Fatty liver disease is a condition in which fat accumulates in the liver over a prolonged period of time.
Fatty liver disease can be classified into two categories: alcoholic and nonalcoholic. Heavy alcohol consumption results in the development of alcoholic fatty liver disease. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is not associated with excessive alcohol consumption.
Despite the fact that the cause of NAFLD is unknown, it is more common in people who have the following conditions:
Diabetic type 2 (T2D)
High cholesterol and blood pressure are two symptoms of hypercholesterolemia.
The treatment of NAFLD is currently not possible due to the lack of available medications. One of the most effective ways to treat this condition is through dietary and lifestyle modifications.
So, what types of diet and lifestyle changes can be helpful with this condition? Continue reading to find out more.
Natural cures for fatty liver disease are available.
If you have NAFLD, you should be aware that not all diets and supplements are beneficial to your liver’s health. When considering alternative treatments, it is critical to consult with your healthcare provider first.
Engage in physical activity.
According to recent research, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is frequently associated with a sedentary lifestyle. It is also known that being inactive can worsen other conditions associated with NAFLD, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes (including type 3 diabetes), and obesity.
When you have NAFLD, it is critical to maintain an active lifestyle. To achieve a healthy level of physical activity, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (Trusted Source) recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week.
That equates to approximately 30 minutes per day, five days per week. When it comes to getting enough exercise, you don’t necessarily have to participate in sports or even go to the gym. You can get some exercise by going for a brisk 30-minute walk five days a week.
Alternatively, if you’re pressed for time, you can break it down into two brisk 15-minute walks twice a day, five days a week, if necessary.
Begin by incorporating moderate physical activity into your daily routine as a way to get yourself moving. Walking to the grocery store, walking the dog, playing with your children, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible are all good ways to spend your time.
In addition, the guidelines recommend that you reduce the amount of time you spend sitting throughout the day.
How I overcame my fatty liver disease in three steps
I’m not sure which aspect of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease was the most distressing to me.
Finding out that I had it was a shock.
Learning that it led steadily from fatty liver to fibrosis to cirrhosis and then to liver failure, a potential liver transplant, or even liver cancer was a shocking discovery.
Another possibility is that it was the unexpected – and shocking – realisation that fatty liver disease is not curable through medical means.
Is it true that there are no medications for treating fatty liver disease?
There are no treatments? There are no procedures?
The fact that doctors were unable to assist was undoubtedly the final straw.
Instead, they recommend that you “eat more healthfully.” Whatever it is that you’re talking about.
In addition, “increase your physical activity.”
In addition, “drink less alcohol.”
Essentially, the advice they give to every patient with every disease is…
I was constantly concerned about how bad my fatty liver had gotten, and I was right. This is an example of how something minor could develop into something far more serious over time.
Because whatever it was that was causing my fatty liver was only going to exacerbate the situation if I didn’t do something about it immediately.
Given the lack of assistance from the medical community, the question becomes, what should be done about it?
And what is the answer?
It has arrived. Take a look at the brief video embedded below:
Get rid of excess weight
The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) 2017 guideline identifies weight loss as a critical component of slowing the progression of NAFLD and alleviating the symptoms of the disease.
People with NAFLD should lose between 3 and 5 percent of their body weight, according to the guidelines, in order to reduce fat accumulation in the liver.
It also claims that losing between 7 and 10% of one’s body weight can help to alleviate other symptoms of NAFLD, such as inflammation, fibrosis, and scarring, among others.
The most effective way to lose weight and keep it off is to make small, gradual progress toward your goal over time. Fasting and extreme diets are often unsustainable, and they can be detrimental to your health, particularly your liver.
It is critical to consult with your healthcare provider before beginning any weight loss programme to ensure that it is appropriate for you. A dietitian can help you develop an eating plan that will help you achieve your weight loss goals while also allowing you to make nutritious food choices.
Make an attempt at the Mediterranean diet.
According to a study published in 2017, the Mediterranean diet may be beneficial in reducing liver fat even if one does not lose weight.
The Mediterranean diet also has the added benefit of assisting in the treatment of conditions that are commonly associated with NAFLD, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.
This eating plan emphasises a variety of plant-based foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, and nuts, as well as healthy fats, in addition to whole grains. Here’s a quick rundown of the foods you should be concentrating on:
- Fruits and vegetables are good for you. Make an effort to consume a variety of foods: Berries, apples, oranges, bananas, dates, figs, melons, leafy greens, broccoli, peppers, sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, cucumbers, eggplant, and tomatoes are some of the best fruits and vegetables to eat.
- Legumes. Include legumes such as beans, peas, lentils, pulses, and chickpeas in your diet as much as possible.
- Fats that are good for you. Make use of nutritious oils such as extra virgin olive oil. Nuts, seeds, avocados, and olives are also high in healthy fats, as are a variety of nuts and seeds.
- Fish and lean meats are recommended. Opt for fish twice a week instead of meat. Having eggs and lean poultry, such as skinless chicken and turkey, in moderation is acceptable.
- Whole grains are a type of grain that contains no refined grains. Consume whole grains and cereals, such as whole-wheat bread, brown rice, whole oats, couscous, whole-wheat pasta, or quinoa, that have not been refined or processed.
Stay away from foods that contain added sugars.
Dietary sugars such as fructose and sucrose, as well as high fructose diets, have been associated with the development of NAFLD. According to a study published in 2017, these sugars contribute to the accumulation of fat in the liver.
Store-bought and commercially processed foods, such as the following, are major offenders:
- Cakes, cookies, doughnuts, pastries, and pies are examples of baked goods.
- ice cream with candy canes
- cereals high in sugar
- beverages that are not caffeinated
- hydration drinks for athletes
- energising beverages
- dairy products that have been sweetened, such as flavoured yoghurts
- Read the ingredients list on the product packaging to determine whether or not a packaged food contains added sugar. Sugars are any words that end in the letter “ose,” such as sucrose, fructose, and maltose.
Other sugars that are frequently used in food products include:
- cane sugar with a high fructose content molasses (corn syrup)
- Fruit juice concentrate with corn syrup as a sweetener
- The nutrition facts label of a food item can also be used to determine how much sugar is in a food item; look for the number of grammes of sugar in a serving for that item; the lower the number of grammes of sugar, the healthier the food item.
Sip on a cup of coffee
According to a study published in 2016 by Trusted Source, coffee has a number of beneficial effects on the liver. It specifically stimulates the production of liver enzymes, which are thought to be anti-inflammatory in nature.
According to the same study, people with NAFLD who drink coffee on a regular basis have less overall liver damage than those who don’t.
Drinking two to three cups of coffee per day can help to reduce the risk of developing liver disease. Because it contains no added fat or sugar, black coffee is the best choice because it is low in calories.
High cholesterol should be targeted.
According to a study conducted by 2012Trusted Source
NAFLD makes it more difficult for your body to regulate its own cholesterol levels. The condition of NAFLD can deteriorate, increasing your risk of heart disease.
In order to help control your cholesterol and treat NAFLD, you should try to limit the amount of certain types of fats you consume. The following fats should be avoided:
Saturated fats are fats that are high in saturated fat. These can be found in animal products such as meat and full-fat dairy products.
Trans fatty acids Trans fats are commonly found in baked goods, crackers, and fried foods that have been processed.
Many of the lifestyle changes listed above — such as losing weight, staying active, and adopting a Mediterranean diet — can also help you manage your cholesterol levels, as can certain medications. In addition, your doctor may prescribe medication to treat high cholesterol.
Consider taking an omega-3 supplement.
Some types of fats can be beneficial to your health in certain circumstances. Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that can be found in a variety of foods, including oily fish, nuts, and seeds. They are well-known for their heart-health benefits, and they are highly recommended for people with NAFLD.
According to a review of studies published in 2016, taking an omega-3 supplement can help to reduce liver fat while also improving cholesterol levels.
The daily omega-3 doses used in the study ranged from 830 to 9,000 milligrammes per day. Consult your doctor for advice on how much you should take.
Inquire with your doctor about vitamin E supplementation.
Nutritional supplementation with vitamin E, an antioxidant, may help to reduce the inflammation caused by NAFLD. As reported by Trusted Source in 2018, more research is needed to determine who can benefit from this treatment and in what ways.
AASLD recommends a daily dose of 800 international units of vitamin E per day for people who have NAFLD but do not have diabetes and have been diagnosed with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), an advanced form of NAFLD, according to their 2017 guide.
It is possible that this treatment will cause side effects. Consult your doctor to determine whether vitamin E is appropriate for you and whether it may be beneficial for your NAFLD.
Avoid taking medications that are known to be liver irritants.
Certain substances can place an excessive amount of strain on your liver. The following substances are included in this category: alcohol, over-the-counter medications, and certain vitamins and supplements.
According to research from 2013Trusted Source, if you have NAFLD, it is best to avoid alcohol completely. While moderate alcohol consumption may have some benefits in healthy people, it is unclear whether those benefits are also applicable to people with NAFLD, according to the American Heart Association.
Additionally, consult with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any over-the-counter medications, vitamins, or supplements, as these may have an adverse effect on your liver function.
Experiment with herbs and supplements.
A review of studies published in 2018
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has identified herbal supplements and spices that have been used as complementary treatments for NAFLD. Turmeric, milk thistle, resveratrol, and green tea are among the compounds that have been shown to have beneficial effects on liver health.
Keep in mind that these aren’t FDA-approved medical treatments for NAFLD, and they may cause side effects in some individuals. It is critical to consult with your doctor before beginning any herbal or nutritional treatment for NAFLD.
Treatments in the medical field
There are no FDA-approved medical treatments for NAFLD at this time, though some are in the process of being developed.
Pioglitazone, a medication that is typically prescribed for type 2 diabetes, is one example of such a treatment. According to the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases’ 2017 guide, pioglitazone may help improve liver health in people with and without type 2 diabetes.
In order to fully understand the long-term safety and effectiveness of this treatment, more research must be conducted. As a result, this medication is only recommended for individuals who have been diagnosed with NASH.
The bottom line is as follows:
At this time, the most effective treatment options for NAFLD are dietary and lifestyle modifications. Losing weight, being physically active, reducing sugar intake, eating a healthier diet, and drinking coffee are some of the strategies that may be used to alleviate the symptoms of NALFD.
Working closely with your doctor to develop a personalised treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs is essential if you have this condition.
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