February 08, 2014

Fatty Liver Disease (Steatosis)

Fatty liver disease (Steatosis) is a build-up of excess fat in the liver cells. Eating excess calories causes fat to build up in the liver. When the liver does not process and break down fats as it normally should, too much fat will accumulate. In some cases, fatty liver disease damages the organ and leads to serious complications such as cirrhosis. Risk factors for fatty liver disease include overweight and obesity, diabetes and elevated triglyceride levels.  The damage caused by fatty liver disease can often be halted or reversed through simple lifestyle changes.

Good Foods - Fruits, Vegetables and Grains
Carbohydrate-containing foods are your main source of caloric energy and also provide you with vitamins, minerals and fibre necessary for controlling further liver damage. A damaged liver has difficulty converting stored energy in the form of glycogen from carbohydrates; therefore, you may need a specific amount of servings daily to get an adequate energy supply. Choose fresh fruits such as apricots and citrus; raw or steamed vegetables including greens, broccoli or asparagus; and whole grains such as wheat or bran products. 

Limit Fat and Cholesterol
  • Animal-based foods supply you with protein to maintain healthy tissue and fat for energy storage and nutrient absorption. Excess consumption of foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol can complicate fatty liver causing disease progression. Replace fatty red meat and whole dairy foods with two servings of fish per week, baked poultry and low-fat dairy. Avoid fried foods, read nutrition labels for saturated fat contents and limit consumption of red meat. 
  • Eat more egg yolks and liver from clean, grass fed animals. These foods are high in choline. Other foods rich in choline include beef, cod, shrimp, broccoli, dairy products, and almonds. Eat foods rich in an amino acid called methionine, which the body can use to make choline. Meat, fish, sesame seeds and Brazil nuts are rich in methionine.

Additional Dietary Tips
  • Limit sodium consumption to prevent abdominal fluid build-up and high blood pressure
  • Abstain from alcohol use, which further progresses liver disease damage
  • Check with your physician before taking any over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen, that may harm your liver
  • Consume small meal portions frequently throughout the day to combat fatigue associated with fatty liver 

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