A diet for non alcoholic fatty liver attempts to reduce fat in the liver through balance, regulation, and proper nutrition. Non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is generally more difficult to treat than alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFL) because it can be caused and/or influenced by many different factors including, but not limited to, obesity, high fat foods, diabetes, hypertension, insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, and other metabolic disorders.
Because of the many different factors at play, identifying a single specific diet plan for NAFLD patients is nearly impossible. The right diet for someone with diabetes may be different from the right diet for someone without diabetes. However, conclusions can be drawn from commonalities among all patients and used to formulate diet guidelines for reducing fat in your liver.
Proper diet and nutrition are extremely important for liver health because everything you eat gets filtered through the liver before being distributed to other areas of your body. Therefore, your liver is constantly under attack from impurities in the bloodstream.
Non alcoholic fatty liver is often considered a silent disease. This is because it is often asymptomatic until it worsens into a more dangerous condition such as non alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), cirrhosis, or liver cancer. Therefore, prevention through eating liver healthy foods and exercising regularly is often the best way to combat the disease.
Generally speaking, a diet for reducing a fatty liver should be vitamin and mineral rich and should contain high amounts of fruits, vegetables, high fiber foods, and foods containing complex carbohydrates that can provide a slow, but steady form of energy for the body. Fat intake needs to be closely monitored and should be reduced to no more than 30% of the daily caloric intake.
Protein should generally come from lean white meats (think chicken and tuna) or from vegetable sources such as beans and lentils. Alcohol consumption should cease or be greatly reduced as should the consumption of soft drinks and high sugar fruit juices and energy drinks.
Below is a short list of 10 foods that are liver friendly for NAFLD patients.
- Vegetables (broccoli, leaves, greens, legumes, cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes)
- Fruits (oranges, papaya, mango, kiwi, apples, cherries)
- Whole grain breads
- Brown rice
- Lean white meats (chicken, turkey)
- Salad (so long as salad dressing is low-fat, non-fat, or used sparingly)
- Sea food (tuna, shrimp, and other fish except sardines)
- Starch rich foods (potatoes)
- High fiber foods (bran)