Adhering to the Mediterranean diet helps to lower hepatic steatosis. Hepatic steatosis is another term for fatty liver, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is slowly becoming the number one type of liver disease in America. This is primarily due to growing obesity rates.
As fat builds up in the liver, it can lead to health complications including liver fibrosis and liver cirrhosis, which is an irreversible condition and the only treatment is a transplant. A person living with chronic liver disease needs to adhere to healthy lifestyle habits, especially regarding diet, as anything that enters the body becomes processed through the liver. Therefore, if you are consuming unhealthy foods, it can contribute to more fat build up and worsen hepatic steatosis.
The recent study was a cross-sectional analysis of data from two populations – England and Switzerland. Diet was assessed using cohort-specific food frequency questionnaires. Mediterranean scores (MDSs) were calculated based on adherence to the Mediterranean diet pyramid, dietary cut-points derived from published review, and cohort-specific tertiles of dietary consumption. Hepatic steatosis was assessed through ultrasound imaging and fatty liver index and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease score in CoLaus.
In the first population group, NAFLD prevalence was 23.9 percent and 27.1 percent based on ultrasound and NAFLD scores respectively. In the second group, it was 25.3 and 25.7 percent. Higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet had lower prevalence of hepatic steatosis. Even after adjusting for other factors, the relationship remained.
The researchers conclude that the Mediterranean diet is best to slow down progression along with reducing the risk of hepatic steatosis.
The Mediterranean diet consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and lean proteins, olive oil, and a glass of wine. There is little consumption of sugar or processed foods. This diet has also been hailed in improving other areas of health including brain and heart function and so it is a highly recommended style of eating.
- NAFLD diet plan: Dietary guidelines for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
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