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Get the skinny on fatty liver

Feb. 07, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

NASH -- nonalcoholic steatohepatitis -- is a condition that develops when excess fats and triglycerides build up inside liver cells (from poor nutrition, eating too much, not managing stress and not exercising). It causes swelling and inflammation. Untreated, it can lead to cirrhosis and even a liver transplant.

More than 28 million people in North America (20 percent of adults and 70 percent of those with type 2 diabetes) have fatty liver -- kind of pre-NASH, just like pre-diabetes. Another 2 percent to 5 percent have full-blown NASH. Nearly 100 percent of heavy drinkers have fatty liver. But perhaps most upsetting, an estimated 6 million kids have the condition.

The good news: Fatty liver is reversible and its consequences preventable if you act early enough! To kick start your liver-lovin' lifestyle:

1. Stop consuming alcohol, trans fats and most saturated fats and all animal protein except for fish; we favor salmon and trout.

2. Eat lots of broccoli, spinach, kale, and Brussels sprouts, and only 100 percent whole grains.

3. Take 900 milligrams of DHA omega-3 supplements and 420 milligrams of purified omega-7. Cook with olive and canola oil.

4. Walk for 30 extra minutes daily and meditate 30 minutes daily.

Once you've given your body a vacation from your liver-harming habits, you can add back one glass of wine a day and skinless poultry, and up your physical activity, aiming for 10,000 steps daily.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Medical Officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com.

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