It’s often painless and has no symptoms. Therefore, most people take Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) very casually. You need to lose weight, have to control diabetes /blood pressure/ cholesterol, adopt a healthy lifestyle, etc- are the standard lines that probably bore you these days. You know it all but do nothing. You may have tried “diet” but failed, joined gym but became irregular. Let me tell you, if you are ignoring fatty liver today, you may get to pay a huge price later. This blog intends to guide you to develop a healthy, sustainable Indian diet for fixing fatty liver. Follow these 10 tips to make a difference.
10 Tips to fix Indian diet for fatty liver
Indian diet for fixing fatty liver tip no 1: Watch your calorie intake
The liver is your largest organ. You have fatty liver disease (steatosis) means there is a fatty layer around your liver that may reduce the liver function eventually.
Most probably you are already more or less overweight, having not much physical activity and exercise. Therefore, controlling calorie intake should be your first step. (1)
But, how do I reduce calorie consumption? Shall I stop rice intake? Shall I stop using oil?
It depends on the kind of diet you are on right now. Take a deep look at your diet. Try to understand where you are going too far? What is your weakness – sugar or salt? Are you eating too many salty fried foods? Are you consuming too much sugar/ baked items/ packaged food? Do this introspection to move in the right direction.
You need to create a calorie gap in your intake and expenditure. If you are already eating a lot or eating a particular type of food out of control, you must keep a check on it.
Try to cut down the “empty calorie” from your diet. Focus on the quality of food. If the food is giving you nothing – other than calories, sugar, and sodium – avoid it at all cost.
Let me give you few interesting examples. Check the table below –
Table 1: Few examples of food calories (approx) and the approximate calorie that you may burn during common activity and exercise –
|Common empty-calorie Foods and it’s the approximate calorie content||Common activity and exercise and approximate calories that you burn|
|1 small bowl of Maggie (75 g) – 350 kcal |
1 chocolate brownie (100g) – 470 Kcal
2 small donuts (100 g) – 450 kcal
French fries (100g) – 320 Kcal
Sprite (250 ml) – 100 Kcal
2 Cookies (25 g) – 125 Kcal
2 Gulab jamun – 300 Kcal
|Walking (30 minutes) – 150-200 Kcal |
Jogging (10 minutes) – 150 Kcal
Yoga (1 hr) – 180 – 600 Kcal
Cycling (30 minutes) – 300 Kcal
Swimming (30 Minutes) – 250-300 Kcal
Indian diet for fixing fatty liver tip no 2: Choose carbohydrates wisely
There are two types of madness we can see these days. People think –
- stop consuming carbohydrate. It will make you fat.
- consume more and more fiber
Indian diet is cereal-based because of its hot and humid climate. It’s difficult for our body to process tons of protein and fat under this weather. So you need carbohydrates. It is important to get 50-60% of our daily energy from carbohydrate-rich foods.
For example, if you are going to consume a 1300 Kcal diet in a day, 650 – 780 Kcal should come from carbohydrates.
Any grain and grain products are considered carbohydrates in your diet. Wheat, rice, corn, jowar, bajra, ragi, sabudana, oats, buckwheat, quinoa, poha, murmura, kheel/khoi, dalia, suji, noodles, pasta, etc all fall under carbohydrate food.
What are the best grains in the Indian diet for patients with fatty liver?
Table 2: Choose carbohydrates carefully
|Carbohydrate-rich foods – To be consumed in moderation||Carbohydrate-rich foods – To be consumed rarely||Carbohydrate-rich foods – Absolutely avoid|
|Parboiled rice, semi polished rice, atta, ragi flour, rolled oats, suji, dalia, poha, roasted corn, makhana, murmura, kheel/khoi , buckwheat, quinoa, sabudana||Noodles, pasta||Refined flour, biscuits, cookies, confectionaries|
Shall I consume a very high fiber–rich diet?
You need to pick the grain wisely. Try to consume whole-grain cereal as much as your body can digest. Don’t run after fiber madly.
We can not digest dietary fiber. They help to absorb nutrients, keep our body clean. Our body often finds it difficult to process excess fiber.
If you experience acidity, bloating, gas, indigestion often, consuming a high fiber diet may cause trouble. Therefore choose semi-polished rice over brown rice, pick rolled oats instead of picking steel-cut oats. Choose the grains which are not too high or too less in their fiber content. Follow table 2 for details.
How much carbohydrate is enough for a day for a fatty liver patient?
If you are overweight, you need to restrict your food consumption to a certain extent. Try to eat in moderation – not too much, not too less. Distribute carbs in small to moderate portions in breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
No need to switch to roti from rice or start having millets instead of normal atta roti. Pick the grain that you are comfortable with, enjoy eating, and can eat for the rest of your life.
Focus on your food while eating. Listen to your stomach. It will tell you how much to eat. Think twice or thrice before taking the second helping.
Indian diet for fixing fatty liver tip no 3: Eat and drink vegetables and fruits
If you have fatty liver, eating vegetables is not enough. If possible start drinking it. Confused? Add some vegetables with every major meal like breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In addition to this, try to consume a glass of vegetable smoothie on a regular diet.
Let me tell you that vegetable smoothies may not yummy. However, it is great for fixing your health condition. There are certain enzymes and micronutrients in vegetables that get destroyed during cooking. Therefore having some vegetables raw can ensure to supply the active enzymes, phytonutrients, and micronutrients present in the vegetables. (3)
Vegetables are also a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber which helps to keep your body clean, control blood glucose levels, keep your gut healthy, and helps in the absorption of nutrients.
How much vegetables are enough for daily consumption?
Try to consume vegetables double the amount of rice/ roti. This will help to slow down the rise of blood glucose levels and better insulin response.
Apart from vegetables, fruits are also a big part of the fatty liver diet. Consume 2 fruits every day – one citrus fruit and one any other fruit as per the season. Pick the locally available fruits over any exotic fruit.
It’s better to eat whole fruits than to drink fruit juice. The fruit pulp is rich in fiber which helps to keep the blood sugar in control. Otherwise, because of the fruit sugar, drinking fruit juice shoots the blood glucose level.
Table 3: Fruits and vegetables for fatty liver patients
|Category||At least one Item to eat from each category on a regular basis||Items to avoid|
|Vegetables||Green leafy vegetables – Spinach, amaranth leaves, methi leaves, mustard leaves, etc |
Roots and tubers – Potato, sweet potato, yam, tapioca, carrot, radish, beetroot, etc
Other vegetables – All types of gourd, ladies finger, cucumber, brinjal, tomato, pumpkin, green papaya, etc
|Instant packaged vegetable soup, Ready to cook vegetable mix, Instant vegetable juice|
|Fruits||Citrus fruit – Amla, mosambi, lime, lemon, orange, grapefruits, tangerine, etc |
Other fruits – Banana, papaya, watermelon, muskmelon. Mango, jamun, ber, guava, sapota, grapes etc
|Instant packaged fruit juice|
Indian diet for fixing fatty liver tip no 4 : Add good fat in diet
You have consumed way too much food so far compared to your activity that your body can actually process. Therefore the fat layer has developed in the liver. But that does not mean you have to stop consuming fat.
You need good fat in moderation which will eventually fix your cholesterol issues and other parameters.
Avoid cooking in refined oil – the oil which has no color, flavor. Pick cold-pressed or kachhi ghani or filtered oil for daily cooking. Pick your oil as per your tradition. Kachhi ghani mustard oil, double-filtered groundnut oil, sesame oil, coconut oil, etc are safe choices for Indian cooking.
Don’t make the mistake of using olive oil for cooking Indian food. You can use extra virgin olive oil for salad dressing. Don’t waste your money by buying refined olive oil and use it for frying poori or making sabzi.
Avoid fried foods as much as possible. Feel free to use oil for seasoning and normal cooking but in a controlled amount. You can add a teaspoon of ghee to lunch or dinner.
Indian diet for fixing fatty liver tip no 5 : Don’t miss dal
We often neglect our regular dal consumption. If you are a vegetarian, you should not miss your regular dal intake.
Let me remind you that dal is the major source of protein and when dal is consumed with rice/ roti, the protein quality improves and becomes a first-class protein. So, don’t neglect your regular dal chawal or dal roti.
Bring variety to your daily choices. There are more than a hundred varieties of dal available in India. You must try to consume 3-4 varieties in a week – moong, masoor, tur, kulthi, rajma, chana, chole, lobia, moth, etc.
If regular dal bore you, consider having besan sabji, sattu, sprouts, roasted chana, etc in your diet.
Don’t forget to soak the dal for 3-4 hrs to eliminate the anti-nutritional factors. This will help you to digest the dal better without causing gas, acidity, indigestion, etc.
Indian diet for fixing fatty liver tip no 6: Don’t overdo on animal proteins
People are going mad over a high protein diet. In order to achieve that, they are consuming a huge portion of fish/ chicken/ egg whites/ milk, etc.
You can relax. Protein is indeed essential to manage your weight. But take it mindfully. Let animal protein be a part of your daily diet. Don’t just make it your entire diet.
If you consume fish, please continue to eat. Fish is a great source of omega 3 fatty acid which is very good for liver health.
If you are not lactose intolerant or not having any milk allergy, feel free to add milk to your diet. It is better to consider double-toned milk for consumption to control the calorie and fat intake.
Consume a whole boiled egg or small to medium size fish, lean meat, and chicken stew/ broth/light curry in moderation. Limit your red meat intake. Consuming two pieces of red meat once a month won’t harm you but you must keep a check on it.
Fish, egg, chicken, etc are not only great sources of protein; micronutrients, etc but also helps to keep your blood sugar level under control once mixed with rice/ roti.
Avoid making spicey, rich preparations of animal food with loads of oil/ fat with it. Keep it light and simple for better absorption and health.
Indian diet for fixing fatty liver tip no 7: Let’s include nuts
Nuts and seeds are another category of food that we often miss in a regular diet. These are not only rich sources of protein but also provide good fat.
Your body needs omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids in a proper ratio for better heart health. We get omega 6 from vegetable oil and other foods but many people lack omega 3 fatty acids. Thus the omega 6: omega 3 ratio gets disturbed. Instead of maintaining the ratio of 1:1 to 4:1, the ratio is often found to be 15:1 to 20:1.(2)
Since most fatty acid patients also suffer from cholesterol issues, don’t miss consuming a fistful of walnut and a spoonful of flaxseed on a daily diet to ensure the omega 3 supply on daily basis.
Other nuts and seeds like almond, cashew, pistachio, groundnut, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, sesame seed, etc are also very good health. However, don’t have more than a fistful per day.
Don’t forget that you need to also focus on controlling your calorie intake. Extra nuts and seeds will provide additional calories and fat. So eat mindfully.
Indian diet for fixing fatty liver tip no 8: Add probiotic/ prebiotic
Adding probiotics helps to improve gut health. Consider consuming curd, buttermilk, lassi, rice kanji, fermented rice, etc as per the season.
Drinking a glass of buttermilk post-lunch or taking a small amount of fermented rice before breakfast or a glass of rice kanji are traditional ways to add probiotics to the Indian diet.
Indian diet for fixing fatty liver tip no 9: Take water seriously
No matter what we always forget to drink enough water. When we remember we often chug down an entire bottle at one go. However, drinking water throughout the day can make a huge difference in your weight.
We often consider thirst as hunger and end up snacking. It will be wonderful if you can manage to keep one water bottle handy to ensure drinking.
Don’t complicate the simple act of drinking water with cold water, hot water, infused water, etc. Just keep drinking throughout the day.
Green tea and coffee are good for liver health. Green tea contains antioxidants. You may consume 1-2 cups of tea/ coffee in a day. Don’t end up drinking 5-6 cups of coffee/ green tea with the hope of fast recovery. That may create further trouble.
Indian diet for fixing fatty liver tip no 10: Avoid packaged/ processed food
So far, I have only suggested you eat food. Now it’s time to say NO to certain foods. Stop eating any kind of packaged and processed food. This includes – biscuits, cookies, bhujia, mixture, instant noodles, instant pasta, instant soup, packaged fruits juice, chocolate, fries, chips, confectionaries, etc.
No matter whatever the advertisements are claiming all these foods are mostly a combination of refined flour, refined sugar, refined oil, refined salt, and preservatives.
All these refined foods are bad for you at this point. So without any doubt, stop consuming it.
Why you should take fatty liver seriously?
As mentioned at the beginning, it is painless. This is one of the major reason that most of your probably don’t take fatty liver seriously.
The liver is one of the most important organs. It helps in digestion, converts nutrients into energy, helps to store iron, produces bile, makes proteins, resist infections, etc. You can’t mess with your liver. It’s going to have a dangerous impact on your health.
Do a routine liver function test by measuring liver enzymes to check your condition.
If you are not serious with fatty liver grade 1, it may progress to grade 2 and 3 . Needless to mention more deposition of fat in the liver will hamper its function creating swollen inflamed liver (Steatohepatitis). Further progression will start damaging your liver tissue called fibrosis. Extensive liver damage will eventually cause cirrhosis of the liver.
Protect your liver today. Don’t take fatty liver casually. Fix it in its first stage. Follow the best 10 tips mentioned above to adopt a healthy Indian diet for fatty liver disease. The best part is liver can repair on its own. Weight loss through dietary modification and lifestyle changes can make a huge difference.
Adopt sustainable lifestyle modification. Stay active and exercise regularly. Sleep well to give proper rest to your body. Try to manage stress well. Show gratitude and practice a positive approach towards life. If needed don’t feel shy to seek help from the experts.
Consult a qualified nutritionist, contact with yoga/ exercise expert, psychologist if needed. You must stay fit and healthy.