Ayurveda and You: A Guide to Treating Fatty Liver

Ayurveda and You: A Guide to Treating Fatty Liver

More than three million cases of fatty liver are diagnosed each year in the United States, and most cases are diagnosed between the ages of 40 and 60.

It is perfectly normal to have some amount of fat in the liver. However, an overabundance of fat can interrupt the normal liver function. “Fatty liver” occurs when the fat in the liver accounts for more than 5 to 10% of your liver’s weight. In many cases, fatty liver has no symptoms and does’t usually cause permanent damage unless it progresses. Unfortunately, it can become harmful to the liver if its underlying causes aren’t recognized and treated in a timely fashion.

There are two main types of fatty liver disease: alcoholic liver disease (ALD) and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Alcoholic liver disease is relatively straightforward: its caused by an over-consumption of alcohol. That being said, ALD can also be caused even by a short period of heavy drinking.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is more likely to affect those who are middle-aged and overweight or obese. Some causes include: diabetes, medications, viral hepatitis, autoimmune liver disease, fast weight loss, malnutrition, and improper diet. These are the most common causes cited in medical literature. However, I would like to add one other very important etiological factor: the consumption of polyunsaturated vegetable oils. I am stating this based on my years of experience in treating fatty liver disease. I have treated many patients who held a good diet. They eat home-made foods, stay loyal to good milk and yogurt, practice vegetarianism, and avoid leftovers. And yet, they developed a fatty liver. The only mistake they made was cooking with vegetable oils (thinking that ghee was bad for them since it contains cholesterol). These oils, such as peanut, mustard oil, safflower, sunflower, canola, corn, margarine, etc., are highly unstable since they are polyunsaturated, and hydrogenate when heated, forming free radicals and oxidation.

When you swallow these oils, they damage the liver (and when they get into the arteries, they damage the lining there as well, causing a buildup of plaque). Ghee does not hydrogenate when cooked and is very easy for the liver to digest.

The truth is that many people are harboring some level of a fatty liver, especially if they grew up on vegetable oils (which is most of us!). In the beginning, it occurs at just the cellular level. If you stop eating bad fats and clean up the diet in other ways, it is fairly easy to reverse the fatty liver. However, if poor eating habits continue, or if the person continues to drink alcohol, a fatty liver will continue to worsen. Though you may not get symptoms in the early years, if the liver damage continues, you can develop symptoms such as fatigue, loss of weight or appetite, weakness, nausea, confusion or trouble concentrating.

The good news about the liver is that it is very good at rejuvenating itself. And the best herb to use for this is Mankand. This extremely rare herb is available in glyceride drop form. You can take three drops in 24 oz room temperature alkaline spring water. It could take a few years to totally reverse a fatty liver, so just keep taking it long-term to insure the best healing.

Vaidya also gives us other good herbs for the liver, such as bhumi alma, which is great for cooling the heat in the liver and bringing the intelligence back to the organ. Also, if the liver is too hot (hot ranjaka in the pulse) you can put DGL Cream down the spine and on the liver to cool it down. In much the same way, you can put liver clay on the liver for 10 minutes a day to pull the heat out of the liver.

Liver Pro glyceride drops are recommended for cleaning the liver. The best foods are bitter gourd (karela or bitter melon), Loki squash and beets. Artichokes and dandelion are also very good as well.

A couple of cautionary notes: Vaidya always warned us not to buy turmeric from Indian markets as there is a chance, they could be a white powder with a yellow dye sprayed on them. Make sure your turmeric is organic. Vaidya ground up the turmeric and dried it for us. He also recommended avoiding eating the fresh turmeric root, which was too warm for the liver to heal. Also, be careful and select in your purchase of ghee. Much of the ghee produced in India is made from hydrogenated vegetable oils and are contributing to much of the coronary artery disease we are currently seeing in many people from India. As this ghee damages the liver, it is causing much of the diabetes we are also seeing in our Indian patients (in addition to the fact that Indians, like Americans, continue to eat vegetable oils, heating them at high temperatures as they fry their spices in them).

The ancient doctors were correct in stating that one should take very good care of the liver, since it was deemed the most important organ in the body. This is because the liver cleans the blood for the brain and other organs, it controls cholesterol, blood sugar, breaks down hormones, makes bile, is the seat of digestion and detoxification, makes glutathione, processes Vitamin D and thyroid hormones, to name a few of its many functions.

If you take care of this very important organ, eating good fats and oils, avoiding leftovers, and cooking at home – you will be rewarded with excellent health, avoiding heart disease, diabetes and many other diseases plaguing mankind today.

Contributor: Dr. Marianne Teitelbaum-Holistic Healing News .

Five Ways to Eat Yourself Healthier

Five Ways to Eat Yourself Healthier

Dietary supplements and so-called “superfoods” have become big business in the food, health and sports nutrition industries, bringing connotations of health, wellbeing and overall improvement — both physically and mentally.

But the term superfood is not recognized clinically nor readily acknowledged among nutrition experts and the evidence for supplementation has now moved in favor of balanced diets over popping pills of single nutrients.

Experts maintain that the right diet can not only control weight, but also help to keep diseases at bay by fighting the stressors our bodies encounter on a regular basis, including lack of sleep, poor diet, lack of exercise and general stress at work. These stressors can reduce our physical and mental performance and even lead to chronic diseases such as heart failure or diabetes.

So rather than which foods are “super,” we asked experts which foods are useful to include as part of a balanced diet, to keep our bodies fit and healthy.

Bold berries

Be it blueberries, strawberries, cranberries or others, the berries are the most researched food group in terms of health benefits to both mind and body. Cranberries are recognized in fighting urinary tract infections and blueberries have been found to protect the brain from stress and improve cognitive factors such as memory. “Blueberries have been shown to even lower blood pressure,” says Joy Dubost, spokesperson for the U.S. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Scientists at Tufts University, including Barbara Shukitt-Hale, have been researching the cognitive benefits of consuming berries on a regular basis. “The berries are the top … they seem to have a multitude of neuronal benefits,” she says, referring to her team’s findings of blueberries improving the communication and signaling between nerve cells. “We’ve shown that blueberries improve your memory.”

So how much is enough? “A cup a day,” suggests Shukitt-Hale.

The actual components improving brain functions such as memory are not yet understood but trials in animals, and more recently humans, have shown a link between the two and the berries are known to be packed full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which can protect against stressors such as aging, smoking, or consumption of high-fat diets. But eating them doesn’t offset the impact of a poor overall diet “They’re not going to make you superhuman,” warns Shukkitt-Hale.

Research into the benefits of berries in the fight against cardiovascular conditions has been led by Eric Rimm, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. “There really is a strong association with decrease in blood pressure, heart disease and stroke,” he says. The anti-inflammatory compounds in the berries are thought to fight the inflammation caused by daily stress. In research conducted with NASA berries have also shown protection in rats against radiation damage in space, according to Shukitt-Hale.

Go nuts

Whilst this food group as a whole provides benefits to your health, the team at Tufts have identified the perfect storm of compounds inside the walnut. As well as improving memory, they have also been shown to improve bodily movement and control. According to Shukitt-Hale, the walnut contains a multitude of compounds including polyphenols, melatonin, folate, and omega-3. “Systematically they all work together,” she says. If these compounds were consumed in high doses individually, they could be toxic, but “there’s something about the matrix that works together to prevent being toxic.”

Dubost points out the benefits of nuts in general. “It’s all about healthier oils in the body to help protect against heart disease,” says Dubost, although she warns of caloric intake if consuming too many nuts. “[there’s a] high level of fat in them.

” The presence of omega-3 fatty acids can help offset deficiencies in those who dislike eating fish as the version found in the nut can be converted within the body. “If you hate fish, that fatty acid can help substitute for that,” adds Rimm who believes eating the right oils should be a message made loud and clear. “A high fat diet is not bad, you just need the right fats.”

Marvelous mushrooms

“The fungal kingdom is amazing,” says Dubost, whose previous research explored the beneficial antioxidants found in mushrooms ranging from the more common button mushroom, to Portobello, shiitake and oyster mushrooms.

“A lot of people don’t think of mushrooms as being nutritious,” she says. “But they’re really nutrient-dense.” Dubost is keen to stress the importance of compounds other than essential nutrients, such as protein and vitamins, and to highlight those such as antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds and others which aid with gene regulation in the body. Mushrooms have been found to be high in potassium, B-vitamins, and antioxidants such as ergothioneine, as well as low in calories, according to Dubost.

However, research into this food group is in its early stages meaning long-term studies of their impact are yet to take place.

Hidden depths of wholegrain

Wholegrain has long been advocated as a component of a healthy diet but its often thought of as a source of fiber, Rimm is keen to point out a lesser appreciated component, in the form lignin.

Lignin is the tough component found in grains which can be broken down by gut bacteria to produce polyphenols with anti-inflammatory properties. This in turn can aid towards lowering blood pressure. The greater the grain, the greater the benefit. “The more grain you can physically see in the bread, the better,” says Rimm.

Coffee break

“A lot of studies have been initiated trying to find something wrong with coffee,” says Rimm, who explains that it has instead been found to be linked to lower rates of diabetes.

The polyphenol in coffee — chlorogenic acid — is a strong antioxidant. “It’s likely to be influencing insulin,” says Rimm, who thinks its protective effects against diabetes stem from this influence, aiding the body’s ability to absorb glucose more readily and put less stress on the pancreas.

Of course, coffee doesn’t agree with everyone and causes side effects such as headaches and insomnia in some people.

The Big Picture

At the core of it all is regularity, as these nutrients are quickly cleared out of the body once consumed. But equally crucial is the variation as highlighted by all three experts. “With superfoods, people want exotic, but many products in your back yard will be beneficial,” says Dubost. “It’s all about major food groups and a variety.” Or as Shukett-Hale puts it, “It’s not about should I eat blueberries or mushrooms, it’s about, ‘should I eat blueberries or chips?'” Not even a food claiming to have superpowers can compensate for a bad diet alongside it.

Contributor: Meera Senthilingam- CNN