A fatty liver diet plan can be the difference in a liver patient’s ability to successfully ward off and reverse non alcoholic fatty liver disease. A diet plan for fatty liver should focus on more than just treating fatty liver symptoms. By taking a holistic approach, the right foods can not only improve liver health, but also the overall health of your entire body.
Research suggests the liver performs anywhere from 200-500 (maybe more) functions in the human body. It is a large organ situated just below the ribs to the right side. It rests in the space below the lungs and above the kidneys. It’s critical to survival and without it, a human cannot survive.
Just a few critical liver functions include:
- The production of bile which is used in the digestion and absorption of fats.
- Nutrient processing and the formation of chemicals such as albumin, blood clotting chemicals, bile, and urea.
- Removing toxins and dead cells from the bloodstream.
- Building proteins which are used to build tissues throughout the body.
- The breakdown and removal of cholesterol.
- Blood-sugar regulation throughout the body.
Perhaps more than any other organ in the body, the liver is constantly under attack from chemicals, toxins, and other foreign bodies because everything you consume, good or bad, filters through the liver before being transported to other areas of the body in the bloodstream. Maintaining a healthy liver is key to maintaining the health of the rest of your body.
The human body is amazing at healing itself, but the liver is not invincible…
Fatty liver disease (FLD) is a general term describing a wide variety of liver ailments ranging from simple fatty liver to liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. It all begins when triglyceride fat builds up in the liver and comprises more than 5-10% of the liver by weight. This is referred to as simple steatosis or fatty liver.
The process occurs when fat accumulates in and around the liver cells (hepatocytes). This results in an enlarged liver that often becomes heavier over time. When it becomes too large and heavy, some fatty liver disease patients will experience abdominal pain and/or a feeling of being “stuffed” in their lower torso area on the right side of the body.
Simple fatty liver is largely an asymptomatic condition and does little to affect the health of an individual. However, this also means it is often not diagnosed until it advances to a more serious condition such as non alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), cirrhosis of the liver (liver scarring), or worse.
At this point, fatty liver symptoms may include things like weakness and general fatigue, nausea, anorexia, confusion, abdominal pain, and jaundice. Other fatty liver disease symptoms may include lower back and torso pain, lack of appetite, fluid retention, intestinal bleeding, and muscle wasting.
When liver damage occurs, a person will often have elevated liver enzymes in their bloodstream such as alanine transaminase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) that leak out from damaged hepatocytes. Finding elevated amounts of these enzymes in the bloodstream is often the first sign something has gone wrong in the liver. However, elevated ALT and AST doesn’t always correspond to liver damage because greater amounts can also be caused by things like muscle damage.
Symptoms of fatty liver are closely tied to and made worse by obesity, diabetes, and insulin resistance. In “The Fatty Liver Bible And Ezra Protocol” Debra Elkin states, “95% of NASH patients are obese and 55% have a condition called diabetes mellitus type 2.”
Given the strong link between obesity and fatty liver disease, it is important for FLD patients to control their weight through successful programs like “The Fat Loss Factor” and “Paleo Burn”. Both have given fatty liver patients the ability to reduce weight without starving the body of nutrition or going through extreme workout regimes that aren’t realistic for the average person.
Fatty liver disease is not curable, but can be slowed and reversed if caught early enough, and patients can live a long, healthy life. Unfortunately, it also has the potential to become fatal if it progresses to liver cirrhosis or liver cancer. Under these circumstances, a liver transplant may be the only treatment option available to fatty liver disease patients.
The good news is a fatty liver diet plan combined with proper exercise can often be an effective fatty liver treatment for lowering elevated liver enzymes and healing a fatty liver. Along with a fatty liver diet, other fatty liver disease treatments such as vitamin C and E, Epsom salts, milk thistle, and a variety of different drugs have also gained popularity in some medical circles. For most liver patients, dietary and lifestyle changes are still the most promising out of all fatty liver remedies.
A diet for fatty liver should always follow a few key principles like those outlined in Debra Elkin’s, “The Fatty Liver Bible And Ezra Protocol” and Dorothy Spencer’s, “Fatty Liver Diet Guide”. These guides are important resources for fatty liver patients who want to control and prevent a simple fatty liver from progressing to a more serious, life-threatening condition.
A few tips to keep in mind when developing a fatty liver disease diet plan are:
- Focus on foods high in complex carbohydrates such as brown rice and whole grains, but try to avoid wheat because it contains phytic acid which can keep some minerals from being absorbed and because it contains gluten which can damage the small intestine.
- 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. These can be taken as raw vegetable juices which can be extremely healthy for the liver. Not all fruits and vegetables are created equal and things like oranges and grapefruits are better for fatty liver patients than fruits containing high levels of fructose such as dates, raisins, and figs.
- Keep away from deep fried, fatty, and processed foods. Processed meats such as sausage and hot dogs are some of the worst if you suffer from fatty liver disease.
- Dairy products should be consumed sparingly. Try organic yogurts and ricotta and/or cottage cheese. Soy and rice milks are better than whole or 2% milks.
- Avoid saturated fats like those found in margarine and fatty condiments like salad dressing.
- Sugary fruit juices, energy drinks, coffee, and alcohol should all be avoided or used sparingly. If you suffer from alcoholic fatty liver disease, then all alcohol should 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.
- Consume eggs sparingly as they often contain hormones that can negatively impact the liver.
- Consume plenty of fiber as part of a fatty liver disease diet to maintain a healthy digestive and endocrine system.
- Drink plenty of water. 2 liters per day or more is recommended.
An excellent breakdown of foods for fatty liver can be found in the “Fatty Liver Bible And Ezra Protocol”, and the “Fatty Liver Diet Guide” contains actual fatty liver diet plans and fatty liver diet recipes to help you lose weight gradually and reverse a fatty liver. These resources continue to be a blessing for people suffering from both alcoholic and non alcoholic fatty liver disease and liver cirrhosis.