“You are what you eat”. This is not just a famous quote but a statement that should be practiced, to avoid unnecessary problems like a fatty liver which can arise in your body due to poor food choices. Having a fatty liver simply means you have too much fat in your liver, which can lead to impaired liver function. Its causes are multifactorial, with diet playing a major role in its development. Several foods have been linked to the development and progression of fatty liver disease, and it is just right that they should be avoided.
Alcohol is a major cause of fatty liver disease as well as other liver diseases. Excessive alcohol intake damages the liver due to the toxin build up, making the liver unable to breakdown fat properly; fat then accumulates in the liver leading to devastating consequences. Consuming it in moderation is a good option, but it’s worth to completely stay away, because alcohol has other serious disadvantages.
2. Sugary foods
Products with added sugar like sweets, candies, cookies, baked goods, contain refined sugar which can lead to obesity and due to circulating high blood sugar, increase the amount of fat buildup in the body and ultimately the liver, so a reduction in consumption of these foods is advised.
Type 2 Diabetes is another risk that nobody wants to take – try to limit your sweet cravings to fruits.
3. Fried foods
These foods contain saturated fats and have high calory content. A sedentary lifestyle coupled with this diet can spell the beginning of a higher fat accumulation in the body, hence steaming or boiling, or even baking could be a healthier alternative to frying.
You can bake anything you would normally fry, with the exception of very gooey foods that are not good for you anyway!
Excessive salt intake can lead to high blood pressure and liver damage. Cutting back salt intake to an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults, especially for those with high blood pressure has been shown to improve blood pressure, as well as liver and heart health.
It may be a bit of a tasteless journey at first, but as your tastebuds develop sensitivity again, you will notice how rich foods are in flavours, with only a minimal amount of salt.
5. Refined grains
They include white bread, rice, and pasta. These grains are usually white, which means the flour is highly processed and have had their fiber removed. These foods can raise your blood sugar more than whole grains when digested.
It is somewhat different to cook these grains, or use their flour for baking, but experimenting, and looking for recipes specifically tailored to whole grain use will help you with the transition.
6. Red meat
Beef is high in saturated fat and can lead to an increase in fat and calories in the body. A better alternative is white meat or fatty fish, which is ironically good for your liver.
You can consume it in moderation still, but be mindful of your portions and the other nutrients you eat with it.
7. Soda and fruit juice
Soda and fruit juices more often than not contain refined sugar and fructose, which causes damage to the liver and lipogenesis. A healthy alternative is to go for fruits and vegetables, or fruit smoothies and shakes.
You can also dilute 100% fruit content juices with clean water, or even sparkling, add lime juice or lemon to it, and have a mocktail!
8. Processed foods/Fast foods
They’re quick, maybe delicious, but for the most part unhealthy. Asides from the fat and caloric content they add to your body, they can also cause liver damage, heart damage, and even lead to stroke.
So, when next you’re planning to eat out, think again and settle for a healthier choice even if you must. Your liver and your body should be treated with the utmost respect they deserve.