The liver is an organ that synthesizes protein, detoxifies the bloodstream and produces the chemicals needed for digestion. Unfortunately, the liver is susceptible to the development of certain chronic conditions, including the deposition of fat stores -- which may lead to a diagnosis of fatty liver disease. To manage and treat fatty liver disease, be sure to make changes to your diet and lifestyle in consultation with your doctor. Avoiding alcohol use is especially crucial for men and women who have been diagnosed with this condition.
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Limit Saturated Fats
Limiting saturated fats is crucial for individuals who have been diagnosed with fatty liver disease, says the Canadian Liver Foundation. Saturated fats can exacerbate a fatty liver by contributing to weight gain, high cholesterol levels, elevated blood pressure and insulin resistance -- all risk factors for the development of this condition. While saturated fats are found in a number of foods, they are especially prevalent in animal products, including red meat, cheese and butter. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends eating no more than 10 percent of your calories from saturated fats. That amounts to 22 grams per day on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Include Unsaturated Fats
Not all fats are created equal -- and in fact, unsaturated fats may actually benefit people who have fatty liver disease. Unsaturated fats often come from plant-based products and include foods like nuts, oils and seeds. Fish, like salmon and tuna, are also an excellent choice for their unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids. Aim for 20 percent to 35 percent of calories from fat to maximize your health, says the USDA. This is 44 to 77 grams of unsaturated fat per day in a 2,000-calorie diet.
Increase Fiber Intake
The Canadian Liver Foundation reports that individuals who have been diagnosed with fatty liver disease should increase their intake of dietary fiber. Found in most fruits and vegetables, fiber is often described as an indigestible carbohydrate that does not contribute to caloric intake. In addition to aiding in weight loss through the promotion of prolonged satiety, high-fiber diets have also been found to be effective at lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Men should get 38 grams of fiber per day and women 25 grams.
Excessive alcohol use can contribute to the development of fatty liver disease. It should come as no surprise, then, that people who are living with this condition should be counseled to avoid alcohol use at all costs. Those who have abused alcohol in the past may require medical attention when eliminating this substance from their diet. Stopping excessive alcohol use "cold turkey" can cause serious withdrawal symptoms, including shakiness, sweating, anxiety and insomnia.
Incorporate Regular Exercise
A 2013 article published in the journal "American Family Physician" recommends physical activity along with a healthy diet in managing and treating fatty liver disease. Exercise not only reduces insulin resistance -- a key risk factor for the development of fatty liver disease -- but can also lead to substantial weight loss. Aim for at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week to promote improvements in fatty liver disease, burn calories and achieve healthy weight loss.