Fiber is packed in many of our everyday foods like whole-grain bread and oatmeal, which keeps us feeling fuller longer. But the perks of eating these foods go well beyond keeping our digestive system happy and healthy (goodbye tummy troubles!), new research suggests that consuming fiber can also reduce the chances of developing fatty liver disease.
A recent study published in The Journal of Nutrition looked at whether certain foods were able to decrease liver fat in 1682 participants with an average age of 69-years-old. This study involved participants filling out food frequency questionnaires and undergoing an abdominal MRI to measure their liver fat. Researchers found that consuming red meat was linked to a greater percentage of liver fat because it contains saturated fat, which has been shown to increase insulin resistance and lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Whereas, the study’s authors highlighted that eating plenty of fiber lowered liver fat, which reduces the risk of NAFLD. Previous research has highlighted that fiber can increase the amount and variety of good bacteria in the gut to reduce inflammation and liver damage. While we might feel like our daily fiber intake is enough as is, registered dietitian Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, CPT tells Woman’s World that we could all fit more into our diet: “The average American gets only 14 grams a day when we should be getting anywhere from 28 to 35 grams a day.”
Palinski-Wade notes that there’s generally no downside to having more fiber than the recommended amount, so it’s time to consider delicious foods like beans, lentils, and avocados as go-to meal options. Fruits like blackberries, dragon fruit, and guava are also packed with fiber and can be eaten on their own or with a bowl of yogurt. Not to mention, you can start your morning on a good note with a yummy fiber-packed breakfast featuring a hearty bowl of oatmeal or a piece of rye toast!
Taking fiber supplements can provide an additional way to get the daily recommended amount. Speak with your doctor first to see if they would be a good fit for you.
Think of this as a gentle reminder that fiber is your friend. So eat more of it to lessen your likelihood of having fatty liver disease down the line!