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Fatty Liver: What is it and how to overcome it?

What is Fatty liver?

Fatty liver is a condition where there is fat accumulation in the liver either due to consumption of alcohol (alcoholic fatty liver disease-NAFLD) or due to excess fat build-up in the liver, called the Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD is known to have affected about 20% to 40% of the US population. This is commonly diagnosed in people who are obese or who lead a sedentary lifestyle along with high intake of processed food.

 

Detection of Fatty Liver:

Diagnosis of fatty liver happens by accidental diagnosis since people with fatty liver do not complain of any pain. When routine blood tests show abnormal blood counts and changes in liver enzyme, one undergoes an ultrasound or a scan to confirm this.

Complications of Fatty Liver disease:

The main function of the liver is to remove toxins from the body and production of bile protein for digestion. Liver to a certain extent is known to store fat. But excess of fat causes obesity, heart problems, Diabetes and other non- communicable diseases.

Treatment:

Treatment of fatty liver is aimed at weight loss (by exercises) and diet. This is to reduce the risk of complications.

Diet to be followed for a healthy liver:

  1. Reduction of fat intake
  2. Consumption of high protein rich food
  3. Vegetables and fruits, as they are rich in anti-oxidants and fiber
  4. Consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and anti-oxidants such as:
    • Fish eg: -Salmon and Sardines
    • Walnuts
    • Flax seeds
    • Olive oil
    • Whole grains
    • Green tea
    • Soy protein
  1. Coffee Animal study shows that decaffeinated coffee helps in reducing liver inflammation and damage
  2. Broccoli Study in animals shows that Broccoli consumption for a long period also helped in reduction of fat
  3. Whey protein daily consumption of 60 grams of whey protein for 4 weeks reduced liver fat among obese women by 20%

List of fatty food to avoid:

  • Red meat
  • Beef
  • Processed cheese
  • Deep fried food
  • Bakery items
  • High sugar containing foods such as candies, doughnuts, Soda,etc.

A blend of the above desirable diets, exercises, and weight loss will not only reduce the fat in the liver, but also prevent complications of NAFLD. People who are obese and have to reduce a lot of weight can opt for surgery.

References:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/fatty-liver-diet#foodsto-eat
  2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/fatty-liver-disease-what-it-is-and-what-to-do-about-it-2019011015746
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nonalcoholic-fatty-liver-disease/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354573
  4. https://www.webmd.com/hepatitis/fatty-liver-disease-diet#1
  5. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320082#foods-to-eat-for-a-fatty-liver

     

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