What is NAFLD? What is a vegan diet for liver health?
Many types of liver diseases exist. However, according to recent statistics, more than 25 percent of Americans suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (steatosis). The percentage creates quite alarm for all of us. Even worse, the phenomenon continues to increase at a high rate.
A diagnosis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, also known as NAFLD, causes great concern for the patient and family. Although oral medications exist for treating the disease, they provide only limited help.
A vegan diet for fatty liver disease, on the other hand, offers considerable hope. Most health experts encourage patients to incorporate more vegan foods into their diets. They cite research showing incredible benefits including the potential to prevent further damage. In fact, such foods may help heal liver damage, too.
Vegan Diet for Liver Health Nourishes Liver
The liver functions to aid in the digestive process and to eliminate the toxins from the body. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease results from excess sugar and fats. Many think of only alcoholism with regard to liver disease. And while that does cause many cases, it’s not the only culprit. But research shows otherwise. In fact, unhealthy food and lifestyle choices as the cause of a high percentage of liver disease.
Our family experienced non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
When an emergency team diagnosed a family member with NAFLD, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, we thoroughly researched the topic. I knew a bit about liver disease and cirrhosis, but had no idea about NAFLD. The rate of liver disease caused by excess sugar and fat continues to grow at an alarming rate. Although he had always been quite healthy, our family member, only in his 40’s, nearly died before the diagnosis. His medical team saved his life and gave him needed treatments with lifelong followups. They strongly advised him to avoid alcohol and reduce his weight. However, they offered him soda, jello, and other foods that should be forbidden while still in the hospital! When asked about dietary concerns, they repeated, “avoid alcohol and lose some weight.”
No medical person provided dietary guidelines that might better manage or even reverse his disease. Instead, he was given medications and put on a transplant list. Many hours of research later, we advised him of the best foods to include daily and those to avoid completely. His health dramatically improved and within weeks he was removed from the transplant list. Although he needs regular follow ups and continues some medications, his prognosis improved. He now has a chance at a real life again, thanks to a vegan diet for liver health.
Watch for these…
- In most cases of Cirrhosis, fluid retention worsens things and leads to swelling and discomfort. Further, buildup in the liver inhibits proper fluid removals. To reduce retention, a low sodium diet must be followed. Patients need to limit the amount of salt in their meals, both within foods and added. However, completely omit to add any salt not naturally occurring in plant-based foods.
FEWER PROTEINS, HEALTHIER PROTEINS
- Also, doctors advise their patients with Cirrhosis or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease to limit their protein intake. They specifically advise patients to choose vegetable and plant-based proteins to include in their liver Cirrhosis diet. A balanced vegan diet provides adequate protein for all people, including those with NAFLD.
STAY AWAY FROM ALCOHOL
- It is mandatory for people with liver diseases to quit drinking even if the nature of their disease is not related to alcohol consumption. Alcohol damages the liver and a liver that has already been diagnosed with a disease such as Cirrhosis is at an elevated risk of disaster. Any diet for liver health should not include alcohol.
AVOID TAKING MEDICINES BEFORE CONSULTATION
- If a person is diagnosed with Cirrhosis, NSAID drugs such as Ibuprofen, Naproxen, and other pain relief oral medications must not be consumed without the permission of the doctor. Even supplements, multivitamins, and herbal drugs should only be taken after consulting with the doctors.
EXERCISE IS ESSENTIAL
- Exercise is the best way to stay fit and people with non-alcoholic fatty disease are suggested to maintain a healthy lifestyle with an adequate amount of exercise in their routines. Regular walks and aerobics are highly recommendable for people with liver Cirrhosis as well. As a bonus, a vegan diet for liver health also provides balanced nutrition to the rest of the body. Exercise works with nutrition to provide a healthy body.
- To choose a diet that improves overall health and specifically enhances the functioning of the liver, we have classified a vegan diet for liver disease into sub-categories.
THE BEST DIET FOR FATTY LIVER, NAFLD
As the name suggests, this vegan diet consists of foods that assist in eliminating fats from the liver. But an additional benefit of this diet is that it eliminates toxins and work as a cleanser and a detoxifier simultaneously. We’ve included foundation foods for a diet for liver health.
One of the main signs of liver disease is fatigue and the reason behind sluggishness is the lower energy level. Avocado contains healthy fats, which are particularly good for liver health and enhance energy levels. The vitamins and nutrients in avocado make it a food that heals the liver. Avocado is also an immune booster. People with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease suffer from low immune levels and including Avocados in their diet will be beneficial for them as they’ll have better immunity within days.
Vegetables help nourish the body. A diet for liver health requires a main base of vegetables. Carrots, in particular, comprise an integral part of the vegan diet for fatty liver disease. Like sweet potatoes, carrots provide beta carotene, an antioxidant that protects the organs including the liver. Carrot daily intake also cleanses the liver and helps in flushing out the toxins. As a part of a diet for fatty liver disease, they double as a healthy snack option as they don’t contain unhealthy fats. While they do contain natural sugar components, the low glycemic value and high fiber offset any negative effect on the diet.
While selecting the right kind of foods, you must keep in mind that the best diet for fatty liver should also be able to improve the working of the liver. Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemon, lime, and grapefruit are ideal liver cleansers. Berries, too, should be included in a diet for liver health.
Being rich in minerals, proactive compounds, and vitamins, fruit helps in the reduction of the unhealthy deposited fat through a healthy, gradual process. However, fruit juice should not replace whole fruit as it contains little to no fiber. Fruit juice may prove harmful with the strong sugar content.
Garlic’s health benefits are countless, and recent studies suggest that garlic has extraordinary qualities in terms of improving liver health. Not only is it a part of our vegan diet for fatty liver disease, but it should also be a part of all the diets for the liver. The compounds in garlic actively fight the disease and detoxify the liver effectively. If you are being diagnosed with any liver disease, we advise you to increase the amount of garlic in your dishes and the best part is, food tastes even better with more garlic in it.
ORGANIC, UNPROCESSED PLANT OILS
Olive oil and coconut oil are ideal for use with foods that heal liver diseases. However, the rule is to opt for an organic, unprocessed version. These oils prevent the accumulation of fat as they are free from saturated fats. And over time, they improve the health of the patients.
Read: Vegan Diet for Diabetes
LIVER CIRRHOSIS DIET
Many people, as soon as they are diagnosed with Liver Cirrhosis, start searching for food that could help them fight the disease. But what they fail to understand is that they need to switch to a diet that is healthy for all.
The ideal diet for liver health mirrors that for NAFLD and liver cirrhosis. Plant-based foods, riched with vitamins and minerals, help the liver to heal. Avoiding certain things though also promotes healing and health.
Sugar, for instance, creates a strain on the liver. Therefore, physicians regard simple sugars as highly dangerous for people with NAFLD or Liver Cirrhosis. The natural sugar found in fruit and vegetables metabolizes slower, due to the added fiber. The liver manages these fiber-rich sugars more easily.
<see hidden sugars in food>
Avoid processed, packaged food, too. These don’t belong in a diet for liver health. While they offer convenience, they usually contain high amounts of fats and sugars, and salt. They also often contain other harmful ingredients, making them very harmful to people with Liver Cirrhosis.
Foods containing saturated fats, such as meats and other animal products, are harder to digest. This affects bile production n the event of the slow functioning of the liver. Avoiding animal products ensures an easier load on the liver. A vegan diet for liver health overcomes these issues.
The Lifestyle Disease, Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Physicians concur that a lack of medicine is not the cause of disease. Diseases often result from a nutrient imbalance or deficiency, or a genetic disorder. Most cases of NAFLD occur when we don’t take care of what we put inside our bodies.
The best solution doesn’t just lie in following a vegan diet for liver health. Instead, it consists of making changes in your lifestyle. A vegan-based diet offers the ideal diet for liver health. It prevents the bad fat to accumulate in the liver and assists the liver to function properly.
Try making these changes. Adopt a healthy lifestyle that features a vegan diet for liver health. You will soon discover that the benefits of these changes far exceed medications. Additionally, you might avoid the devastating effects of NAFLD and cirrhosis.