The liver is responsible for detoxing the body, making glucose for energy, and breaking down carbohydrates. It also stores and creates the nutrients necessary for the digestion and absorption of food properly. If you have liver disease, your diet has likely been adjusted to protect your liver from further damage. Those at risk can also take steps to help prevent developing liver disease with a diet fit for hepatic health.
If you aren’t helping your liver, it can’t help you. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most common issues that affect the liver. It is caused by an unhealthy buildup of fat in the liver and can lead to liver inflammation (NASH), cirrhosis, and liver cancer. The main contributing factors are consuming excessive calories, an inactive lifestyle, and obesity. A healthy diet is an important step in liver health.
Liver health diets generally follow these guidelines:
- Avoid: Avoid fried foods and those high in fat, sugar, and salt. Raw or undercooked shellfish such as oysters and clams are also off-limits.
- Alcohol: You may need to avoid alcohol depending on how advanced your liver disease is. If your doctor okays it, limit it to no more than one drink a day if you’re a woman—two drinks a day for men.
- Healthy, Balanced Diet: Include from all food groups: Grains, fruits, vegetables, meat and beans, milk, and oil. Fiber helps your liver work at an optimal level, so be sure to include plenty of it.
- Hydration: Drinking plenty of water helps avoid dehydration, and your liver function better.
Specific Foods that Promote Liver Health
Here are some specific options to add to your grocery list that have positively impacted the liver.
- Helps Protect the Liver:
- Low-fat dairy products
- Sunflower seeds
- Helps Prevent/Reduce Fat Buildup in Liver:
- Green Tea
- Helps with Weight loss:
- Olive Oil
- Helps Improve Liver Function:
- Fatty Fish
In addition to eating a healthy diet, there are other actions you can take to reduce your risk of liver damage further. Exercising regularly, properly managing chronic conditions, and vaccinating against hepatitis A and B round out actions within your control you can take.
Currently, there are no medications approved by the FDA that are specific to fatty liver disease. However, potential new options are under evaluation in clinical research studies. South Texas Research Institute wants to help you prioritize your liver’s health. Our practice offers FREE fibroscans to adults and hopes to advance liver disease options through our enrolling research studies. Get started today by calling (956) 284-6353 or visiting our website for more information!