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Fighting Fatty Liver: A Silent Epidemic, by Shikha Agarwal, Nutritionist and Wellness Enthusiast

A fatty liver can hamper your health in multiple ways. It is essential that you consume the right foods and practice healthy habits for your liver's sake.

Shikha Agarwal
Shikha Agarwal, Nutritionist and Health and Wellness Coach
HT Brand Studio Updated: 14 Nov 2022, 20:42 pm IST
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As the name suggests, fatty liver is a medical condition where excessive amounts of fat start to build up in the liver leading to a severe health problem. The liver is the second largest organ in the body and its function is to process the nutrients from food and drinks, it also filters harmful substances from blood in the human body. It is evident now, that the proper functioning of this organ is essential for a healthy life.

This disease is most common in obese people, diabetic patients and increased cholesterol.

“External reasons for its occurrence could be alcohol, steroids, drugs,” says nutritionist Shikha Agarwal, a health and wellness enthusiast.

Currently, India’s medical-related burning issue is Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Shikha shares, “Many people have asked me that ‘I don’t drink, why do I still suffer from fatty liver?” Well, there is only one answer to this. Unhealthy eating and lifestyle habits of people are making them ill and prone to these high-risk diseases more and more!”

Cholesterol problems, increased insulin resistance leading to diabetes, hypertension, and heart diseases can be caused if a person has a fatty liver.

Its symptoms are seen when you have a heavy upper part of the abdomen, bloating sensation, irregular bowel habits, and indigestion, particularly in women with polycystic ovarian disease and irregular menstrual cycles.

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Excess fat in the liver is a big contributor towards India’s diabetic epidemic, affecting close to 70 million adults.

Here are a few foods that you can include in your diet for a healthy liver.

Coffee:

It will help in lowering abnormal liver enzymes. Research shows that one cup of coffee can help to protect your liver against NAFLD. It also decreases the risk of advancement of liver fibrosis among fatty liver patients.

Green leafy vegetables:

These can significantly help in the prevention of fat build-up in the stomach. Some amount of fat is already there in the liver but if starts to go higher then it becomes a problem. For example, if you eat spinach daily, the nitrate and Polyphenols found in it lower the risk of NAFLD.

Beans and Soy:

Significantly decreases the risk of NAFLD. Legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, soybeans, and peas are not only nutritionally rich food but they have resistant starches that help in maintaining good gut health. Consumption of these also helps to lower blood glucose and triglycerides in obese patients.

Eating soy visibly protects the liver because it contains high protein β-conglycinin levels that again reduce triglyceride levels that act against visceral fat build-up.

Fish:

This helps in reducing inflammation and fat levels in a fatty liver patient and it is a better type of meat to consume instead of mutton or chicken. Salmon, sardines, tuna, and trout are extremely high in omega-3 fatty acids which boost protective HDL cholesterol resulting in decreased triglyceride levels.

Oatmeal:

This is a good source of fiber and it comes from the food group of whole grains. A diet that is rich in fiber helps patients with fatty liver.

Nuts:

A diet that has nuts in it will help you to have reduced inflammation, increased insulin sensitivity, and decreased oxidative stress. Walnuts and almonds are quite popular as they are rich sources of Omega 3 fatty acid and vitamin E respectively.

Seeds:

Sunflower, Chia, and alfalfa seeds are quite popular in the prevention of fatty liver disease. They are antioxidants that help flush out toxins from the gut of your body.

Unsaturated fat:

It is recommended to swap butter, fat meat, sausages, and cured meats with unsaturated fat sources like olive oil, extra virgin oil, butter extracted from nuts, and fatty fish to help with NAFLD.

Garlic:

This will help you to improve your overall health. Many studies have shown that if you intake raw garlic or its powder form it will help you to reduce weight and cut down body fat mass which will prove beneficial for NAFLD.

“Diseases like fatty liver, diabetes, obesity, inflammation, PCOD, cholesterol levels, and maintenance of gut health, can all be tackled and reversed if one corrects their lifestyle habits,” says Shikha Agarwal.

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