Fatty liver, also known as hepatic steatosis, is a condition in which too much fat accumulates in the liver. Both alcoholic liver disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) fall under this category. Too much fat in the liver can lead to inflammation and liver damage that alters liver function – and therefore blood sugar regulation and fat breakdown. But fat accumulation can be controlled with the help of healthy eating habits. It can not only be prevented from happening but can also be eliminated. The Mediterranean diet is rich in whole grains, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts and legumes and is low in added sugars and meat, and research now shows that following a Mediterranean diet may also be beneficial for fatty liver.

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  1. Is Mediterranean Diet Good For Fatty Liver?
  2. Food in Mediterranean Diet
  3. Does Mediterranean Diet Help Fatty Liver?
  4. Tips For Mediterranean Diet For Healthy Liver
  5. Summary

Some research suggests that eating a Mediterranean diet may help prevent NAFLD. Another study evaluating the dietary intake of 3,220 adults in Iran found that following a Mediterranean diet reduced the likelihood of NAFLD. By consuming Mediterranean diet the following problems can also be improved such as -

Additionally, many of the foods included in the Mediterranean diet, such as olive oil, nuts, non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, and fruits, have been found to be beneficial in preventing or treating NAFLD.

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Olive Oil
Olive oil contains high amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids and beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols, which have antioxidant effects in the body. Consuming olive oil can help lower cholesterol, triglyceride and blood sugar (glucose) levels as well as reduce waist circumference.

The Mediterranean diet contains omega-3 fatty acids from seafood such as salmon, mackerel and tuna. Polyunsaturated fats low in omega-3s that are commonly found in vegetable oils are a risk factor for NAFLD. A diet rich in omega-3 fats may reduce other risk factors for NAFLD, including improving blood sugar regulation, inflammation and oxidative stress.

Whole Grains
Whole grains contain high amounts of fiber and polyphenols. Fiber does not break down in the digestive tract and therefore does not supply any calories to the body. It increases the feeling of satiety even in low calorie diets which plays an important role in weight loss. For people with obesity, weight loss is important and a good way to prevent NAFLD.

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Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are nutrient-dense foods, meaning they contain very few calories and lots of health-boosting compounds. They are a good source of fiber, vitamins, minerals and polyphenols. People who consume large amounts of fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Eating foods traditionally included in the Mediterranean diet may help prevent NAFLD by reducing major risk factors for the condition, including excess weight and type 2 diabetes.

Research into the Mediterranean diet for people with fatty liver is still ongoing but results are beginning to show positive results. There are currently no medications that can directly reduce fat in the liver, so the most important thing is to avoid alcohol and other harmful foods. Losing even just 5-10% of body weight can improve fatty liver outcomes but healthy eating, even if not weight loss, can benefit fatty liver. The Mediterranean diet specifically includes foods that can slow fat accumulation in the liver and reduce frozen fat. A 2021 study of 294 people found a reduction in liver fat in those who followed a Mediterranean diet combined with exercise. Health benefits were also seen in those who consumed a diet with walnuts, green tea and polyphenols. The Mediterranean diet also improves the body's sensitivity to insulin, aids in blood sugar management and prevents fat buildup in the liver. This is important because people with fatty liver may have a slower response to insulin. A 2017 study found that following a Mediterranean diet improved insulin response in people with NAFLD.

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There are no strict rules when it comes to eating the Mediterranean diet, as it is influenced by the cuisines of many countries. This simply involves focusing on eating as much whole grains, fruits and vegetables, legumes, fish and olive oil as possible.

  • Consume Whole Grains , Whole Grains Include Foods Like Oats, Barley, Buckwheat, Brown Rice And Whole Wheat Bread.
  • Include Fatty Fish In Your Diet Two To Three Times A Week. Focus On Foods Rich In Omega-3 Fatty Acids Like Salmon, Mackerel And Sardines.
  • Eat At Least Five Servings Of Fruits And Vegetables Daily. Choose Options Like Tomatoes, Broccoli, Cucumber, Cauliflower, Apples, Berries And Grapes.
  • Use Olive Oil Daily. Use Olive Oil For Cooking Or To Use As A Dressing For Salads.
  • Avoid Alcohol While The Mediterranean Diet Generally Includes Limited Amounts Of Red Wine, People With Fatty Liver Should Avoid Alcohol.
  • Avoid Sugar, Especially Table Sugar

The Mediterranean diet doesn't mean giving up your cultural foods. In fact, it is important that your eating habits include foods that are easily available locally and are essential for the overall health of the body. One thing to keep in mind is that the Mediterranean diet isn't the only lifestyle approach to benefit fatty liver. Rather, losing weight and exercising regularly is also helpful. Maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, and eating a plant-based, low-sodium diet is beneficial for fatty liver and overall health.

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Following a Mediterranean diet may be beneficial in preventing NAFLD and improving or reversing the severity of fatty liver. It may also help with other diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Consult with a healthcare professional to determine if the Mediterranean diet is right for you – and remember that whatever foods you eat should be good for your health and make you feel good when you eat them.

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