Fatty liver disease is very common. It’s estimated that more than a third of adult Americans are affected by the condition. There are two types of fatty liver disease: alcoholic fatty liver disease and nonalcoholic liver disease (NAFLD). The former is caused by excess drinking, as the name implies, and the latter often has to do with lifestyle choices and eating habits, namely a diet high in fat and processed foods and a sedentary lifestyle. So, what you eat and drink can lead to fatty liver disease, but the condition can also be improved with the right diet.
In this article, we list a few diet tips which can help reduce the amount of fat in your liver, prevent further liver damage or even reverse it, and prevent the disease itself if you don’t have it yet.
8 tips to treat fatty liver disease with diet changes
To reduce excess fat in your liver and help it function better, WebMD offers these tips:
1. Refrain from drinking alcohol.
Even if you have the nonalcoholic type of the disease, it’s still recommended to stop drinking alcohol. If you have alcoholic fatty liver disease, absolutely no amount of alcohol is allowed.
2. Drink more water.
The importance of water for normal functioning of all systems in the body isn’t a surprise to anyone. The liver, like the kidneys, is your body’s filter, and drinking enough water can help your liver do its filtering job more effectively.
3. Drink coffee and green tea.
Coffee is good for your liver if you drink it in sensible amounts. Coffee may have a protective effect on your liver, and it appears to lower certain risk factors for liver disease, such as insulin resistance.
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Another liver-friendly drink is green tea. Antioxidants in this drink may help ward off liver damage. Just drink your coffee and tea without sugar, as excess sugar makes liver disease worse.
4. Choose the right kinds of fat.
To reduce fat in the liver, you have to choose the fats you eat wisely. Unsaturated fats found in olive oil, avocado, seeds, and nuts can help your liver get rid of excess fat and function better. Also, include sources of omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. Limit saturated fats (found in red meat and full-fat dairy products) to a minimum, and avoid trans fats (labeled as “partially hydrogenated oil”) altogether.
5. Choose slow carbs over fast ones.
Slow carbs don’t cause spikes in your blood sugar levels and keep you full longer. Good sources of slow carbs are whole grains and fresh fruits, berries, and vegetables, which are also good sources of fiber and important vitamins and minerals.
6. Up your intake of vitamin E.
There’s some evidence that vitamin E (combined with vitamin C and cholesterol-lowering medicines or alone) may help treat fatty liver disease. If you want to take a vitamin E supplement, consult your doctor first. But it’s best to get the vitamin from food sources, such as wheat germ oil, nuts, and seeds.
7. Get enough vitamin D.
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A lack of vitamin D may be linked to fatty liver disease. Your body makes vitamin D when exposed to sun, but you can also get it from some foods, such as orange juice and dairy products fortified with the vitamin.
8. Limit sugar and salt.
Excess salt and refined sugar can make fatty liver disease worse. So, use less salt and sugar in cooking, and limit processed foods, as these are often high in sugar and salt.
In addition to some foods mentioned above, here are a few more specific foods to add to your liver-friendly diet:
- Brazil nuts;
- raw garlic;
- red grapes;
- sweet potatoes.
Start taking good care of your liver before it's too late!
This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.