Fatty liver or Hepatic Steatosis refers to the excess deposition of fat in the liver. It is normal to have some fat in the liver, but, in the case of fatty liver, 10%-20% of liver weight contains fat. With healthily modified diet and lifestyle patterns, the initial stages of fatty liver are reversible.
The normal function of the liver is to process everything that we eat or drink, but this process gets interrupted when there is too much build-up of fat in the liver. Every tissue and organ of the body repairs and regenerates itself, the same is the case with the hepatic or liver cells. However, when scarring or damage to the liver tissue happens repeatedly, it called Cirrhosis.
Types of Fatty Liver:
- Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver: Excess build-up of fat in the liver but not due to alcohol.
- Alcoholic fatty liver: As the name suggests, alcohol consumption damages the liver, and, as a result, the liver is not able to break down the fat, which causes fat deposition in the liver. If alcohol consumption continues, it can lead to cirrhosis.
- Pregnancy-Induced fatty liver: Developing an acute fatty liver can be a rare complication in pregnancy.
We treat patients from the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, UAE & 180 more countries. Get an expert opinion on your ailment, click here to ask Dr. Shah’s team directly.
Causes of Fatty Liver:
- High blood pressure, Diabetes Mellitus
- High cholesterol levels in the blood
- Insulin hormone resistance
- Side-effects of medications consumed over a long time
- Starvation, hyperthyroidism
- A strong genetic link, pregnancy
- Alcohol consumption
Signs and Symptoms of Fatty Liver:
Symptoms of Non-Alcoholic Liver Disease:
- It is usually asymptomatic.
- Pain in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen
- Enlarged liver and spleen
- Red palms may be prone to getting jaundice
Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease:
It is characterized by the inflammation and deposition of fat in the liver cells. If not managed on time, it can lead to scarring of the liver tissue.
If one abstains from alcohol, which is its main cause, it can help in resolving fatty liver.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease:
- Abdominal pain, bloating, and gas formation
- Nausea and vomiting
- A loss of appetite, making one feel lethargic
- Constipation, dark-colored urine
- Fever and jaundice
- Difficulty in concentration, easy bruising
Diagnosis of Fatty Liver:
Here are some tests which may help diagnose a fatty liver.
- Physical examination
- Ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI
- Liver Biopsy
7 General Tips to Manage Fatty Liver:
- A healthy diet and an active lifestyle are essential to deal with fatty liver. Active lifestyle, where you practice cycling, aerobic exercises, brisk walking, swimming, yoga, and meditation, is beneficial.
- Keep your cholesterol and triglyceride levels in check.
- Maintain your blood pressure and blood sugar levels, as both hypertension and diabetes can occur together with Fatty liver. Diet and exercising go a long way in managing these conditions.
- Include more fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. Have a lot of homemade vegetable juices.
- Reduce the intake of alcohol and salt. Quit smoking.
- Include healthy fats rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids in your diet.
- Go for regular blood check-ups.
Foods to Eat
- Garlic: It has high amounts of allicin and selenium which helps activate liver enzymes and flush out the toxins.
- Beets and Carrots: Due to high beta-carotene content, these veggies support the liver function.
- Green Leafy Vegetables: Eating fresh green vegetables helps flush out unhealthy toxins from the blood. Eating leafy greens helps protect the liver.
- Apples: Apples are high in pectin. Apples contain the chemical constituents that are necessary to get rid of the toxins from the digestive system and cleanse the body. This makes it easy for the liver to handle the toxic load during the cleansing process.
- Avocados: This nutrient-rich food helps remove harmful toxins.
- Gluten-Free Foods: If you have gluten sensitivity, it’s time to make a change and have alternative grains, such as quinoa, millets, and buckwheat.
- Have plenty of Vitamin C: Lemons and citrus fruits help to stimulate the liver.
- Walnuts: Walnuts are high in arginine, glutathione, and omega-3 fatty acids which are crucial for healthy liver functions.
- Cabbage, broccoli, spinach, and cauliflower stimulate liver detoxifying enzymes.
- Turmeric: Turmeric is the liver’s favorite spice. It helps in liver cleansing and flushes out dietary toxins from the bloodstream.
- Yogurt: Yogurt is a healthy probiotic for gut flora, and it helps strengthen the immune system.
- Coffee has rich anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, and it helps reduce cholesterol and hypertension.
- Making use of more plant-based oils, such as mustard oil, olive oil, canola oil, and sunflower oil are healthy choices to improve liver function.
- Fish oils rich in Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce the inflammation and excess fat deposition in the liver.
- Apart from these, you can also include, flaxseed, sunflower seeds, barley, figs, brown rice, cereals, legumes, pulses,
Banana, papayas, bitter gourd, and bottle gourd in your diet.
Foods to Avoid:
- Alcohol: One needs to strictly avoid consuming alcoholic drinks, as consuming alcohol is one of the major causes of fatty liver.
- Sugary Foods: Staying away from sugary foods helps reduce the excess build-up of fats in the liver.
- Fried Foods: Fried foods are not good for the liver and they are also unhealthy for the heart.
- Red Meat and Refined Foods: Avoid red meat and refined foods, such as white bread, rice, and pasta, as these put more stress on the liver.
- Canned, Salty, and Preserved Foods: Avoid too much salt, preserved and canned foods, candies, cakes, beverages, dairy fats, junk food, and oily and salted pickles.
So, you can treat fatty liver and prevent its complications with healthy nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. Don’t lose hope, fight off fatty liver naturally, and enjoy a healthy and happy life.