Let’s find out if chicken and chicken-related recipes are good for your liver health if you have fatty liver disease.
What is Fatty Liver Disease?
Fatty liver disease is a health condition that is caused by excess fat buildup in the liver. It is also known as steatosis. Healthy liver does consist of fat but when the proportion of fat is too high, it becomes problematic.
If the fat present in the liver is 5-10% of its total weight, you may face health issues. For most individuals, fatty liver is not majorly problematic. For some individuals, however, it can worsen over time. Your body undergoes three stages.
First, your liver becomes inflamed and its tissues are damaged. Then scar tissue is formed. Later the scar tissue may form to such a great extent that it replaces healthy tissue. This final stage is referred to as liver cirrhosis. Not everyone with a fatty liver has cirrhosis.
The Two Main Types of Fatty Liver Disease:
Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A simple fatty liver is a condition when the liver is inflamed or cells are damaged but not to a great extent. Such type of fatty liver does not cause liver damage. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis is a much more serious condition that can cause scarring in the liver. This condition can progress into cirrhosis or liver cancer.
- Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: This is caused due to heavy and regular alcohol use. Your body can break down the alcohol you consume but while breaking it down, certain harmful byproducts are created. These byproducts can cause inflammation and damage liver cells. The more alcohol one consumes, the more damaged the liver gets. If this problem worsens it can move onto the stages known as alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis.
Who is Affected by Fatty Liver Disease?
The following factors raise your chances of developing fatty liver disease:
- A Hispanic or Asian descent.
- If your body has undergone menopause.
- If you are obese and have a high level of belly fat.
- If you have high cholesterol, blood pressure, or blood sugar.
- If you have a condition called sleep apnea.
The Reasons For Developing Fatty Liver Disease
The root causes of fatty liver disease are many. Following are some risk factors that make you vulnerable to the condition:
- Being overweight or obese.
- Having type 2 diabetes.
- If you have any type of metabolic syndrome.
- Certain prescription medications like amiodarone, diltiazem, tamoxifen, or steroids.
What Are The Symptoms of a Fatty Liver?
Usually, individuals with fatty liver do not show any symptoms until the disease transitions into cirrhosis. Some subtle symptoms you might experience are:
- Loss of appetite.
- Weight loss.
- Abdominal pain.
- Swollen legs and abdomen.
- Mental confusion, and exhaustion.
How is Fatty Liver Disease Diagnosed?
Identifying that you have fatty liver disease by yourself, may not be possible as the condition is often asymptomatic. You may find out about the condition through a routine doctor's visit.
If after testing, high levels of liver enzymes are found, it may be an indicator of a fatty liver. Elevated enzyme levels are an indicator of liver injury. Your doctor may recommend one or more of the following tests:
- Ultrasound or CT scan.
- Liver biopsy
What Role Do Protein From Chicken and Other Sources Play in a Fatty Liver Diet?
Protein helps support liver function and therefore plays an excellent role in managing fatty liver. Extremely low levels of protein can cause a decline in overall health, especially liver health.
Overconsumption of protein on the other hand can also have adverse effects on liver health. Consuming just the right proportion of protein is essential. The right proportions for you, depend on personal factors such as weight, age, and physical activity.
Generally, it is advisable to consume lean protein obtained through, fish, chicken, legumes, nuts, and dairy products. Individuals with fatty liver may face problems such as insulin resistance.
Protein consumption can help manage blood sugar levels as well. If you choose proteins that are low in fats and high in nutrients, you can benefit from their consumption.
Is Chicken Good For Fatty liver?
Chicken is an excellent protein source and is therefore commonly added to diet plans for fatty liver. It possesses several essential vitamins such as B6 and B12 which help maintain liver function and improve overall health.
Chicken is a lean protein source meaning that it contains less amount of fat. It is therefore an excellent protein for weight management. One of the major risk factors for fatty liver disease is excess weight.
By incorporating chicken into your diet, you can manage a fatty liver in a better manner. Chicken can also be consumed in many ways, preparing a variety of dishes with it is an added benefit.
It can be served, grilled, baked, or roasted. The health benefits of chicken can only be attained fully if it is cooked right. Fried and highly processed chicken is harmful to health.
How to Incorporate Chicken Into Your Diet Plan?
If you have fatty liver, here are the right ways in which you can add chicken to your diet:
- Choosing lean cuts such as chicken breasts instead of thighs and legs which contain more fat.
- Do not consume fried chicken as it is high in saturated fat and can cause serious liver damage. Grilling or baking chicken are the best options.
- Add herbs and spices for flavor. Avoid using sauces that are high in sodium.
- To balance your meal, have a side of roasted vegetables or prepare dishes using whole grains.
- You can undertake meal prep to make your life easier.
- Try to prepare various dishes, using different recipes and cooking methods to keep your meals interesting.
- Keep track of your portion sizes because too much of anything is harmful.
Prevention of Fatty Liver Disease
Taking care of your overall health and well-being is important to avoid fatty liver disease. The basic things to remember are:
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you are obese or overweight, engage in a weight loss program.
- Exercise frequently.
- Do not consume alcohol.
- Take Liver Support supplements and medications prescribed by your doctor, regularly.
Fatty liver disease affects several individuals and with guidance from healthcare professionals and through some personal efforts, it can be managed.
Consuming a balanced meal by incorporating chicken into your diet may be beneficial. Engaging in healthy lifestyle habits is an additional step you can take.