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Fatty liver: With this 10-point plan you can eat healthily again

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Fatty liver: With this 10-point plan you can eat healthily again

More than one in four adults in Germany has fatty liver disease. Hardly any disease can be cured as well with the right diet as fatty liver disease in its early stages, says doctor Jörn Klasen. “Admittedly, this requires personal initiative and changing your diet initially requires a high degree of discipline. But it’s worth it in several ways: It’s not just your liver that benefits from a healthier lifestyle. You will also feel fitter overall and it will be easier for you to lose weight,” writes the nutritionist in his book “Goodbye Fatty Liver,” which was published by ZS-Verlag.

What the liver particularly likes is a balanced diet with “green” protein, plenty of fiber, high-quality fats, little sugar and few carbohydrates, which prevents obesity and works against inflammation, explains Klasen. In his book, he recommends these ten golden anti-fatty liver rules as a guide for every day:

Anti-fatty liver rule 1: Eat lots of vegetables

The number one basic rule for a healthy liver is: eat lots of vegetables. Whether beans, peppers, mushrooms, cabbage, spinach or zucchini: colorful and fresh items from the vegetable department contain almost everything the (liver) cells need to work at their full potential. Vitamins, minerals, fiber and secondary plant substances have an anti-inflammatory effect, keep the intestine healthy, strengthen the immune system and fill the stomach without burdening it with too many calories.

It’s best to divide a pound of vegetables into two to three meals a day. Prefer products from local areas. Many superfoods, such as cabbage, chard or beetroot, grow almost on your doorstep and come directly from the field to your plate without having to travel long distances. Fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, kimchi, miso) are a blessing for the intestines.

Anti-fatty liver rule 2: Keep fruit in moderation

Nobody denies that fruit is healthy. It contains valuable vitamins, fiber and trace elements, but should still be consumed with caution when it comes to liver health. This is due to the fructose, which is mainly found in sweet fruits, juices and smoothies. The warning against this seems absurd at first, because apples, pears and the like are natural foods.

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The pitfalls are in the details: Since fructose is twice as sweet as glucose and particularly cheap, the food industry likes to use it – under the guise of natural sweetness – as an inexpensive sweetener for soft drinks, finished products and many other foods and drinks. This excess makes fructose dangerous because our bodies are not designed to process large quantities. The liver is stressed because it is the only one that can metabolize the fructose.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat fruit anymore. Follow four rules:

Prefer fruit that is low in sugar (e.g. tart apples, apricots, avocado, berries, grapefruit, lemons) and reduce your fruit consumption with sweet fruits such as pineapples, bananas, pears, grapes or mangoes. Eat fruit for breakfast or as a dessert at lunchtime, because then your metabolism is particularly active. Stick to the principle: fruit is eaten and not drunk. Avoid dried fruits unless your liver is healthy.

You can read more about the topic here: Apple dilemma promotes fatty liver and diabetes: What too much fructose does to the body

Anti-fatty liver rule 3: Avoid sugar

The main problem today is that we eat too much, too often and usually the wrong thing. We consume far more calories than we need for our daily activities. High sugar consumption plays a central role here. At an average of 100 grams per day, it is now four times higher than it should be. (…)

A currywurst can be sugary, as can a frozen pizza, canned fruit or a ready-made coleslaw. For liver health, it is therefore important not only to avoid sweets as much as possible, but also to recognize sugar traps such as fruit juices. (…) In order to recognize sugar on the ingredients list on the packaging, it is advisable to pay attention to the ending. If an ingredient ends with -ose, you should avoid the product. Sugar substitutes such as xylitol (E 967) and sorbitol (E 420) are no alternative, nor are sweeteners (steviol glycosides, E 960) from the stevia plant or aspartame (E 951), a synthetic sweetener. The latter have a sweetening power 30 to 3,000 times greater than table sugar and are even more addictive.

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Anti-fatty liver rule 4: Pay attention to good sources of fat

Avoid fat to combat fatty liver disease? This sounds obvious, but it is the wrong approach. You can eat fat for the liver’s sake, but you should choose the right one. Healthy fats are important building blocks for the body. They protect organs and vessels, help keep blood sugar levels under control, inhibit inflammatory processes in the body and keep you slim.

The best fat is in the form of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids in vegetable oils (linseed oil, olive oil, rapeseed oil, walnut oil, hemp and algae oil), nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts) and fatty sea fish such as salmon or mackerel. You should definitely avoid so-called trans fats, which are created during the industrial processing of fat and are found in many finished products.

Anti-fatty liver rule 5: Use “green” protein

(…) An adult should eat 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of normal weight throughout the day. It’s best to put together your protein plan with few animal sources (eggs, meat, poultry, fish, dairy products) and plenty of plant sources (legumes, oatmeal, mushrooms, nuts, seeds, algae). Plant protein usually contains fiber, vitamins, minerals, healthy carbohydrates and good fat, while animal protein contains too many saturated fatty acids.

Anti-fatty liver rule 6: Prefer whole grain varieties

The role of carbohydrates is often underestimated. Anyone who eats a lot of white bread, pasta, rolls, rice, etc. is really fattening their liver. Because our metabolic center stores excess amounts of easily digestible carbohydrates in the form of harmful fat. Especially in the evening, you should avoid the classic filling side dishes and the “dinner” in the form of toast with butter and sausage. If any carbohydrates are put on your plate, they should be complex carbs from whole-grain bread, pasta or rice.

Anti-fatty liver rule 7: Eat fiber

Fiber is an indispensable part of a liver-healthy diet. They ensure that blood sugar levels slowly rise and stimulate the liver’s fat metabolism. They are mainly found in vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grain products. Top suppliers include Jerusalem artichoke, salsify, chia seeds, linseed and wheat bran. (…)

Anti-fatty liver rule 8: Reduce your meat consumption

Do you have the feeling that dishes without a piece of meat on the plate are not “real” meals? Then you should rethink your eating habits. You don’t have to become a vegetarian right away, but you should avoid meat if possible for the sake of your liver. This applies especially to red meat (beef, pork, veal and lamb) and to processed meat in the form of ham, sausage, sausages or meat loaf. (…)

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Anti-fatty liver rule 9: Avoid fast food and convenience foods

Highly processed foods such as fast food or ready meals are practical and usually also taste good because they are so enriched with unhealthy artificial additives that we can’t get enough of them. But the aftertaste is stale: This “industrial food” does not fill us up in the long term and causes us to unnaturally eat more and more instead of stopping satisfied. (…)

Anti-fatty liver rule 10: Drink properly

Prefer calorie-free and sugar-free drinks; tap or mineral water is ideal. If the latter has a high magnesium content, it also has a beneficial effect on sugar metabolism. Rule of thumb: Drink 0.03 liters a day for every kilogram of normal weight. If it’s warm outside or you do a lot of sport, it can be more.

It’s best to prepare appropriate bottles or jugs in the morning and drink the planned amount throughout the day. If you find water too boring, you can spice it up with herbs, lemon or ginger slices. Also recommended: unsweetened herbal teas and coffee, which should only be consumed without milk or sugar. And very important: Reduce alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, mixed milk drinks and fruit juices as much as possible.

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