Liver Friendly Desserts: Sweet Treats That Won’t Hurt Liver Health
When eating for liver health, it is recommended that you avoid foods that are high in fat and sugar. Unfortunately, this kicks most yummy desserts squarely out of the window.
But being diagnosed with hepatitis C doesn’t mean that you have to live a life in which your sweet tooth goes forever unsatisfied. There are plenty of delicious, sweet treats that you can still enjoy that are kinder to your liver.
What Can I Eat Sweet with a Fatty Liver?
If the key to a liver friendly diet is avoiding high-fat, high-sugar foods, you may be wondering what types of sweets you can eat.
Here are a few that are known for their liver health benefits while still being sweet in taste:
1. Dark Chocolate
One thing that sets dark chocolate apart from milk or white chocolate is that it is lower in sugar. While this sweet treat is often associated with heart health, research has also found that it has positive effects on liver metabolism—primarily by changing the gut microbiome. (1)
Grab a square of dark chocolate at the end of your meal when you’re craving something sweet. Close your eyes and let it melt in your mouth to fully savor the experience.
2. Fresh Fruit
Just because fruit is healthy doesn’t mean that it can’t satisfy your sweet tooth – because it can! Fruit is also a good choice because it is high in fiber, which is another important foundation of a liver friendly diet. In fact, people who include more fruit in their regular eating plan have a lower risk of fatty liver. (2)
Citrus fruit and blueberries are two fruit that are good when eaten fresh.
3. Baked Fruit
If you want more of a dessert-like experience, some fruit can be baked to provide that warm, fresh-out-of-the-oven texture and taste.
- Pear is a fruit that is good for baking that also promotes liver health by assisting with detoxification. (3)
- Apples are another that have a positive impact on lipid metabolism. (4)
Cut these fruit in half, take out the seeds, and place them on a baking sheet, flesh side up. Sprinkle them with a bit of cinnamon and bake until they are soft and gooey.
4. Frozen Fruit
In the mood for something cold instead? Place some grapes in the freezer and munch on them to cool down while satisfying your sweet tooth at the same time. Grapes have been found to help protect the liver while also being anti-inflammatory and acting as an antioxidant. (5)
Liver Friendly Cookies
Admittedly, there are going to be times when dark chocolate or fruit in any form doesn’t fill the need for a true dessert, especially if everyone around you is enjoying their fill of cookies, cakes, and other sweet treats. If you’re willing to spend a little time in the kitchen, you can make your own liver friendly cookies.
For instance, you could make apple pie oatmeal cookies that use honey instead of sugar to increase the level of sweetness and coconut oil versus butter to provide a healthier fat. Prefer the taste of banana over apple? Swap out the fruit in this recipe and throw in some seeds to increase the amount of fiber.
Pecan cookies are another option. Add some dates to the mix and these sweet treats resemble the flavor of pecan pie.
Liver Friendly Brownies
With a few substitutions, you can also make brownies that taste absolutely amazing and won’t hurt your liver.
One such option is healthy black bean brownies.
This recipe calls for:
- organic black beans
- cocoa powder
- quick oats
- maple syrup
- coconut oil
- and a few other goodies.
Mix it up and, in 18 minutes, you’ll have a sweet and decadent chocolatey dessert.
With Desserts, Moderation is Key
Keep in mind that, just because these desserts won’t negatively impact liver health the way some others might, this doesn’t mean that you can eat them with abandon. As with any foods you choose to include in your diet, moderation is the key to keeping these choices from harming the health of your liver, as well as your overall health.
Pay attention to your portion sizes and make sweet treats more the exception than the rule. This helps you create a diet that is healthier for your liver while giving your taste buds something to look forward to when the craving strikes.
(1) Wiese, M., Bashmakov, Y., Chalyk, N., et al. (2019). Prebiotic Effect of Lycopene and Dark Chocolate on Gut Microbiome with Systematic Changes in Liver Metabolism, Skeletal Muscles and Skin in Moderately Obese Persons. BioMed Research International. doi:10.1155/2019/4625279
(2) Kim S., Shin, S. (2020). Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Among Korean Adults: A Prospective Cohort Study. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. doi:10.1136/jech-2020-214568
(3) Hong, S., Lansky, E., Kang, S., Yang, M. (2021). A Review of Pears (Pyrus spp.), Ancient Functional Food for Modern Times. BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies. doi:10.1186/s12906-021-03392-1
(4) Koutsos, A., Tuohy, K., Lovegrove, J. (2015, April 11). Apples and Cardiovascular Health—Is the Gut Microbiota a Core Consideration? Nutrients. doi:10.3390/nu7063959
(5) Almatroodi, S., Almatroudi, A., Alsahli, M., Rahman, A. (2020, September). Grapes and Their Bioactive Compounds: Role in Health Management Through Modulating Various Biological Activities. Pharmacognosy Journal. doi:10.5530/pj.2020.12.200