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Nutrition

Are You At Risk Of Liver Diseases?

Liver is a very special organ as it has three main key functions.

  • First, it assures the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
  • Second, it stores glycogen, which the body uses for energy, and vitamins A, B12, D, E, and K.
  • Third, the liver is one of the main excretory organs that ensure ongoing removal of the body’s waste and toxins.

Most people think liver disease is caused by excess alcohol or hepatitis viruses. The reality is that the leading cause of liver disease today is excess weight. This form of liver degeneration associated with obesity and high blood sugar is called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)

NAFLD- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the term for a range of conditions caused by a build-up of fat in the liver. It’s usually seen in people who are overweight or obese and has an unhealthy lifestyle or poor diet.

“A healthy liver should contain little or no fat”

Early-stage NAFLD doesn’t usually cause any harm, but it can lead to serious liver damage, including cirrhosis, if it gets worse. Having high levels of fat in your liver is also associated with an increased risk of problems such as diabetes, heart attacks and strokes.

Healthy diet and lifestyle:

NAFLD is not treated with medication or any other type of medical treatment. Instead, treatment focuses on making healthy lifestyle changes to help reduce the amount of fat in the liver- this would be achieved by controlling the risk factors that caused NAFLD – such as diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity. Some of the changes your Health Care Practitioner might suggest include:

  • Lose weight- You should aim for a BMI of 18.5-24.9. Losing more than 10% of your weight can remove some fat from the liver and improve NASH if you have it.
  • Eat healthy- by including more fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet and reducing the amount of calories you eat
  • Exercise- Exercising for at least 30 minutes per day
  • Managing diabetes
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Avoid medication- Being careful about taking over-the-counter pain relievers and other medications that can affect your liver
  • Contact healthcare provider- Seeing a healthcare provider who specializes in liver disease.

 Natural treatment:

  1. Olive Oil: It is rich in monounsaturated fats which studies show play a beneficial role in lipid metabolism in the liver and in abdominal fat tissue. Since they are oxidized quicker than saturated fats, they may help to avoid the ability of fat to deposit in the liver, causing less fat accumulation.
  1. Green Tea: is rich in Epigallocatechin‐3‐gallate (EGCG), about 200-300mg in one brewed cup of green tea. It is a potent antioxidant, which studies show may be beneficial for NAFLD because of its anti-inflammatory properties along with its improvement in lipid oxidation, insulin resistance, and activation of energy and lipid metabolism.

 

  1. Garlic: Studies show that garlic reduces fatty liver, insulin resistance, and inflammation, and may improve the gut microbiota in those with insulin resistance. An imbalanced microbiota may also be another risk factor for fatty liver disease.

 

  1. Milk Thistle/Silymarin. As milk thistles’ main flavonoid antioxidant, silymarin (with silybin, one of its three active components) protects the liver both by preventing depletion of its glutathione levels, and enhancing its detoxification capacity by reducing the oxidative stress resulting from toxin metabolism.

 

  1. Dandelion: Various holistic practitioners recommend the leaves and root extract of this herb for liver, gallbladder, and bile duct conditions, due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, anti-lipidemic, and anti-fibrotic properties. Dandelion’s use has been shown to lower AST and ALT, marker enzymes of liver toxicity. Those allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, and daisies, should avoid consuming it.

If you haven’t been diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, you can lower your risk of developing it by losing excess weight.

Continuing to maintain a healthy body weight through diet and exercise can help protect your liver from high amounts of fat.

REFERENCES

"Maintaining a healthy liver the natural way" naturalnutmeg.com (march, 2020).
 Michelle Routhenstein " Best diet for fatty liver " ( 2020 )
"Overweight? What You Need To Know About Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)" gialliance.com. (march 2020)

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