Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease affects between 20 and 30% of rich countries. The condition can lead to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular risk and intestinal dysbiosis.
This study by Ben Gurion University (BGU), published in the journal Gut, reveals the remarkable preventive and curative effect of a Mediterranean diet, still enriched with plants (“green-Mediterranean diet”) which allows dividing by two the amount of fat accumulated in the liver.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is characterized by a high-fat ratio in the liver, i.e. 5 to 10% of its weight. The study shows that a green Mediterranean diet, further supplemented with polyphenols, is the most effective in generally and sustainably reducing a fatty liver.
These polyphenols, present in walnuts and Mankai, seem to play a significant role in reducing liver fat.
A new “green Mediterranean diet” that removes fat from the liver
Lead author Dr Iris Shai, an epidemiologist at BGU and lecturer at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and his team, has worked to improve the Mediterranean diet further to minimize the hepatic fat that s’ accumulates with sometimes severe effects including the development of diabetes or cardiovascular disease. No drug is currently ready to treat fatty liver disease, and the only intervention is weight loss.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
This clinical trial, called Direct-Plus, tested this new green Mediterranean diet, rich in vegetables, including a daily intake of nuts (28 grams) and deficient in processed and red meat. Therefore, the classic Mediterranean diet is enriched with green components, rich in polyphenols, including 3-4 cups of green tea/day with 100 grams of Mankai, an aquatic green plant also recognized as duckweed rich in bioavailable proteins. , iron, vitamin B12, vitamins, minerals and polyphenols.
A natural and nutritional strategy: “This intervention targeted on lifestyle is proving to be very effective in reducing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease beyond weight loss”, underlines the author: the trial which followed for. Eight months 294 participants aged around 50 and suffering from abdominal obesity, invited to follow either a healthy diet, a Mediterranean diet, or finally, a green Mediterranean diet, as well as a physical exercise program, shows that:
If each diet allows a reduction in liver fat, the green Mediterranean diet allows the most substantial decrease in liver fat (-39%), vs the traditional Mediterranean diet (-20%) and adherence to nutritional recommendations (- 12%);
- these results remain significant after adjustment for weight loss;
- the green Mediterranean diet allows a dramatic reduction in fatty liver disease:
- from 62% (prevalence among participants) at baseline to 31.5% in the intervention group!
Specifically, a greater consumption of Mankai and nuts and less consumption of red / processed meat is significantly associated with the extent of liver fat loss. The two “Mediterranean diet” groups also show elevated plasma total polyphenol levels.