What is Fatty Liver and What you can do About it!

Fatty liver, or “hepatic steatosis,” are terms used to describe the buildup of fat in the liver. While some fat is normal, more than 5-10% is considered a health problem.

There are TWO kinds of fatty liver – alcoholic and non-alcoholic.

As you can infer, the first type is the result of long-term consumption of alcoholic beverages that result in the liver becoming unable to break down fats. The other kind, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is unrelated to alcohol consumption, but the effect on the liver’s ability to break down fat is the same.

Did you know that the liver is the second largest organ in the body?

Its function processes everything we eat or and drink. It will also filter toxins from the blood. When there is too much fat in the liver, this process is interrupted and other health problems can ensue.

A healthy liver is able to repair itself by rebuilding new and healthy cells to replace the damaged ones.

When repeat damage occurs, scar tissue develops – this is called cirrhosis.

The good news?

Fatty liver is a reversible condition that can very often be helped with some lifestyle modifications. When we were at our heaviest, my husband and I were both diagnosed with fatty liver.  The doctor wanted to put us on various medications to combat it. We said, “absolutely not!” and the doctor agreed to give us six months to turn things around. Fortunately, our anti-inflammatory diet worked well, and we were able to reverse this condition.

What are the causes of fatty liver?

Alcohol consumption is the biggest contributor to fatty liver (disease), but in the case of NAFLD, conditions such as obesity and diabetes, factors such as genetics and rapid weight loss, and even some medications (aspirin, steroids, tamoxifen, and tetracycline) have been linked to fatty liver.

What are the symptoms?

Unfortunately, fatty liver can be fairly asymptomatic, but people may experience some fatigue and/or abdominal discomfort. If left to progress to where the liver becomes enlarged, symptoms such as a poor appetite, weight loss, increased abdominal pain, fatigue, and confusion may result.

Treatment for Fatty Liver

While there is no known medication or surgery to treat fatty liver, modifications to your lifestyle can dramatically reverse the damage. Some of these recommendations include:

  • limiting or avoiding alcoholic beverages
  • managing your cholesterol and reducing your intake of sugar and saturated fatty acids
  • losing weight
  • controlling your blood sugar
  • adding moderate exercise to your daily routine (walking, swimming, gardening, yoga, and pilates are all recommended)

Specifically, there are certain foods and drinks that are known to help:

  1. Coffee – helps to lower liver enzymes
  2. Greens – such as kale, broccoli, and spinach help prevent the build up of fat
  3. Tofu – soy protein is also known to reduce the build up of fat
  4. Non-acidic fruit – such as melon, mango, berries, and pear
  5. Oatmeal – high in fiber, it keeps you full longer and reduces cholesterol
  6. Walnuts – high in omega 3’s, walnuts are known to improve liver function
  7. Avocadoes – high in healthy fat and fiber and contain chemicals that protect the liver
  8. Foods rich in vitamin E – sunflower and flax seeds, nuts, pumpkin, peppers, and chard, turnip greens
  9. Olive oil – high in omega 3’s and works to lower liver enzymes
  10. Garlic – in food, and also as a supplement (powdered capsules), garlic can reduce weight and fat in the liver
  11. Green Tea – can aid in fat absorption and in lowering cholesterol
  12. Foods rich in vitamin D – orange juice, tomatoes, fish, fortified soy products, mushrooms, dairy products

Tonics and herbal supplements can also be helpful;

  1. Triphala – works to balance the liver and digestive systems
  2. Aloe vera juice – cooling and healing properties
  3. Kutki – a bitter tonic that can serve as short-term cleanse
  4. Hellebore root, chicory seed, and ginger may also help

* as with any herbal supplements, please consult a practitioner before using them

Things you should Avoid if you have a Fatty Liver

According to Ayurveda, the liver is considered a fire – or pitta – since it is an organ that is essential to digestion and elimination. In a balanced pitta dosha, the liver is able to effectively flush toxins and prevent the build up of fat. Therefore, a healthy liver needs cooling food and beverages to prevent it from working too hard and burning too hot. To achieve this balance, all alcoholic drinks should be avoided. Spicy or fried foods, as well as fatty meats should also be eliminated from the diet. It is also advised to stay away from sugary foods, foods high in sodium, and items low in fiber. At Ki’s Kitchen, we thrive on making meals that follow the principles outlined here, but that don’t compromise on flavour!

Thank you so much for visiting! I hope you have found some valuable information, if so, I’d love to hear about it!

Please feel free to share this post with anyone who might benefit, and comments are always welcome!

I look forward to connecting with you next time!

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fatty liver support

From our kitchen to yours,

Love + Peace


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