First things first.
What function does our liver perform? Well, it’s an organ which filters out harmful substances from our blood stream. When one has a fatty liver, the liver stops functioning properly. But…what exactly is a fatty liver? It is exactly what the name says it is – a build-up of fat in your liver. Now under normal conditions, small quantities of fat are considered normal. But if the fat content in your liver is more than 5% of the weight of the liver, then that poses a problem for you.
It sounds serious (and it is) but fatty liver is a condition that can easily be reversed, provided you follow a strict diet. Mentioned below is a list of foods to avoidand ones to eat in order to improve your condition.
Foods to Avoid with Fatty Liver
If you suffer from a fatty liver or don’t want to ever get a fatty liver, here is a list of fatty liver foods to avoid:
1. Trans and Saturated Fats
There are good fats, and there are bad fats. Guess which category trans and saturated fats fall into? Not only do they encourage the growth of a fatty liver, but continued consumption can lead to increased blood lipid levels and obesity as well.
2. Red Meat
Roll your eyes as much as you want, but you know red meat isn’t good for your health. Commonly found in cured meats, hot dogs and sausages, red meat can lead to increased chances of liver diseases and cancer.
3. Foods with High-Glycemic Index
Certain foods like raisins, corn, potatoes, bananas and watermelons have naturally occurring sugar that can be found in high levels. Not only are they bad for your liver, but they raise your blood sugar levels as well.
Now while most of us know that foods like syrups, jams, cookies and cakes have high amounts of sugar, how many of us knew that sauces, cereals, juices, salad dressings and sodas too have alarmingly high amounts of processed sugar in them? Needless to say, sugar is definitely one of the most important fatty liver foods to avoid,and for more than one health based reasons.
If your food is sweet but free of sugar, it has been sweetened with fructose. This form of sugar (derived from corn) is not only high in calories and bad for your health, but it throws your blood sugar balance out the window.
A fatty liver is one of the first signs of alcohol-related liver disease. Prolonged drinking of alcohol can lead to irreparable damages, and may or may not lead to liver cancer. With a damaged liver, it is unable to properly break down fat deposits. However, if you’re in your early stages, then giving up alcohol can reverse the effects in a mere 1.5 months.
7. Fried Foods
Deep fried foods are usually fried in palm oil or coconut oil. Now these oils are notorious for their high fat content, which in turn adds high amount of unhealthy saturated fats to fried foods. And the last thing you need when you have a fatty liver is…more bad fat!
8. Excessive Salt
Consuming excessive salt or foods high in salt is bad for your liver. Why? Because salt retains water and the more water your body retains, the worse it is for your liver. The average American is advised to consume not more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day (which amounts to 0.75 teaspoons or 3.75 grams of salt per day), whether directly or indirectly.
9. Simple Carbs
When it comes to fatty liver foods to avoid, simple carbs are quite high on that list. Contrary to their name, these carbs are highly processed and add nothing but empty calories to your diet. Not only that, they also spike your blood sugar levels, which can prove to be dangerous if you’re a diabetic person. The biggest offenders in this list include pasta, crackers, white bread, cookies, cakes and white noodles.
Foods to Eat For Fatty Liver-Reducing Diet
Now that we’re done with the list of fatty liver foods to avoid, here’s a list of foods you should add/increase in your diet to reverse the effects of a fatty liver:
- Complex carbohydrates: Food items like legumes, brown rice, whole rolled oats, sweet potatoes and whole grain bread have a low glycemic index. They also help regulate the glucose present on your blood, which in turn keeps your blood sugar levels steady.
- Walnuts: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, several researches on walnuts have shown conclusively that regular consumption helps one have a better functioning liver with little to no fat deposits.
- Antioxidants: These help in lowering your excessive fat levels, as well as any inflammation that may happen during the development of your fatty liver. They also help fight oxidative stress (which leads to a fatty liver). Most seeds, nuts, vegetables, green and black teas are extremely rich in antioxidants. Vitamin C is also a great antioxidant that can be found in citrus fruits oranges and lemons.
- Tofu: If you’re a vegan, then incorporating tofu in your diet is an excellent option, as not only is it high in protein and low in fat, but it helps reduce fat buildup in your liver.
- Coffee: The caffeine present in coffee helps decrease the production of abnormal liver enzymes (which are responsible for fatty livers). In fact, several independent studies have shown that coffee drinks are less likely to have liver damage than those who don’t drink coffee.
- Veggies: Turn your nose up in the air as much as you want but veggies are something you should be incorporating in your diet whether or not you have a fatty liver. If you think eating veggies suck, just look at the thousands of Indian vegetarian recipes that are just waiting to be experimented by you!