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Fatty liver disease is an accumulation of fat cells in the liver. There are several factors that contribute to fatty liver disease. The Fitness Health Zone website claims that “in some people, fatty liver is developed by certain conditions such as diabetes, obesity, or high triglycerides. Malnutrition, alcohol abuse and rapid weight loss may also lead to fatty liver.” According to an article published by the American Institute for Cancer Research on its website, "Studies show as many as 70 percent of people with diabetes may have fatty liver." Although the actual fat cells cannot be eliminated, certain dietary changes may help to shrink the fat stored in the cells and keep fatty liver disease under control.


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Fat accumulation in the liver can be caused by a number of things. Obesity is the most common condition in which fatty liver is seen, as well as diabetes. Fatty liver is also associated with heavy alcohol use and high triglyceride levels. Certain illnesses, such as tuberculosis, can also cause fat to accumulate in the liver.


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There are three important areas that demand attention in the treatment of fatty liver disease. These areas are controlling or reducing the weight, proper nutrition and physical activity. The most critical factor to reducing fat in the liver is losing weight. Lowering the amount of starchy foods and bad fats consumed can help your weight and your liver.

Low Glycemic Index Foods

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Lowering insulin resistance has shown promise in treating a fatty liver. A low glycemic diet can help lower insulin resistance. Low glycemic foods are foods that do not cause a rapid increase in blood glucose after consumption. Foods that are low on the glycemic index usually include complex carbohydrates, such as whole wheat bread and pasta, most vegetables, fruits and legumes.

Detoxifying Foods

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A liver-cleansing diet can also help fatty liver disease. The foods recommended for a liver cleansing diet are also many of the same foods found in the low glycemic diet. Foods recommended to detoxify the liver include spinach, watercress, beans, fish, free range poultry and soy or rice milk instead of dairy milk.

Other Liver Helpers

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In addition to these foods there are a couple of nonfood nutrients that are worth mentioning because of their positive impact on fatty liver disease. L-Carnitine, which is a vitamin-type substance, will help the liver to release fatty build up and convert it to energy. L-Carnitine is derived from the diet and can be manufactured by the body. It can also be taken a supplement.

An herb called milk thistle is also known to help the liver. It can stimulate the production of new cells in the liver and also protects it. Dandelion and southern ginseng are other herbs that can aid a fatty liver.