Green Mediterranean diet could halve risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

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Scientists from Ben-Gurion University and Harvard University found that a green Mediterranean diet reduces fat more than other healthy diets and cuts non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in half.

The research was published in Gut and conducted by Prof. Iris Shai et al.

According to the National Institute of Health, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition in which fat builds up in your liver. Usually, NAFLD is a silent disease with few or no symptoms.

Certain health conditions—including obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes—make you more likely to develop NAFLD.

People may be able to prevent NAFLD by eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight. If you have NAFLD, your doctor may recommend weight loss and diet changes.

The Mediterranean diet is one of the most widely described and evaluated dietary patterns in scientific literature.

It is characterized by high intakes of vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, grains, fish, seafood, extra virgin olive oil, and a moderate intake of red wine.

In the current study, researchers aimed to examine whether a green-Mediterranean diet could effectively reduce the risk of NAFLD.

The green Mediterranean diet is further restricted to red/processed meat and enriched with green plants and polyphenols.

Polyphenols are micronutrients that naturally occur in plants. They’re included in many supplements, though they’re also easy to get into the daily diet from foods like fruits, vegetables, teas, and spices.

The team assigned 294 people with belly fat or high levels of blood fat to the Mediterranean diet, green-Mediterranean diet, and weight-loss diet groups, all accompanied by physical activity.

In both Mediterranean diet groups, people consumed 28 g/day of walnuts (+440 mg/day of polyphenols provided).

The green- Mediterranean diet group further consumed green tea (3-4 cups/day) and Mankai (100 g/day frozen cubes) green shake (+1240 mg/day total polyphenols provided).

The researchers found that overall, NAFLD risk declined to: 54.8% (HDG), 47.9% (MED), and 31.5% (green-MED) in three groups.

Despite similar moderate weight loss in both Mediterranean diet groups, the green- Mediterranean diet group achieved almost double liver fat loss.

After 18 months, both Mediterranean diet groups had much higher polyphenol levels in the body.

Greater liver fat loss was linked to increased Mankai and walnut intake, decreased red/processed meat intake, improved folate levels, and better gut health.

These findings suggest that the strategy of a green-Mediterranean diet, amplified with green plant-based proteins/polyphenols such as Mankai, green tea, and walnuts, and restricted in red/processed meat can double liver fat loss than other healthy nutritional strategies and reduce NAFLD in half.

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