We often munch on unhealthy food not realising that that food overtaxes our liver and potentially result in a condition called ‘Fatty Liver.’ Here are some dietary measures that would help prevent and treat our damaged liver, thus, making it work at its optimum level.
Cut down on food toxins
Reduce the intake of food toxins, including refined carbohydrates like maida and its products , sugar, salt, hydrogenated fats (palm oil, butter etc.), junk and fried foods (French fries, samosas, wadas, etc.), containing unhealthy trans-fats which can damage the liver cells, causing fatty infiltration.
Processed foods primarily comprise of added preservatives, artificial colours, and food additives; these foods lack nutrition, and rather, contain harmful chemicals that further stress the liver.
Restrict the intake of red meat, which is high in saturated fat and cholesterol and is linked to the development of fatty liver. Eliminate alcohol consumption, as it is a key contributory factor leading to the fatty liver and can cause further damage, which could be difficult to reverse.
Reduce overall carbohydrate intake
Overconsumption of food loaded with sugar speeds up the process of liver converting it into fat. Limit the intake of sugary cereals, sweets, soda drinks and instead choose whole fruits. Complex carbohydrates present in whole grains, pulses, and vegetables contain dietary fibre and are safer.
Though sugar and refined flour are culprits in the development of fatty liver, reduce overall carbohydrate intake from chapattis, rice, and other grains. Fat accumulation in the abdominal area is one of the symptoms of the fatty liver disease.
Go for greens to prevent fat build-up
Eat plenty of green leafy vegetables, which contain chlorophyll pigment, which helps eliminate toxins from the liver. Moreover, they contain folic acid, essential minerals and vitamins, and disease-fighting antioxidants which are important for recovery of affected liver.
Go for mustard greens, kale, broccoli, spinach, arbi leaves, methi, beetroot leaves, radish leaves, parsley and other greens, which will help production of enzymes, which prevent accumulation of fat.
Opt For foods rich in vitamin B, protein, dietary fibre and omega-3 fats
Fatty liver results in deficiencies of vitamin B, and making it important to supplement our diet with vitamin B6, Foliate (B9) and B12.
Try getting enough vitamin B6 from fish, banana and sunflower seeds. Foliate can be obtained from fish and green leafy vegetables, including curry leaves and mint leaves, asparagus, beetroot, mango, pulses and legumes, sesame seeds and mustard seeds.
Chicken, egg whites, fish, and milk products are good sources of vitamin B12 and protein.
Omega-3 fats fight inflammation and can help in faster healing if consumed in moderation. These are found in salmon, mackerel, tuna, flaxseeds (alsi), chia seeds (sabja), soybean and walnuts.
Include a variety of whole Pulses and Dals to get maximum dietary fibre and additional proteins. Consume lesser quantities of polished de-husked dals.
You can consume a handful of nuts and seeds, but remember, never go overboard on these. A healthy liver helps to remove toxins, but in fatty liver condition, the liver is damaged to some extent. Protein metabolism leaves behind toxins which the damaged liver cannot remove efficiently. Therefore, it is recommended to include non-veg protein in moderation.
Pick plenty of fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables have valuable nutrients, including plenty of Dietary Fibre, and a diet rich in these reduces symptoms of Fatty Liver Disease. For effective results, incorporate a fresh variety of colourful fruits and vegetables.
To reap the benefits of vitamin C, choose capsicum (green, yellow, red), guava, amla, strawberries, Kiwi, Lemon, mosambi, orange, papaya, green mango, drumstick, bitter gourd and broccoli.
Obtain beta carotene from mango, papaya, muskmelon, watermelon, carrot, and tomatoes. Eat beetroots, which are rich in flavonoid Betalain. These antioxidants help flush out toxins and reduce the liver fat.
Once the liver is cleansed of toxins, our bodies are more capable of maintaining healthy blood cholesterol levels. If one has high blood sugar levels, then it is best to limit fruits to 200gms per day.
Consume sulphur containing foods like garlic, onion, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, radish, turnip which assist in making glutathione, a powerful antioxidant and liver detoxifier.
Adopt healthier cooking methods
Adopt healthier cooking methods like steaming, pressure cooking, stir-frying and grilling, which uses little or no fat and it eliminates the danger of developing toxins in food.
They help heal the damaged liver faster. Remove the skin from meat and avoid organ meats, to reduce intake of fat from non-veg sources. Use minimum oil for cooking and make use of a variety of vegetables in your food preparations.
Switch over to healthy unsaturated fats like sesame oil, olive oil, among others and remember to reduce overall fat intake for better results.