Fatty liver disease is caused due to extra fat in liver. This is common among people who consume alcohol. In the past few decades, even nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) cases too have been on rise in young adults due to poor lifestyle choices.
Epidemiological studies suggest around 9% to 32% of general population in India is affected by nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and those who are overweight or obese, have diabetes or prediabetes, have more chances of developing it, says a study published in National Library of Medicine.
There are two kinds of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. The first one is simple fatty liver disease which means you have fat in your liver but there is no inflammation or damage to liver cells. In nonalcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH there may be inflammation or damage to your liver cells and it can cause serious problems such as fibrosis and cirrhosis, and liver cancer.
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There are various factors that may contribute in causing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease like high cholesterol in the body, obesity, high blood sugar levels, high levels of triglycerides, metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome and sleep apnea.
“Cases of non-alcoholic fatty liver have elevated in last few decades especially in the young adults due to poor lifestyle choices. I consult around 30 patients with liver issues every month. In most of them, we can reverse it just by improving lifestyle without spending a penny on pills,” says Ayurveda expert Dr Dixa Bhavsar.
Here are tips to improve your liver function by Dr Bhavsar:
1. Stop non-veg, gluten and dairy
These foods are heavy to digest so it is best to avoid them. Even raw food intake should be avoided when your liver health is poor. Similarly deep fried, fermented food (urad dal/black gram mainly), processed (maida), packaged and sugary foods should not be consumed. Eat easily digestible foods like millets, cooked veggies, rice and rice-millet based foods, as per Dr Bhavsar.
2. Stop alcohol and caffeine
Consuming alcohol and caffeine like tea and coffee can cause more inflammation in your gut. So switch to herbal teas like lemongrass, CCF (coriander, cumin, fennel), hibiscus, dandelion, coriander, mint, ginger, etc.
3. Hydration is important
Water plays a very important role in improving your metabolism. Without enough water, it is difficult to break your food molecules in order to absorb optimum nutrition from them. So make sure you stay hydrated.
4. Have meals on fixed times
Untimely meals is one of the major causes of fatty liver in youngsters. “Eating anytime, not when you’re hungry, staying empty stomach even when you’re hungry, eating every two hours, etc should be avoided,” says the Ayurveda expert.
“Make sure you have the biggest meal of the day between 10 am to 2 pm to procure maximum benefits from the food you eat. Also avoid late dinners. Try to have your dinner before sunset if possible. If it is not possible, then have it before 8 pm. And always opt for light dinner. Vegetable soups, rice, khichdi, pancakes (different chillas like besan, ragi, jowar, etc), millets and sabji are healthy dinner options,” says Dr Bhavsar.
5. Fix your sleep schedule
Developing a proper sleep schedule is very important. “If you sleep at the same time daily (by 10 pm is perfect time to sleep), it’ll improve your metabolism, help you achieve hormonal balance, help you lose/gain weight, reduce your stress (by reducing cortisol), and balance ghrelin-leptin secretion (hunger-satiety hormones) which is important for liver health,” says Dr Bhavsar.
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