What is nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and how can I improve my liver function naturally?
- 1 Minute Read
The good news of the day is you can improve liver function naturally. In fact, you can even prevent or reverse fatty liver disease with lifestyle changes if caught early!
The health condition known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) happens when too much fat builds up in the liver. This accumulation of fat is not caused by alcohol, though alcoholic liver disease involves damage from heavy alcohol use.
The liver holds onto some fat naturally. However, if more than five to ten percent of the liver's weight is fat, this is defined as a fatty liver. Too much liver fat increases your chances of developing cirrhosis and liver cancer.
If you are overweight, losing weight is your best weapon for reducing fat in your liver. One study found that a 7-10% weight loss resulted in improved markers of liver function. And those individuals with > 10% weight loss saw additional improvements.
If you weigh 225 pounds, a 7-10% weight loss translates to losing 16-23 pounds. Slow and steady weight loss through dietary changes and exercise are safest on your liver. For guidance on setting a reasonable weight-loss goal and timeline, click here.
Regular exercise is vital for overall health and research shows it decreases liver fat. Haven't exercised in a while and wondering whether to start cardio or weight training? Researchers found that resistance exercise may be more feasible than aerobic exercise for NAFLD patients with poor fitness or not physically able to do aerobic exercise. Need help building an exercise plan from scratch? Click here.
The Mediterranean diet, rich in vegetables, fruits, fish, olive oil, legumes, and limited red meat and few to no added sugars, helps prevent and treat fatty liver disease. Researchers associate the high intake of polyunsaturated fat (e.g., nuts, flax seeds, certain fish) from this eating pattern to correlate with positive outcomes on NAFLD. In addition, the Mediterranean diet is known for its role in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease-also risk factors for developing NAFLD.
Foods high in saturated fat, trans fats, and cholesterol can contribute to NAFLD progression. Commonly consumed foods containing a lot of saturated fat include such fatty meats as bacon, sausage, steak, and high-fat dairy foods.
It is possible to improve liver function naturally by adjusting your lifestyle. By achieving a healthy weight, following the Mediterranean diet, and committing to regular physical activity, you can improve liver function naturally and keep it healthy.
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