A form of the Mediterranean diet including more green plant matter may reduce the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease by half, according to a new study co-authored by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The so-called green Mediterranean diet—which includes daily consumption of green tea and an aquatic plant called Mankai, both of which contain beneficial compounds known as polyphenols—was also found to reduce liver fat more than the other two healthy diets tested during the study.
The study was published January 18, 2021 in Gut. Senior author was Iris Shai, adjunct professor of nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
During an 18-month clinical trial, the researchers followed 294 adults with abdominal obesity. They were divided into three groups with different dietary regimens: standard nutritional counseling, a Mediterranean diet, and the green Mediterranean diet.
All three groups lost liver fat, but those in the green Mediterranean diet group had the greatest reduction. They dropped an average of 39% of liver fat compared to a 20% reduction with the traditional Mediterranean diet, and 12% with standard nutritional counseling.
Findings from a previous study co-authored by Shai suggested that the green Mediterranean diet could aid weight loss and provide cardiometabolic benefits.
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