A diet plan for fatty liver should be holistic in its approach to not only improve liver health, but also the overall health of the human body. Everything you consume, good or bad, finds its way through the liver before being distributed to other areas of the body. Performing more than 200 functions, the liver is a critical organ, and a healthy liver generally corresponds to a healthy body.
Fatty liver disease (FLD) results when triglyceride fat makes up more than 5-10% of the liver by weight. Fat accumulates in and around the liver cells (hepatocytes) which causes the liver to become enlarged and heavier. When this happens, some patients complain about abdominal pain and discomfort and the sensation of feeling "stuffed" in their lower torso area on the right side of the body.
For the most part, fatty liver in its earliest stages (simple steatosis) is an asymptomatic condition. Many patients are unaware the condition exists until it worsens. When this happens, symptoms may include weakness and tiredness, nausea, anorexia, confusion, abdominal pain, and jaundice. If not remedied through diet and exercise, FLD can progress to cirrhosis or liver cancer and can become fatal.
A fatty liver cure does not exist. However, this does not mean the condition cannot be treated, slowed, or even reversed. Although alternative treatment methods such as using vitamin C and E, Epsom salts, milk thistle, and a variety of different drugs do exist and are gaining popularity in some medical circles, proper diet and exercise still remains the best way to combat FLD.
The best diets for fatty liver patients follow a few key principles. Here is a quick breakdown that can help you if you have alcoholic or non alcoholic FLD.
- Focus on foods high in complex carbohydrates such as brown rice and whole grains.
- Reduce your consumption of refined and simple carbohydrates like those found in sugar, white bread, egg noodles, cakes, and many desserts.
- Eat plenty of servings of fruits and vegetables every single day. A quick tip: Raw vegetable juices can be extremely healthy for the liver.
- Stay away from deep fried, fatty, and processed foods, especially processed meats such as sausage and hot dogs.
- Reduce and limit your consumption of dairy products. When consuming dairy focus on organic yogurts and ricotta and/or cottage cheese. You can also opt for soy and rice milks instead of whole or 2% milks.
- Margarine, excessive consumption of fatty condiments like salad dressing, sugary fruit juices, energy drinks, and alcohol should all be avoided.
- Focus on lean white meats such as chicken or turkey instead of beef or pork. Free range meats are best as they don't contain harmful steroids, growth hormones, and other antibiotics.
- Drink plenty of water (at least 2 liters per day).