Got Fatty Liver Disease? Here Are 10 Foods To Eat And Avoid
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Getting diagnosed with fatty liver is increasingly common among Indians these days, and once you do get it, regulating diet is of key importance. For those who don’t know, fatty liver, also known as hepatic steatosis, is a condition characterized by the accumulation of excess fat in the liver cells. In a healthy liver, there may be a small amount of fat, but when fat accumulation exceeds a certain level, it can lead to fatty liver disease. 

There are two main types of fatty liver disease. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common type and occurs in individuals who consume little to no alcohol. NAFLD is often associated with obesity, insulin resistance (prediabetes or type 2 diabetes), high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels. In June 2022, the Indian Association for Study of the Liver (INASL)-NAFLD Taskforce revealed in a study that the overall prevalence of NAFLD in India is over 40%, which is very high indeed. 

The second type of fatty liver is alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD), which is caused by excessive alcohol consumption. The liver processes alcohol, and chronic alcohol abuse can lead to fat accumulation in the liver cells. Because the symptoms of fatty liver aren’t as noticeable in the earliest stages, it can often become difficult to manage the condition early. However, it is very important to change your diet immediately after getting diagnosed with fatty liver to prevent the risk of liver failure and other severe issues like fibrosis and cirrhosis. 

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Foods To Eat With Fatty Liver Disease

When dealing with fatty liver disease, it's essential to focus on a diet that supports liver health and helps manage the condition. Here are five top foods to include in your diet if you have fatty liver. 

1. Leafy Greens: Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and Swiss chard, are excellent choices for promoting liver health. They are rich in antioxidants, vitamins (such as vitamin C and vitamin K), and minerals, which can help reduce inflammation and support liver function. 

2. Fatty Fish: Fatty fish, like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties and can be beneficial for reducing liver fat and inflammation. Aim to include fatty fish in your diet at least twice a week. 

3. Olive Oil: Olive oil is a healthy source of monounsaturated fats, which can help improve cholesterol levels and reduce liver fat accumulation. Use extra virgin olive oil in your cooking and as a salad dressing to gain its health benefits. 

4. Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds are rich in healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants. These foods can support liver health and help manage fatty liver disease. However, consume them in moderation, as they are calorie-dense. 

5. Garlic: Garlic contains compounds that have been shown to have liver-protective effects. It may help reduce liver fat and support liver function. Incorporate fresh garlic into your cooking or consider taking garlic supplements, but consult your healthcare provider before taking any supplements. 

Foods To Avoid With Fatty Liver Disease 

When managing fatty liver disease, it's essential to avoid certain foods that can exacerbate liver fat accumulation, inflammation, and other complications. Here are the top five foods to avoid if you have fatty liver. 

1. Alcohol: If you have any form of fatty liver disease, it is essential to completely avoid alcohol consumption. Alcohol is a major contributor to liver fat accumulation and can worsen liver damage. 

2. Added Sugars and Sugary Beverages: High consumption of added sugars and sugary beverages, such as sodas, energy drinks, and sweetened fruit juices, can contribute to liver fat buildup and insulin resistance. Reduce or eliminate these from your diet. 

3. Refined Carbohydrates: Foods made with refined grains, like white bread, white rice, and pasta, can raise blood sugar levels and promote liver fat storage. Choose whole grains instead, which are healthier and more beneficial for managing fatty liver. 

4. Trans Fats and Saturated Fats: Avoid foods that are high in trans fats and saturated fats. These include many processed and fried foods, commercial baked goods, and fatty meats. Trans fats can increase liver inflammation, while saturated fats can contribute to insulin resistance. 

5. Highly Processed Foods: Highly processed foods often contain high levels of unhealthy fats, added sugars, and refined carbohydrates. These foods can be harmful to the liver and overall health. Opt for whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible.