Richa Madaan

Richa Madaan

Unlocking Proven Tips to Reverse a Fatty Liver

  Jan 16, 2024
Reviewed by Ravinder Kaur


Fatty liver disease, also known as Hepatic Steatosis affects approximately 25-30% of the global population. 

This estimate leads to three key observations:

  • It’s a prevalent health issue.
  • People’s dietary and lifestyle habits are entirely botched.
  • Not much progress has been made in terms of managing the problem.

Truth be told:

A liver with high deposits of fat is a breeding ground for life-threatening diseases. If not treated, it can trigger conditions like inflammation and potential liver damage.

We talked to a handful of experts and asked them to share insights on diet and lifestyle habits one must incorporate into the routine to reverse a fatty liver. 

While they had a wealth of information to share, they unanimously emphasized these three essential tips for restoring liver health. 

But before we get down to the real meat, let’s have a brush-up with the basics!

What is a Fatty Liver?

The liver is a body organ of cardinal importance, cleaning toxins out of the bloodstream. It has a small amount of fat, which is totally normal. 

However, sometimes it starts accumulating more fat than it should. When there is an excessive build-up of fat within the cells of the liver, the condition is referred to as fatty liver disease. 

In recent times, the disease has become increasingly prevalent, with individuals showing no symptoms for years and decades to come.

But it’s crucial not to underestimate it. 

Fatty liver disease, if it worsens, can be life-threatening and trigger severe problems like:

  • Inflammation of the liver. 
  • Cirrhosis of the liver. 
  • Liver damage or cancer.

Given so, it’s important to keep an eye out for certain symptoms that may indicate a fatty liver problem. These are: 

  • Nausea and lack of appetite. 
  • Pain towards the upper right side of the abdomen. 
  • Extreme weakness. 
  • The whites of the eyes turned yellow.
  • Mental confusion. 

The fatty liver condition can be classified into two types:

  1. Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (AFLD), occurs due to excessive alcohol consumption. 
  1. Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), is associated with a high-fat diet, a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and other metabolic conditions. 

Whichever might be the case, it’s pivotal to take a fatty liver seriously because, if left untreated, it can progress to more severe conditions like non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and even liver cirrhosis, which is a more serious scarring of the liver tissue.

A useful rule of thumb is to practice caution rather than cure. Eat well, work out, and keep your liver bursting with health. 

Life Expectancy With Fatty Liver Disease

A Fatty Liver goes through a total of four stages, with each being more dangerous. To understand if a fatty liver can cut years from your life, it’s essential to understand the four stages of the disease. 

Four Stages of the Fatty Liver Disease

A. Simple Fatty Liver Disease or Steatosis

The first stage of fatty liver disease is characterized by fat build-up within the cells of the liver but without inflammation or scarring of the issue. 

The majority of people with steatosis, or fatty liver, do not experience any symptoms and may be unaware of their condition. Steatosis is a reversible condition if you incorporate healthy dietary choices and regular exercise into your routine. 

B. Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis

The second stage is marked by the continued accumulation of fat in the liver, further accompanied by inflammation. This is the ‘intervening point’ when alarms go off, demanding your attention towards your liver’s health.

Inflammation occurs in response to the damage to the fat tissue. Scar tissue might develop if the damage progresses faster, leading to the third stage—fibrosis. 

C. Fibrosis

Hepatic Steatosis takes a turn for the worse when the damage of the fat issue spreads rapidly, triggering liver fibrosis. At this point, it becomes essential to remove or treat the damaged tissue as a containment measure to preserve the liver function.

Without treatment, the scarring of the tissue will continue unabated, developing into a more serious and irreversible condition called liver cirrhosis. 

D. Cirrhosis

Liver cirrhosis is an acute, irreversible condition where the scar tissue completely envelops the healthy, functioning tissue. Cirrhosis affects the overall liver function, and you may experience symptoms like:

  • Pain in the upper right part of the abdomen. 
  • Abdominal swelling. 
  • Yellowing of the eyes. 

Life expectancy is reduced when fatty liver advances to turn into cirrhosis. The scar tissue cannot be removed at this point in time; however, you can contain the progression of the disease through lifestyle changes.

Can a Fatty Liver be Reversed?

The answer is a resounding yes. 

A fatty liver can be reversed if you commit yourself to:

  • Mindful eating. 
  • Lifestyle changes. 
  • Targeted medical interventions.

Mindful Eating

Foods to Eat to Reverse Signs of a Fatty Liver

Start with switching to a Mediterranean Diet.

Though the diet wasn’t curated to alleviate the fatty liver symptoms, it can work like a charm because it focuses on choosing foods that nip fat deposits in the bud. 

As per Mediterranean Diet, your plate of food should include: 

  • Olive oil
  • Nuts
  • Whole grains
  • Fruits
  • Avocadoes
  • Fish and seafood
  • Legumes
  • Green, leafy vegetables  

What’s more, you should consume food with rich Omega-3 content and monounsaturated fats


To defeat insulin resistance and help your body utilize insulin better. 

People with fatty liver suffer from insulin resistance, a condition where the body produces insulin but can’t use it well. 

This means glucose in your blood gets turned into fat by your liver.

By consuming Omega-3-rich foods and monounsaturated fats, you’ll activate your body to respond well to insulin, leverage it better, and prevent the accumulation of fat in the liver.

Now that you know what to choose, it’s time to learn which food items shouldn’t be a part of your platter.

Foods to Avoid With Fatty Liver

Defeating fatty liver will require you to steer clear of saturated fats, such as: 

  • Yogurt, except low fat. 
  • Red meat. 
  • Full-fat cheese.
  • Baked goods. 
  • Fried foods.
  • High-sugar items. 

Key Considerations to Keep in Mind

Adopting a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet is crucial for reversing a fatty liver. 

Consume foods with a high nutritional count, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Reduce your intake of processed foods, sugary beverages, saturated and trans fats, as well as refined carbohydrates. 

Focus on portion sizes and avoid overeating. 

Lifestyle Changes

Weight Management

Losing excess weight is key to improving liver health. Make sure that you have the right weight goals and meal plans.

Choose gradual, sustainable weight loss instead of hulk smashing in the gym through a combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise. Aim for small wins. Even a modest reduction in weight is a game-changer.

Engage in aerobic activities, such as brisk walking and swimming, for at least 20–30 minutes daily.

Try strength training exercises to grow muscle mass and chop excess calories off. 

Regular Exercise

Doing workouts religiously contributes to liver health.

Squeeze 30 minutes off your routine to plan moderate-intensity exercise on most days of the week. The inner chest workout might help, but make sure that before getting started with it, you consult a professional about it.

Consult a healthcare professional before starting any exercise regimen, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.

Limit Alcohol Consumption

If you have AFLD or NAFLD, the first order of business is reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption.

Alcohol exacerbates liver damage and hinders the reversal process. 

Talk to your doctor and figure out a safe way of quitting alcohol without experiencing extreme withdrawal symptoms. Discuss abstinence if that’s the end objective.

Targeted Medical Interventions

Taking the right medication can assist in reversing the effects of fatty liver. 


Medical interventions may be required in cases of advanced liver disease or when lifestyle changes alone are insufficient. 

Your healthcare provider may prescribe medications to address specific underlying conditions, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, or metabolic disorders. 

These medications aim to control these conditions and minimize their impact on liver health. There are often misunderstandings about other medicines as well, like whether one can take ibuprofen on an empty stomach

Nutritional Supplements

Certain supplements have shown promise in promoting liver health. 

Some supplements that have been studied for their potential benefits in fatty liver include milk thistle, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, and N-acetylcysteine (NAC).

Making room for raw garlic, green tea, coffee, fruits (berries mainly), almonds, and sunflower seeds can also help reduce fatty liver problems. 

NOTE: However, do not use any medication or supplement without approval from your healthcare provider. Check with your doctor, discuss your symptoms in detail, and get a dosage regimen that works best for you. 

How Long Does it Take to Reverse a Fatty Liver? 

The thing is: there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to how long it takes to reverse the signs of a fatty liver.

The time bracket can vary from person to person based on several factors: 

  • The degree of liver swelling or inflammation. 
  • The presence of underlying health conditions. 
  • Self-regulatory capacity. 

Making some positive lifestyle changes, incorporating an exercise regime, eating a healthy diet, and cutting back on sugars and processed foods are some sure-shot remedies to reverse a fatty liver.

Generally, it can take a few months to see improvements, but it really depends on the factors mentioned above. Patience is the key. Abstinence matters. Consistency can do wonders and turn things around for good.

How Much Weight to Lose to Regain Liver Health?

Fun fact: there is no cap on the amount of weight one must lose to regain his lost liver health. It varies depending on factors like:

  • Your overall health. 
  • Body composition. 
  • The severity of the liver condition. 

Having said that, losing as little as 5% to 10% of your total body weight can have a positive impact on liver health, particularly in cases of fatty liver disease. 

It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider who can assess your specific situation and provide personalized recommendations regarding weight loss goals. Remember, gradual and sustainable weight loss is generally more beneficial than rapid and drastic changes.

The Bottom Line

Reversing a fatty liver requires a commitment to lifestyle changes and a comprehensive approach to overall health.

By adopting a balanced diet, engaging in regular exercise, managing weight, and seeking medical guidance when necessary, individuals can improve their liver health and potentially reverse fatty liver into a healthy one and defeat Hepatic Steatosis. 

Remember to consult with healthcare professionals to tailor an approach that suits your specific needs and circumstances. 


Fatty Liver Disease – By Medline Plus
Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) & NASH – By National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease
Fatty Liver Disease – By Wikipedia

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