Health Care

How Lifestyle and Nutrition Changes Can Help Reverse Fatty Liver Disease

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Patients often wonder what they can do to help reverse fatty liver disease. We have good news. There are natural things you can do and it’s all about living a healthy lifestyle.

We’re here with our expert, hepatologist Torfay Roman, MD to walk us through what you can do to naturally reverse the effects of fatty liver disease, which will also positively impact your whole health all around.

According to Dr. Roman, “A healthy diet is key! While physical activity is also important, you can’t exercise your way out of an unhealthy diet.” Keep reading to learn more from Dr. Roman.

What Not to Eat for Fatty Liver Disease

Let’s start with what you shouldn’t eat first. Dr. Roman explains, “It’s recommended that you avoid sugar-sweetened beverages. These include sodas (both regular and diet soda), sports drinks, juices and smoothies. Water, coffee and tea are OK. In fact — great news for coffee lovers — coffee has been found to benefit fatty liver disease, as long as you avoid any high-sugar sweeteners. If you like carbonated drinks, try seltzer water with slices of lemon or fruit to give it some flavor.”

Foods You Should Eat for Fatty Liver Disease

What should you eat to help reverse fatty liver disease? Dr. Roman says, “A whole food diet is recommended, and fresh is best! Foods that are processed and altered, such as refined carbohydrates, increase your risk of fatty liver disease, as well as diabetes. Generally, food is healthiest if it’s in its most natural form. Think baked potatoes rather than potato chips.”

The Mediterranean Diet

Dr. Roman continues, “The Mediterranean diet has been studied and found to be beneficial in fatty liver disease. It performed better than other diets in clinical trials.”

The Mediterranean diet includes:

  • Lean protein: Choose fish, chicken, legumes (beans, lentils, hummus), yogurt, tofu. Try to limit red meat to lean cuts, such as tenderloin, sirloin or flank steak
  • Healthy fats: Choose foods like avocados, almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts (choose raw, unsalted and dry roasted nuts) and olive oil. Avoid butter, mayonnaise and sour cream
  • Whole grains: choose oats, barley, wheat, bulgur, quinoa, brown rice, couscous
  • Fiber: Eat lots of fresh vegetables. Steamed, raw or sauteed veggies are good options
  • Dairy is OK, but choose naturally low-fat cheese, milk and yogurt. Avoid cream or whole-fat milk

Eat a Low-Glycemic Diet

“If you have insulin resistance or are diabetic, it’s especially important that you try to maintain a low-glycemic diet,” says Dr. Roman.

Examples of low glycemic index foods include oatmeal, whole fruits, beans and legumes, non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, nuts and olives, fish, skinless chicken, egg whites, skim milk and low-fat cheese.

High- glycemic index foods to avoid include breakfast cereals, soda, sweet tea, French fries, white breads, white rice, candy, snack foods (such as chips, pretzels, crackers, pop tarts), foods with white sugar and white flour.

Physical Activity

Getting enough physical activity is important for everyone’s overall health. “We do recommend moderate regular exercise, about 30 to 60 minutes daily, 4 to 5 times per week for overall health. Regular exercise also helps build muscle; it also improves energy, sleep, mood and overall cardiovascular health,” explains Dr. Roman.

Remember, as you lose weight, it’s important to maintain muscle mass for your overall well-being, and to maintain a healthy metabolism.

Whole Health Care for Fatty Liver Disease

Our experienced and caring team at the AdventHealth Digestive Health and Surgery Institute is here to help you understand fatty liver disease and how to care for it so you can reduce your risk of developing serious health complications, like advanced liver disease.

We’ll work with you to develop a plan that addresses the cause of your fatty liver disease and help you stay well in body, mind and spirit.

Visit us here to learn more.

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