NASH Patients: Add These Foods to Your Diet

Nov 3, 2016 | Mayo Clinic Transplant Dietitian | @mayoclinictransplantdietitian | Comments (30)

The second most common reason for liver transplant is a condition called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, also known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).  NASH takes place when fat accumulates in the liver of people who drink little or no alcohol. At its most severe, NASH can progress to cirrhosis and liver failure.

2016-11-04-almond crusted chicken

If you have NASH, losing weight and becoming more active are currently the primary treatments for a fatty liver. If your condition has progressed to liver failure and you need a transplant, your physician may recommend weight loss prior to receiving a transplant so you’re healthy enough for surgery.

What you can do

With weight loss, making healthy, long-term changes is key to success. We recommend a modified Mediterranean diet because studies have shown it can help reduce the amount of fat stored in the liver for people with NASH. Even modest reductions in weight (5-10% of total body weight) can help decrease the amount of fat deposited in the liver. Set reasonable goals for yourself as you begin your weight loss journey; a weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week is ideal.

The Mediterranean diet focuses on delicious fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and heart-healthy protein each day. Set yourself up for success by adding these foods to your diet each day:

  • Vegetables: Eat at least three servings of vegetables daily. Try eating vegetables that are in season for extra flavor and nourishment. Sneak vegetables into foods you love, like with this recipe for garlic cauliflower potato mash.
  • Fruit: Eat at least two servings of fruit each day. Serve it on a skewer with a low fat yogurt-based dip for a delicious snack.
  • Protein: Choose a good source of protein, like fish, shellfish, legumes or beans, white meat, lean red meat or eggs, with every meal. Try this almond crusted chicken for a filling and flavorful entrée.
  • Grains: Choose whole grains such as 100% whole-grain or whole wheat bread, 100% whole grain cereals, brown or wild rice. Experiment with grains such as quinoa, barley, bulgar, farro and whole-grain pastas. Give these protein-packed quinoa cakes as an appetizer or side dish.
  • Dairy and Dairy Alternatives: Choose up to 3 servings of dairy or dairy alternatives daily. Choose low fat or fat free milk, yogurt and cheese. Pass on sugar-sweetened dairy products such as yogurt or flavored milks or sweetened milk alternatives. This strawberry banana milkshake uses soy milk and fresh fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth.
  • Healthy fats: Eat healthy fats daily, like walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds. Be sure to count your calories for added fats and nuts into your daily allotment. Use “extra-virgin” or virgin olive oil in place of other fats such as vegetable oil or butter in low temperature cooking.  Here’s a savory and superfood-packed recipe using walnuts to add healthy fat and a tasty crunch.

If you have NASH, how have you changed your diet? What are your go-to healthy recipes?

HELPFUL LINKS

Thank you so much for the information. I have not seen the Dr yet but will look into the Mediterranean diet. Someone today told me they were doing keto only acouple months and their liver enzymes went up!

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The keto diet is not so good..for me at least. MAYO DOCS recommend the Medditeran Diet. Ai cut all salt and sugar…lost weight a d feel better. Im not very strict about it..its just simple logic.

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@jeanne5009

The keto diet is not so good..for me at least. MAYO DOCS recommend the Medditeran Diet. Ai cut all salt and sugar…lost weight a d feel better. Im not very strict about it..its just simple logic.

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@jeanne5009 I am definitely going to have to try this Mediterranean diet out.
JK

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@andys

Hi JK. I have cirrhosis and understand it is not reversible. The study is in Canada, the USA and Britain I believe. I am in Central Ontario, Canada. I'll have more information on Nov. 29 when I start the medication. I will keep you apprised of everything as it becomes known to me. All the best.

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Hello Andrea, hope you are feeling good. How the study is going?

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Hi @antecoco, welcome to Connect. Like you, I would also like to hear from @andys to know what it has been like to be on the study she mentioned.

Antecoco, that is a lovely picture you uploaded. Do you have NASH yourself or are you caring for someone who has NASH?

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@colleenyoung

Hi @antecoco, welcome to Connect. Like you, I would also like to hear from @andys to know what it has been like to be on the study she mentioned.

Antecoco, that is a lovely picture you uploaded. Do you have NASH yourself or are you caring for someone who has NASH?

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I have Nash myself, just got my diagnostic 2 months ago

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@antecoco

Hello Andrea, hope you are feeling good. How the study is going?

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@antecoco I had NASH that led to cirrhosis and a liver transplant om September 2016. By the time I was diagnosed the cirrhosis was advanced. At this point can your NASH be reversed as fatty liver can?

As you progress through this please ask away, anything you would like to hear from those of us who have been there.
I hope you are doing well, stay in touch with your progress.

I agree with @colleenyoung. That is a lovely picture.
JK

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@antecoco

I have Nash myself, just got my diagnostic 2 months ago

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@antecoco, I invite you to take part in the NASH related discussions in the Digestive Health (https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/digestive-gastrointestinal-problems/) and Tranplants groups (https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/transplants/).

Here are some discussions where you can connect with others:
– Diagnosed with NASH. Listed for liver transplant https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/hello-all-my-name-is-howard-and-i-have-been-diagnosed-with/
– NASH and cirrhosis of the liver. https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/nash-and-cirrhosis-of-the-liver/

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My 14yr old son was just diagnosed with fld in October…we did an ultrasound and on the report under indications it says NASH. I am very concerned and have changed his diet drastically! Liver disease runs in my family. My cousin received a liver via living donor last year…however her hemphatic artery was too damaged and she was told she would have to have another transplant…she had another opportunity for another liver but when they got it it was too damaged…finally as her days were numbered and they were calling the family in a young man had an accident and passed and my cousin was given another chance at life! She was 13 when diagnosed with elevated liver enzymes…my son was 14. I am hoping for the best outcome but extremely scared!

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@gsgirl72007

My 14yr old son was just diagnosed with fld in October…we did an ultrasound and on the report under indications it says NASH. I am very concerned and have changed his diet drastically! Liver disease runs in my family. My cousin received a liver via living donor last year…however her hemphatic artery was too damaged and she was told she would have to have another transplant…she had another opportunity for another liver but when they got it it was too damaged…finally as her days were numbered and they were calling the family in a young man had an accident and passed and my cousin was given another chance at life! She was 13 when diagnosed with elevated liver enzymes…my son was 14. I am hoping for the best outcome but extremely scared!

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@gsgirl72007, Welcome to Mayo Connect. I understand your concern and I feel your fear. I am a liver and kidney transplant recipient, so my own experience is all that I have to share. However, I want to be able to support you and to locate some useful information for you.

I looked up some information on the National Institute of Health (NIH) and I learned that Pediatric non-alcoholic fatty liver disease(NAFLD) represents the most common cause of chronic liver disease in childhood. I also read that obesity and features of the metabolic syndrome have been closely linked to NAFLD development.
Since you mentioned that liver disease runs in the family, have the doctors said anything about why this is occurring to other members? Is there a possible connection? Has it ever been discussed?

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@rosemarya

@gsgirl72007, Welcome to Mayo Connect. I understand your concern and I feel your fear. I am a liver and kidney transplant recipient, so my own experience is all that I have to share. However, I want to be able to support you and to locate some useful information for you.

I looked up some information on the National Institute of Health (NIH) and I learned that Pediatric non-alcoholic fatty liver disease(NAFLD) represents the most common cause of chronic liver disease in childhood. I also read that obesity and features of the metabolic syndrome have been closely linked to NAFLD development.
Since you mentioned that liver disease runs in the family, have the doctors said anything about why this is occurring to other members? Is there a possible connection? Has it ever been discussed?

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At this point they know it runs in my family but not much of a discussion about it. They asked if they were obese. Which one is and the other not. My son is overweight but not drastically. We currently have him on a low carb diet but have not seen a lot of weight loss. Of course we cut out all sugary drinks.

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@gsgirl72007

At this point they know it runs in my family but not much of a discussion about it. They asked if they were obese. Which one is and the other not. My son is overweight but not drastically. We currently have him on a low carb diet but have not seen a lot of weight loss. Of course we cut out all sugary drinks.

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@gsgirl72007, Good Morning. I have been thinking about you and your son.
You are already doing the best thing by considering a healthier diet. At the age of 14, I imagine that he has lots of access to junk foods with his peers. How is he reacting to this?
Are you and the family following the same dietary plan? If not, then I might suggest that it might be encouraging to him if you are all doing the same thing. As a transplant recipient, I really try to maintain a heart healthy diet, however, it is hard for me when everyone else seems to be eating anything and everything.
I have read that regular exercise is important. What can you do to encorage him? What can you do as a family so that all of you get exercise? Walking is good. (I know that at 14 that might be a challenge!)

Education is power, when living with a health condition. I want to share this with you – Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease & NASH in Children. I like it because it is specific for children. You can read about each of the following topics: Defifntions & Facts, Symptoms & Causes, Diagnosis, Eating, Diet & Nutrition, Clinical Trials.
https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/liver-disease/nafld-nash-children/symptoms-causes
@gsgirl72007, What do you think about sharing this information with your son? Or read it together?

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