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Mediterranean diet protects against fatty liver
The Christmas holidays are characterized by greasy food and alcohol consumption. For many, the intoxication on New Year's Eve is the end of the days when you can treat yourself to a little more. What is left of the lush days is often a few extra pounds on the scales and a battered liver. Nutrition experts recommend the Mediterranean diet for detoxification.
The non-alcoholic fatty liver is the leading cause of chronic liver diseases. The fatty liver is caused by an abnormal accumulation of fat in the liver. In addition to severe to life-threatening liver diseases such as cirrhosis and liver cancer, fatty liver also promotes the development of type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.
Purify liver with Mediterranean diet
Diet can make a significant contribution to preventing fatty deposits in the liver and is therefore the most important preventive measure for fatty liver in public health. Based on a current study, the American Society of Nutrition recommends the Mediterranean diet to purify the liver.
What is a Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet is not a classic diet based on a nutritional plan, but rather a nutritional concept that is characterized by a high-fiber mixed diet with healthy fats and many fresh ingredients such as vegetables, Mediterranean salads, fish and fresh fruit. The menu also includes pasta, whole grain bread, rice, legumes and extra virgin olive oil as well as fresh herbs and garlic.
According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, a Mediterranean diet that includes the regular consumption of extra virgin olive oil can prevent the formation of fatty liver. Xavier Pinto's team examined 100 older adults with increased risk factors for cardiovascular diseases while following a Mediterranean diet.
Three different groups
The number of calories was not limited. One group should also have a daily serving of nuts, one group received an additional serving of extra virgin olive oil and a third group was recommended to reduce the fat content in the diet.
Extra virgin olive oil seems to protect against fatty liver
The participants were observed over a period of three years. It was found that there was conspicuously little fatty liver disease in the group that also consumed extra virgin olive oil. Only 8.8 percent of the participants in the group had fatty liver disease at the end of the study. The average prevalence in the other groups was 33.3 percent. Why the olive oil seems to have this protective function is currently not known. The underlying physiological mechanisms must first be examined in a further study.
Excess calories are also stored in the liver as fat
The number of calories was not limited in the study. The German Liver Foundation recommends not consuming more calories than the body can consume, because unused calories are stored in the liver in the form of fat, among other things. More information can be found in the article: Minimalism as the key to a healthy liver.
Patience when losing weight
The Mediterranean diet is not a crash diet, but a long-term nutritional concept. In addition to liver health, the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes is also to be reduced. The Mediterranean diet is also said to lower cholesterol and balance fat metabolism. If you want to lose weight using the Mediterranean diet, you should aim for a weight loss of around two kilos per month. (vb)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek
- American Society of Nutrition: A Mediterranean diet rich in extra-virgin olive oil: An important defense against nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (accessed: December 29, 2019), nutrition.org
- Pinto X, Fanlo-Maresma M, Corbella E, u.a .: A Mediterranean Diet Rich in Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Is Associated with a Reduced Prevalence of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Older Individuals at High Cardiovascular Risk. The Journal of Nutrition. 2019, academic.oup.com