Fatty liver, or “hepatic steatosis,” are terms used to describe the buildup of fat in the liver. While some fat is normal, more than 5-10% is considered a health problem.
There are TWO kinds of fatty liver – alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
As you can infer, the first type is the result of long-term consumption of alcoholic beverages that result in the liver becoming unable to break down fats. The other kind, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is unrelated to alcohol consumption, but the effect on the liver’s ability to break down fat is the same.
Its function processes everything we eat or and drink. It will also filter toxins from the blood. When there is too much fat in the liver, this process is interrupted and other health problems can ensue.
A healthy liver is able to repair itself by rebuilding new and healthy cells to replace the damaged ones.
When repeat damage occurs, scar tissue develops – this is called cirrhosis.
Fatty liver is a reversible condition that can very often be helped with some lifestyle modifications. When we were at our heaviest, my husband and I were both diagnosed with fatty liver. The doctor wanted to put us on various medications to combat it. We said, “absolutely not!” and the doctor agreed to give us six months to turn things around. Fortunately, our anti-inflammatory diet worked well, and we were able to reverse this condition.
Alcohol consumption is the biggest contributor to fatty liver (disease), but in the case of NAFLD, conditions such as obesity and diabetes, factors such as genetics and rapid weight loss, and even some medications (aspirin, steroids, tamoxifen, and tetracycline) have been linked to fatty liver.
Unfortunately, fatty liver can be fairly asymptomatic, but people may experience some fatigue and/or abdominal discomfort. If left to progress to where the liver becomes enlarged, symptoms such as a poor appetite, weight loss, increased abdominal pain, fatigue, and confusion may result.
While there is no known medication or surgery to treat fatty liver, modifications to your lifestyle can dramatically reverse the damage. Some of these recommendations include:
Specifically, there are certain foods and drinks that are known to help:
Tonics and herbal supplements can also be helpful;
* as with any herbal supplements, please consult a practitioner before using them
According to Ayurveda, the liver is considered a fire – or pitta – since it is an organ that is essential to digestion and elimination. In a balanced pitta dosha, the liver is able to effectively flush toxins and prevent the build up of fat. Therefore, a healthy liver needs cooling food and beverages to prevent it from working too hard and burning too hot. To achieve this balance, all alcoholic drinks should be avoided. Spicy or fried foods, as well as fatty meats should also be eliminated from the diet. It is also advised to stay away from sugary foods, foods high in sodium, and items low in fiber. At Ki’s Kitchen, we thrive on making meals that follow the principles outlined here, but that don’t compromise on flavour!
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From our kitchen to yours,
Love + Peace