Fatty Liver Diet: What Foods To Eat & What To Avoid

  • 3 mins read
  • Nutrition
  • Diet and Healthy Food
  • Jillian Lai Mei Siew
Diet plan for fatty liver disease

Have you been feeling unusually weak or tired of late? Or experiencing abdominal pain? Is your leg and abdomen looking more swollen than usual? Have you lost your appetite and been feeling nauseous from time to time? If your answer to the above is in the YES; you might be suffering from what is known as fatty liver disease. However, not many of us know what fatty liver disease is about. Here are some things that you should know about fatty liver disease, including a diet plan that you can follow to keep your liver in top shape.

Why is our liver so important?

You probably know that the liver is an essential life-supporting organ for our body. It produces bile, makes proteins, stores iron, absorbs nutrients to create energy, helps to resist infection, resists toxins, metabolizes medicines and does many more mind-boggling things.

What happens in fatty liver disease?

Fatty liver disease or steatosis is a serious medical condition when your liver builds up too much fat (5-10%). Fatty liver disease is of two types – alcohol-related fatty liver disease (ARLD) and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). In both cases, your liver will be swollen followed by extensive scar tissue formation. In severe cases, it may lead to cirrhosis leading to kidney failure, a condition called a hepatorenal syndrome.

What causes fatty liver disease?

You can get the fatty liver disease without having any pre-existing conditions. But these risk factors make you more likely to develop it:

  • Being obese or overweight
  • Having Type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance
  • Having metabolic syndrome (like hypertension, insulin resistance, etc.)
  • Taking certain prescription medications

Diet plan to prevent fatty liver disease

Before you start to panic, let us give you a piece of good news – a balanced diet plan can reverse liver damage and can put you out of danger (If it’s severe already, seek medical attention immediately). Read on to know-how:

  1. Add coffee to your diet to lower the abdominal enzymes which are responsible for liver disease. You can have a cup of coffee with skimmed milk or low-fat milk with breakfast.
  2. Green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, brussels sprouts, kale will help you to lose weight and prevent the fat build-up in the liver.
  3. Do you like tofu? If not, it’s time to change your taste. Tofu is low in fat and high in protein, it reduces fat deposits in your liver.
  4. Add delicious fatty fish like salmon, sardines, tuna, and trout to your diet. These are high in omega-3 fatty acids which will balance liver fat levels and reduce inflammation.
  5. Try having oatmeal with sunflower seeds for breakfast. Its rich fiber content will keep your weight in check. Adding a few sunflower seeds to it can provide antioxidants for your liver protection.
  6. Nothing can be better than adding walnuts to your snack time. It is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and will aid in the smooth functioning of the liver.
  7. Discard all butter and margarine. Instead, use avocado spread for your toast. It is high in healthy fats and fiber, and your liver will thank you.
  8. Use olive oil for cooking over other refined oils such as sunflower oil. Olive oil may reduce the fat deposits in the liver, thus aiding your condition. Also, don’t forget to add garlic to your diet to reduce fat deposition and lose weight.
  9. Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products as they have less saturated fats.
  10. End your day with a cup of hot green tea. The rich antioxidants will protect the liver while you’re having a sound sleep at night.

Though alterations in diet are an important part of controlling your fatty liver disease, it may not be enough if you don’t pair it up with other lifestyle modifications. Certain lifestyle changes such as weight loss, total calorie restriction, and increased physical activity are highly recommended for patients with fatty liver disease.

To summarise, a balanced diet will help you reduce the fat deposits in your liver and keep your weight in check. Stay off alcohol completely, and live a healthy life ahead.

References –

  1. Fatty Liver Disease. Available from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15831-fatty-liver-diseaseAccessed on 10 Aug’21
  2. Liver disease and diet. Available from: https://www.uhcw.nhs.uk/download/clientfiles/files/Patient%20Information%20Leaflets/Clinical%20Support%20Services/Dietetics/119195_Liver_disease_and_diet_(1598)_July_2019.pdfAccessed on 10 Aug’21
  3. Diet and Lifestyle Tips to Reverse Fatty Liver Disease. Available from: https://www.webmd.com/hepatitis/fatty-liver-disease-dietAccessed on 10 Aug’21
  4. 12 Foods to Help Fatty Liver Reversal. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/fatty-liver-diet#_noHeaderPrefixedContentAccessed on 10 Aug’21
  5. Assy N, et al. Olive oil consumption and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. World J Gastroenterol. 2009 Apr 21;15(15):1809-15.
  6. Hepatorenal Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis Available at https://www.healthline.com/health/hepatorenal-syndrome Accessed on 10 August 2021