By Sam Botica, Naturopath
Do you have high cholesterol and tryglycerides, nausea after eating, constipation, gallstones, fatigue, upper abdominal pain or increasing waist circumferance?
These are some of the symptoms of Fatty Liver Disease and shouldn’t be ignored.
What is fatty liver?
A fatty liver is basically too much fat in the liver. The liver has become a fat storing organ instead of a fat burning organ. Initially there may be no symptoms at all and may go undiagnosed for years until it is picked up in routine blood tests for blood sugar levels, cholesterol including tryglycerides, and liver function.
A healthy liver will help to remove toxins and produce bile to help with digestion but a fatty liver will interfere with this process.
If you have had a diagnosis of fatty liver, don’t ignore it, as it can progress to liver damage and even cancer.
Who is at risk?
Pre diabetics and Type 2 Diabetics because high blood sugar increases fat in the liver.
Insulin Resistant people.
Those who crave sugar and starches.
So what can I do?
It really comes down to the basics. Diet, exercise and quality sleep.
The good news is that changing your diet can improve the state of your liver dramatically, a diet which is low in carbs, moderate protein and good healthy fats are needed.
Try to avoid:
Sugar,cakes, lollies, soft drinks, high fructose corn syrup (check food and drink labels)
Processed meats such as salami.
Try to Reduce:
Processed grains such as bread, cereals, pasta, rice and pastries. Keep your intake to one meal daily. Anyone with Insulin Resistance may have to avoid these altogether.
Alcohol should be reduced to one glass, 2 or 3 times a week, if you have non-alcohol Fatty Liver otherwse it should be avoided.
Try to Increase:
Green leafy vegetables especially spinach, kale and broccoli. Eat a large salad 1-2 times daily. Raw vegetable juices are great and better than using lots of fruit.
Keep your fruit intake to 2 pieces daily.
Good oils such as olive oil, flaxseed and coconut. Raw nuts and avocado.
Moderate amounts of protein such as fish, poultry, legumes and lean red meat which is grass fed.
Include garlic to your diet regularly.
Regular exercise for 30 minutes or more. A brisk walk daily will help but also try to include resistance work such as yoga, pilates or weights.
Establish a good sleep routine. Getting good quality sleep helps your body to repair cells, detoxify, regulate hormones and blood sugar levels and calm the mind.
Do I Need Supplements?
There are some great herbs which can be used for a more rapid recovery, supporting liver function and blood sugar levels. Nutrients like magnesium, vitamin E, choline, chromium and B vitamins are helpful and your Naturopath can help you with these.