NAFLD may develop as a result of malnutrition-induced mitochondrial alterations. According to research, hepatic steatosis may be caused by starvation that began in childhood. This fatty liver condition is non-alcoholic.

Also read: Useful Tips While You Recover After Liver Transplant

How can you know if you have fatty liver disease?

In most cases, there are no symptoms. If there are, fatty liver may still go undiagnosed since its symptoms are so commonplace, such as:

Weakness

Exhaustion

A feeling of fullness in the centre or right side of the abdomen

Swollen belly

Reddish palms

Deep yellow-coloured urine

Enlarged blood vessels under the skin

Increase in liver enzymes

Fatigue

A yellow tinge to the skin and eyes. 

An alcohol-induced fatty liver frequently exhibits nausea. Cirrhosis is a chronic liver disease that results in the loss of liver cells and irreversible scarring of the liver. The signs and symptoms of cirrhosis of the liver, including

Fatigue

Loss of appetite

Skin yellowing

Itching

The best way to get rid of a fatty liver is a healthy diet

The illness is all about the accumulation of excess fat, as the phrase ‘fatty liver’ suggests. As a result, you should limit the quantity of fat in your diet. Nutritionists think that living a healthy lifestyle, working out, and eating a fatty liver diet may help you get rid of it.

Foods to eat when you have a fatty liver 

Green vegetables

Broccoli and spinach are two examples of green vegetables that might lessen liver fat accumulation. Try to consume a lot of green leafy vegetables like lettuce, methi, mustard, broccoli, and spinach every day. A wonderful strategy to control weight is to include a lot of greens in your diet.

The fibre in green leafy vegetables promotes early satiety and regulates weight. Additionally, studies show that the nitrate compounds in green leafy vegetables lessen symptoms and actually help to cure alcoholic and non-alcoholic liver diseases and the chlorophyll found in these foods is a superb liver cleanser.

Nuts and seeds

The poly and monounsaturated fatty acids can be found in abundance in nuts and seeds including almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.

It is healthy for the body and is frequently referred to as ‘good fat.’ Nuts and seeds are also sources of omega-3 fatty acids. 

Coffee

Over time, coffee drinkers with fatty livers have more transient liver damage than non-coffee drinkers. According to research, caffeine helps to delay the onset of liver fibrosis, cirrhosis, etc.

Note: The health of your liver can be supported by consuming 1 cup of black coffee daily.

Cruciferous vegetables

Broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage are examples of cruciferous vegetables that boost the liver’s capacity for detoxification and are beneficial for cleansing.

The liver is shielded from inflammation by the powerful antioxidant glutathione. In order for our bodies to manufacture glutathione, the sulphur compounds in these veggies are quite helpful. Indole, a substance present in cruciferous vegetables, has also been shown to be useful in the treatment of fatty liver disease.

Avacado

Avocados contain unsaturated fat, making them a great substitute for foods containing saturated fat like butter. Additionally, it is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids from plants.

Aside from that, avocados include substances that can help repair liver damage brought on by non-alcoholic fatty liver. According to research, consuming omega-3 fatty acids help in treating AFLD and NAFLD.

Green tea

Your liver can benefit greatly from the antioxidants in green tea. Catechins are particular antioxidants that help NAFLD patients reduce liver fat and inflammation.

Furthermore, studies conducted in the scientific community demonstrate that people with fatty liver who consistently drink 1-2 cups of green tea have optimal levels of liver enzymes. As a result, the liver’s functionality is enhanced.

Olive oil

If you believe you have a fatty liver, it’s critical to stay away from saturated fat. Especially the fats present in foods like butter and red meat. Unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, are a far better choice.

Both poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) are present in olive oil. However, you should limit your daily intake of olive oil to no more than 2-3 tbsp.

Tofu

Tofu contains soy protein, which can aid in lowering liver fat accumulation. It is a good protein source. As a result, it delays the development of fatty liver disease. Tofu’s low sugar and fat content is an additional wonderful benefit. If you are adhering to a NAFL-friendly diet, it is a necessity. It is adaptable, so you can easily use it in any cuisine.

Oatmeal

For those with NAFLD, oatmeal is a fantastic, substantial, low-fat breakfast option that also contains fibre and complex carbohydrates to help them lose weight. For those who have a fatty liver, maintaining a healthy weight is essential.

For a healthy, energising breakfast, combine your oatmeal with a spoonful of fruit slices or nut butter, such as almond or peanut.

Whey protein                                                                

To keep your fatty liver under control, a whey protein shake is a great addition to your diet. According to a study, women with NAFLD who regularly consumed whey protein had a 20% reduction in liver fat.

Not using protein appropriately can result in bloating, so keep that in mind. The greatest method for assimilation is to take a scoop of whey protein right after working out. The ideal protein intake is, therefore, required for the body to function healthily.

Chicken and egg

Biologically active protein can be found in chicken and eggs. The body easily absorbs and breaks down the bioactive protein. A sufficient amount of protein can aid in the treatment of fatty liver disease because a diet deficient in protein is a primary contributor to the fat buildup in the liver.

A Full Guide To Gastrointestinal Diseases

Foods to avoid when you are on a fatty liver diet

Contrary to popular belief, sugar and foods high in carbohydrates are the main causes of NAFLD, not ‘fat,’ as you might expect. Of course, if you want to lose weight and be healthy overall, you need to avoid saturated fat. The greatest significant improvement in your fatty liver condition will come from cutting back on your carbohydrate intake.

Alcohol

Alcohol should be avoided at all costs if you have NAFLD. Alcohol can not only lead to fatty liver disease, but it can also significantly exacerbate an already existing condition.

Sugar

Sugar consumption needs to be reduced. Even sugars from naturally occurring sources like fruit juice and honey are included.

Salt

Try to limit your daily sodium intake to 1500 mg or less. You may hold onto water weight if you eat too much salt.

Refined carbohydrates

White carbohydrates, including pasta and bread, should be avoided. Alternatives made of whole grains, such as quinoa, whole wheat bread, and black bean pasta, can be used in their place.

Saturated fat and red meat 

Butter, red meat, and other sources of saturated fat should all be avoided. Replace it with healthy fats like cold-pressed nut oils, avocado, and olive oil.

Saturated fats are found in large quantities in red meats like mutton, beef and pork. In the case of fatty liver, it is undesirable. As a result, you should avoid them. Incorrect processing of red meat might result in chemicals that harm health by creating inflammation.

Fried foods

French fries, chips, chicken wings, and doughnuts are examples of fried meals that are heavy in fat and sugar. As a result, these foods cause a spike in blood sugar.

Fatty liver diet plans

Breakfast diet

A cup of black coffee or green tea 

A bowl of hot whole-grain porridge with walnuts, fruits, and berries added

Whey or soy protein, oats, fruit, and low-fat milk are all combined to make a protein smoothie

Lunch diet

1 or 2 servings of whole grains, such as chapati or brown rice, along with 1 cup of curd, 50 grammes of chicken

2 servings of raw or cooked greens/vegetables

Snack diet

A tiny handful of nuts

A curd-mint dip with raw vegetable slices

One sliced green apple with a spoonful of peanut or almond butter are all other options

Dinner diet

1 cup of beans or lentils

1 cup of cooked or raw vegetables

1 cup of whole grains such as brown rice or Jowar/Bajra roti

Dessert diet

A cup of freshly made mixed berries

Inculcate some healthy lifestyle changes, namely:

Water intake

The life-giving fluid is water. 3–4 litres of water each day are recommended. Water aids in reducing inflammation by flushing out toxins from the body. For the body to function at its best, it is essential to routinely consume water.

Exercise

Exercise is an excellent strategy to keep your fatty liver under control. Adults with NAFLD may experience a 10% reduction in fat accumulation by engaging in cardio and weight training a few times per week.

Another effective workout is high-intensity interval training, or ‘HIIT.’ It incorporates both cardiovascular exercise and strength training into a brief routine. 

According to a recent study, patients with insulin resistance who engaged in HIIT exercises for 12 weeks saw a 39% decrease in liver fat.

Note: Exercise frequency is more crucial than exercise intensity. Regular exercise is crucial, whether you opt for a gentle aerobic activity or a strenuous strengthening one. The majority of the week, try to exercise for 30 minutes.

Sleep patterns 

When it comes to liver ailments, sleep patterns are crucial. For the body to function at its best, regular sleep of 7-8 hours each day is required. The body rests, heals, and regenerates while sleeping. So, getting the best possible sleep every night is crucial.

Take control of your diabetes

We already know that fatty liver disease is preceded by insulin resistance. If your diabetes cannot be managed by food and lifestyle changes alone, consult your doctor. You will be given medication by the doctor to treat your diabetes. It might be very important in preventing NAFLD in the future.

Final thoughts

Although it is something to be wary of, fatty liver need not be feared. Simply learn when to stop eating those hamburgers and pizzas, ordering the mojitos, and sugary drinks, and participating in dessert crawls.

Numerous factors, such as a bad diet, pre-diabetes, being overweight, genetics, and bad gut flora can all contribute to accumulation of fat on the liver. But the secret to avoiding and treating fatty liver is to eat a Mediterranean-style diet rich in leafy greens, low-sugar fruits, lean meats, and whole grains.

Additionally, people with fatty liver should stay away from sugar, white carbohydrates, alcohol, salt, and saturated fat, to name a few.

Overall, you need to eat healthily and maintain your blood sugar and weight. In this manner, you can live a healthy life and prevent NAFLD. 

Most importantly, keep yourself under 360 degrees full body checkup, including Genetic testing, on a regular basis so that you can be warned of any hidden or underlying medical condition on time. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What are the 3 signs of a fatty liver?

Ans. Abdominal swelling, enlarged blood vessels, red palms, and yellowing of the eyes and skin are a few of the most common symptoms of a fatty liver. 

Q2. What is the best breakfast for fatty liver?

Ans. Fibre-rich foods are the best breakfast for people with Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (AFLD) or Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD).

Q3. What are the red flags for a fatty liver?

Ans. Abdominal swelling, enlarged blood vessels, red palms, yellowing of the eyes and skin, fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, and swollen legs are the red flags for a fatty liver.

Q4. Is fatty liver something to worry about?

Ans. Fatty liver disease doesn’t harm but if it is left untreated it can result in cirrhosis of the liver which can be a deadly illness causing liver cancer or complete liver damage.

Written by: Anjali Dharra

Book The Full Body Good Health Test Today!