Fatty liver diet plan aims to improve the quality of food to reduce fat levels in the body and relieve certain symptoms, such as loss of appetite, pain on the right side of the abdomen and headache, for example, in addition to avoiding complications, such as those that can arise in the case of cirrhosis.
Fatty liver, also known as hepatic steatosis, is usually caused by poor eating habits, sedentary lifestyle or obesity. This situation can also arise as a result of metabolic syndrome, which is when you have one or more associated diseases, such as diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
In this way, in the diet for fatty liver it is important to increase the consumption of fresh and natural fruits, fresh vegetables and whole grains rich in fiber. On the other hand, the intake of sweets, such as soft drinks, sugar and juices, should be reduced; carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta and white rice, and fatty foods, such as margarine and fried foods in general.
Allowed foods in fatty liver
Foods that should be prioritized in fatty liver diet plan include:
- Fresh and natural fruits, such as apple, pear, pineapple, peach, papaya, strawberries, tangerine, orange, lemon, plum and soursop.
- Fresh vegetables, such as zucchini, arugula, spinach, eggplant, lettuce, tomato, onion, carrot, and watercress.
- Whole grains, such as brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, and oatmeal flakes.
- Low-fat protein, such as eggs, tofu, chicken, and white meat fish.
- Low-fat milk and dairy products, such as low-fat milk and yogurt, and white cheeses such as ricotta and cottage cheese.
Likewise, foods rich in healthy fats, such as olive oil, avocado, coconut, peanuts, walnuts, and fish rich in omega-3, such as salmon and sardines, can be consumed, but in small amounts.
Foods that should not be eaten in fatty liver
Foods that should not be eaten in fatty liver diet plan include:
- High- fat foods, such as yellow cheeses, cream cheese, bacon, lamb, fatty beef, chicken skin, pork, chocolate, butter, and margarine.
- Refined grains, such as white rice, pasta, white bread, and oatmeal.
- Foods rich in sugar, such as cookies, ice cream, sweets in syrup, jams and industrialized fruit juices, such as packaged or powdered.
- Industrialized foods, such as ready sauces, instant pasta, fast food, sliced bread and frozen meals.
- Sausages, such as Serrano ham, turkey breast, sausage, mortadella, salami, longaniza, loin and capicola.
It is also essential to stop consuming alcoholic beverages, such as beer and wine, as alcohol can overload the liver, making treatment difficult.
Example of fatty liver diet plan
An example 3-day fatty liver diet plan is shown in the table below:
|Main meals||Day 1||Day 2||Day 3|
|Breakfast||2 slices of wholemeal bread + 2 slices of white cheese + 1 orange||1 cup nonfat yogurt with whole grain + 1 pear||coffee with skim milk + 2 scrambled eggs with 3 whole-grain toast + 1 apple|
|Morning snack||1 medium peach||2 whole-grain toast with 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese||1 banana sprinkled with cinnamon|
|Lunch dinner||90 g of grilled skinless chicken breast with brown rice + lettuce, carrot and corn salad seasoned with a few drops of lemon and 1 tsp olive oil||1 baked hake fillet with natural pumpkin puree + 1 cup of beet salad with cooked carrot seasoned with a few drops of lemon, oregano and 1 tsp linseed oil||90 g of turkey breast cut into strips + 1 integral wrap with tomato, lettuce and onion salad, dressed with lemon and a teaspoon of olive oil|
|Afternoon snack||1 cup of gelatin without sugar||1 apple with 1 tbsp peanut butter||1 low-fat yogurt with chopped fruit and 1 tbsp rolled oats|
This menu is just an example of a diet, which can vary in case the person has another health problem. For a better follow-up, it is important to go to a consultation with a nutritionist for a complete evaluation and the creation of a menu according to the individual needs of each person.
Other recommendations for fatty liver
During the diet to treat fatty liver, it is also important to drink plenty of water throughout the day, recommending drinking at least 2 liters per day. A good option to increase water consumption is by drinking some types of tea, such as green, boldo or artichoke tea, since, in addition to being hydrating, they also have properties that favor liver function.
Likewise, it is important to sleep 7 to 9 hours a day and practice physical activity on a regular basis. These are some healthy habits that help in energy metabolism and in the regulation of hormones, contributing directly to the reduction of fat in the liver.
Fatty liver is an extremely common condition and one of the most relevant aspects in its management is diet. The diet of a person who has Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is essential to prevent the progression of the disease with the consequent deterioration of their liver.
According to the Mayo Clinic, NASH is the most common form of chronic liver disease, affecting about a quarter of the population. This condition is characterized by severe inflammation of the liver and can lead to advanced scarring, better known as liver cirrhosis.
Before specifying which foods you should avoid and which ones you can safely consume, I would like to explain a few points so that you better understand why you should skip certain types of food if you have fatty liver.
Sugar and fat are your enemies
Symptoms of NASH and liver cirrhosis
- Abdominal swelling.
- Enlarged blood vessels under the surface of the skin.
- Enlarged spleen.
- Red palms of the hands.
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice).
Fructose, which is the type of sugar found in fruit, honey, and some vegetables, as well as glucose, the sugar in the blood, stimulate the fat-producing genes in the liver. A diet rich in sugar contributes to fat being deposited in the liver and causing inflammation.
Another element that you should pay attention to is the amount and especially the type of fat you eat. A diet rich in saturated fat, the one found in red meat and fried foods, favors the development of fatty liver.
In fact, people with hepatic steatosis generally have a high intake of fatty acids. It has been shown that the consumption of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, such as olive oil, avocado and salmon, decreases the amount of fat in the liver and increases the life of the organ.
When you have fatty liver, losing weight is of great benefit. It has been shown that a 10% decrease in your body weight can reduce your hepatic steatosis by up to one degree.
6 elements that you must take into account if you are diagnosed with fatty liver
1- Avoid eating food between meals
Although one of the recommendations to lose weight is to speed up the metabolism by consuming healthy snacks between main meals, doing so when you have fatty liver contributes to the problem. Try to eat three times a day. If you get very hungry between meals, drink a glass of water or chamomile tea.
2- The ideal diet is the mediterranean
Most scientific studies reveal that if you have fatty liver, the ideal diet for you is the Mediterranean, rich in monounsaturated fats as well as omega-3 fatty acids and low in carbohydrates. Include in your meals olive oil, nuts, fruits, vegetables, legumes and fish. Avoid red meat and breads, pastas, cakes, sweets, and chocolates. If you do consume wine, do so in great moderation. Avoid other types of alcoholic beverages.
3- Put aside sugary drinks
Soft drinks, juices and cocktails should be off your menu. Remember that foods and drinks rich in fructose and sucrose favor the synthesis of triglycerides in your liver.
4- Enjoy the coffee
According to studies, coffee consumption reduces the accumulation of fat in the liver and exerts a protective effect against liver cancer by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress in cells.
5- Include foods rich in vitamin C
Several investigations reveal that the consumption of vitamin C in fruits, vegetables and legumes is associated with a lower incidence of fatty liver. Eat papaya, kiwi, berries, and pineapple, along with bell peppers, broccoli, kale, and cauliflower.
6- Maintain adequate levels of vitamin D
There is increasing evidence that deficiency of this micronutrient is associated with the development of fatty liver. Vitamin D is found in fish such as salmon and tuna, cheese and egg yolks, mainly.
Ideas for a fatty liver diet plan
- Red fruit platter with plain low-fat yogurt and mixed nuts.
- Tortilla with two egg whites and one yolk with spinach.
- A cup of coffee with skim milk added with vitamin D.
- Black bean cream.
- Grilled salmon with broccoli garnish.
- Green salad with olive oil-based vinaigrette.
- A cup of chopped natural pineapple.
- Baked fat-free cottage cheese and avocado toast with a drizzle of habanero chili sauce.
It is important that you diversify your food and exercise at least four times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes per session.
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