Non alcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD is a very common disorder and refers to a group of conditions where there is an accumulation of fat in the liver for people who drink little to no alcohol. The most common form of NAFLD is a non serious condition called fatty liver. A more serious condition for NAFLD is non- alcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH. This condition not only involves fat in the liver but also a degree of liver cell inflammation and scarring. NASH is a serious condition that can lead to cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is when the liver sustains damage and liver cells are gradually replaced by scar tissue. This will lead to the liver being unable to work properly. (1)
Obesity is thought to be one of the major risk factors of NAFLD. An estimate of about two thirds of obese adults and half of obese children have fatty liver disease. Other risk factors include type II diabetes, Polycystic ovarian syndrome and metabolic disease.
Diagnosis of this disease can be done through blood works, ultrasound, fibroscan and liver biopsy. In these procedures your doctor will determine what degree of NAFLD or NASH you may have.
In all of the above cases, treatment of NAFLD or NASH is the need of weight reduction through diet and lifestyle modification and exercise. This is done by limiting the amount of fat in diet. Increasing vegetable and fruit consumption and limiting or eliminating refined starches and sugars. A 10% weight reduction will help your liver start to heal.
At this month’s weight loss support group we discussed the incidence of fatty liver and the treatment for the disease as well. Many were surprised to hear that there is no pill that will fix your liver and diet and lifestyle are the most important factors when treating this disease. At the end of class we made a Quinoa and Swiss Chard Saute. I hope you enjoy!
Swiss Chard and Quinoa saute
2 bunch swiss chard stems removed
1 cup chicken broth
1 onion sliced
2 cloves garlic minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup quinoa cooked
In a pan heat oil. Next add stems of swiss chard and onions, cook for 2 minutes. Next add garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes on medium to low heat. Lastly add in leaves of swiss chard and cook for 5 minutes. Toss with Quinoa and serve.