Fatty liver disease is not new. Many people have heard of fatty liver disease from alcoholic liver disease, which is the result of drinking excessive amounts of alcohol over time. In those who are diagnosed with this disease, the blood is not able to break down alcohol properly, which greatly effects the liver.
But a growing population is experiencing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which has become the most common liver disorder in the Western world. NAFLD occurs most commonly in people who are overweight and middle-aged. The disease causes fat to build up in the liver, and this compromises the ability of the liver to function.
People who develop liver disease don’t always experience symptoms, but common symptoms include fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, nausea, dark urine, bruising easily, and dry or dark patches on the neck and underarms. Lifestyle changes can help keep reverse the damaging effects of liver disease and keep the condition under control.
Add these 10 foods and supplements to your lifestyle shifts to help support your liver:
Think of lemons as an internal soap–a very gentle and subtle liver cleanser. Lemons also stimulate the liver’s bile production, which is what breaks down and helps our bodies digest fats. The high antioxidant and vitamin C content of lemons will also strengthen your immune system. As an added benefit, lemons contain a compound called naringenin, which helps to ease inflammation of the liver. Try adding a splash of lemon to your ginger tea!
2. Ginger Root
Ginger root is high in fiber, which helps support a healthy digestive tract and eliminate toxins from the body. It also contains antioxidants that strengthen the immune system to fight off infection and illness. Make ginger tea by simmering ginger slices in green tea or water, or add some ginger to a homemade stir fry, salad or smoothie.
Beets, known as a blood-nourishing food, also support the liver thanks to their high betaine content. NAFLD hampers the liver’s natural functions, but beets benefit liver health by assisting in detoxification and the process of the liver digesting fats (lipids). When fat accumulates to dangerous levels in the liver, foods high in betaine, like beets, are able to assist in liver detox functions of breaking down and removing fats.
4. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes help cleanse the liver, thanks to their high potassium content. One sweet potato contains nearly 700 milligrams of potassium, along with magnesium, iron, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D. They also have anti-inflammatory properties which make them a beneficial food for those who suffer from fatty liver disease.
Turmeric is a powerful spice with many natural health benefits. It has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which allow it to reduce inflammation in the body and help treat digestive conditions. Turmeric also helps improve liver function by increasing its ability to detox.
6. Milk Thistle
Milk thistle acts as a natural detox for the body! Known as an elixir for your liver, milk thistle has long been used to support liver function. Milk Thistle contains powerful antioxidants that may protect your body from nerve damage, abnormal brain aging, and cancer. It helps rebuild liver cells while removing harmful toxins from the body. Research has shown that milk thistle has the power to improve mortality in patients with liver failure.
7. Dandelion Root
Dandelion Root tea helps maintain a proper flow of bile in the body, which aids in the digestion process. Dandelions contain many vitamins and nutrients that help keep the liver working properly. Dandelion stems and leaves are excellent sources of Vitamin C, which helps with mineral absorption and reduces inflammation in the body.
7. Black Seed Oil
Research has shown that black seed oil benefits patients with liver disease, because it’s able to reduce the complications and progression of fatty liver disease. Black seed oil works to speed up the healing process for people with this health condition.
Our livers are busy removing toxins from our bodies, and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is an important supplement in that process. Let’s take it a step back: glutathione is your liver’s most powerful detoxifier, and it is strongly anti-inflammatory. If you have a fatty liver you need more of it. Eating sulfur rich foods supports glutathione production. Plant sources of sulfur include cabbage, broccoli, and garlic, but current farming methods have reduced the amount of sulfur in our plants, so supplementation helps. MSM has another benefit: it’s methylated, and methyl groups bind to toxins in the liver so it can detoxify effectively.
9. Raw Vegetables
The nutrients found in raw vegetables have been used for centuries to help treat liver disease. Juicing is a great way to help your body absorb the nutrients it needs to function well. Ideal vegetables for a liver detox include kale, cabbage, beets, celery and broccoli. You can also add some lemon, ginger and turmeric for an extra immune system boost!
10. Vitamin E
Studies have shown that lifestyle changes, along with Vitamin E supplements, are beneficial for people with liver damage caused by nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation and boosts the immune system.