Fatty liver Disease Diet: Fat deposits in the liver are now considered a widespread disease. Experts estimate that around 30-40 percent of the entire population suffer from fatty liver disease (steatosis hepatis). No wonder, because most people do not have a balanced diet, do not live healthily and do not exercise enough. Since the liver does not feel pain, fatty liver and other liver diseases often go undetected for a long time.
If a fatty liver has been found, the cause must be combated as quickly as possible – provided the organ has not yet shown any serious damage. If fatty liver is detected in good time, the disease can even be treated without any medication. However, fatty deposits in the liver are not always harmless and can also have dangerous consequences.
We explain the causes of fatty liver disease, how it is treated and when it becomes dangerous. We also show you which diet is useful for fatty liver disease and which foods you can use to do something good for your liver.
Fatty Liver – Diet and Alcohol as the Cause
The most common causes of fatty liver disease are diabetes, obesity due to poor diet and lack of physical activity, and excessive alcohol consumption. Rarely less common but not excluded causes are drugs, other liver diseases or viral infections.
When it comes to causes, doctors differentiate between non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD). Both have in common that the liver cells store more fat instead of breaking it down or converting it into energy. If at least 5 percent of the liver cells have fat deposits, doctors speak of fatty liver.
Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver:
Overweight people often suffer from fatty liver disease. The triggers that lead to fatty liver disease are usually too many carbohydrates, fats and sugar. Stress and lack of exercise also usually increase the risk of developing fatty liver.
Also diabetes (diabetes) causes a fatty liver. When insulin is no longer produced properly or insufficiently by the body, this has an impact on our fat metabolism. This in turn causes the body to release more fats, which are then absorbed by the liver cells and not converted. Diabetics in particular tend to have inflammation of the liver, as iron is deposited in the liver due to the resistance to insulin. The resulting oxide radicals are harmful and often lead to an inflammatory reaction in the liver.
Alcoholic Fatty Liver:
As is well known, alcohol is broken down by the liver. However, if you regularly drink too much alcohol, your liver will be permanently damaged. When alcohol is broken down, acetaldehyde is produced, which prevents the liver cells from releasing fats into the blood. In this case, too, the cells store the fats and, sooner or later, the liver becomes fatty.
Fatty Liver Symptoms:
The liver often suffers silently and without painful symptoms. Fatty liver is therefore usually discovered by chance in a blood test or an ultrasound. If the liver is full of stored fat, this does not directly mean further complications. Many sufferers have known nothing about their illness for years and live without any further complaints.
When Does Fatty Liver Become Dangerous?
One of the first things that would be clarified after diagnosis is what stage your liver is at. Doctors divide the individual stages of the disease as follows:
- Stage à only fat deposits
- Stage à fat deposits and inflammatory changes
- Stage à already swollen and dying liver cells
- Stage à already signs of scarred tissue (cirrhosis of the liver)
It becomes dangerous from the second stage when the liver becomes inflamed. If this remains undetected or untreated, an inflammation of the liver that can actually be treated quickly and easily can turn into cirrhosis. Here, the liver cells gradually die off, so that the liver scars and at some point can no longer fulfill its function. The liver is destroyed and can not be cured. In turn, untreated cirrhosis of the liver increases the risk of liver cancer.
A fatty liver can also cause type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease or a heart attack.
How to Prevent Fatty Liver Disease:
Unfortunately, to date there are no drugs that can help against obesity in the liver. However, you can prevent yourself by:
Pay attention to a healthy and balanced diet (low in fat and low in carbohydrates and fructose), eat vegetables with a lot of bitter substances (e.g. artichokes, broccoli)
Exercise or exercise regularly and sufficiently
Avoid stress as much as possible
Drink alcohol only rarely or to a limited extent.
The Best Foods for a Healthy Liver:
- Artichokes provide plenty of bitter substances (for example cynarin) that stimulate our bile flow, support fat digestion and relieve our liver. The thistle plant also has a positive effect on the cholesterol level: it increases the “good” HDL cholesterol and at the same time lowers the proportion of “bad” LDL cholesterol in the blood. This cholesterol regulation can prevent fatty liver disease.
For example, enjoy artichokes freshly cooked with garlic-lemon oil.
- The milk thistle is also one of the prickly liver friends. It contains an active ingredient complex made up of several secondary plant substances, the so-called silymarin. Among other things, it supports the regeneration of liver cells and protects the liver from toxins such as alcohol.
- Avocados not only have healthy fatty acids, but also plenty of vitamin E. The vitamin is one of the antioxidants that neutralize cell-damaging free radicals and can protect our organism from cell damage. The liver cells also benefit from this protection. Vitamin E is also found in almonds and walnuts, salmon and green leafy vegetables
- Radicchio contains bitter substances that stimulate the production of bile juice. This stimulates fat digestion and relieves the liver. Also healthy for the liver: endive salad, Brussels sprouts, rocket and dandelion.
- In chicory stuck many healthy bitter substances (eg inulin), which among other things, can lower blood lipid. Other vegetables also have a lot to offer the liver for health, including broccoli, fennel, bell pepper, parsnips, beetroot and radishes.
- Drinking coffee in moderation is good for the liver, because: Coffee is rich in polyphenols, which can protect our liver cells. It is best to drink the coffee black in order to absorb the highest possible amount of polyphenols.
- The curcumin contained in turmeric inhibits inflammation and is good for an irritated fatty liver.
- Flaxseed and linseed oil provide valuable omega-3 fatty acids such as alpha-linolenic acid. It has an anti-inflammatory effect and can counteract processes that damage the liver.
- Like coffee, green tea is not only a great pick-me-up, it also contains many healthy phytochemicals. Above all catechins, which stimulate fat digestion. Up to three cups a day can help protect the liver from fat buildup.
Fatty liver Disease Diet:
If you have fatty liver, you should change your diet and, in particular, eat the foods listed above. Lots of vegetables can also help you lose weight. Because in order to treat or prevent fatty liver disease, you should also pay attention to a healthy body weight. The body mass index (BMI) should not be above 25. From a BMI of 30 we speak of being overweight.
By the way, sweets in the evening should also be avoided, because overnight our entire body switches all functions to “energy-saving mode”. As a result, many of the not-so-healthy ingredients in chocolate or chips are not properly broken down or converted, but only stored. The fat compounds that are not burned put a strain on the body.