One of the main functions of the liver is to filter blood coming from the digestive tract before passing it to the rest of the body. As well as this, the liver detoxifies chemicals and digests drugs the body ingests. The liver, as with all of our crucial organs, is one we should look after. Sometimes, despite the best of intentions, people can still develop fatty liver disease.
There are two main types, alcoholic fatty liver disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
The difference between the two is that one is caused by excessive alcohol consumption and the other isn’t, alluding to the fact that alcohol is not the only factor in how healthy a person’s liver is.
Diet plays a big role too.
There is one diet in particular, the Mediterranean diet, that can reduce a person’s risk of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD, for short.
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In a study published in the journal Nutrients, the Mediterranean diet was found to be associated with a lower liver fat content.
The study followed around 1400 participants aged 65 and over.
Other results from the study included confirming that avoiding alcohol can reduce an individual’s risk of alcohol related liver disease and that eating red meat was linked to a higher liver fat content.
A diet of white meat and plant-based proteins can also have a positive effect on the liver’s health.
Unlike fibrosis, where the liver is still able to function, during cirrhosis the liver begins to shrink and become lumpy and scarred.
At this point the damage becomes permanent and liver failure appears on the horizon of possibility.
So does liver cancer.
It is for this reason that looking after the liver is so important and why a healthy, balanced diet is so crucial to both short and long-term health.