March 4, 2024

"The Japanese Diet:A Nutritional Ally In The Battle Against Fatty Liver Disease"

"The Japanese Diet:A Nutritional Ally In The Battle Against Fatty Liver Disease"

A recent study suggests that adopting a Japanese diet could help individuals with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease(NAFLD) to slow down its progression. The research team monitered 136 individuals with NAFLD who were undergoing treatment at OSAKA Metropolitan University Hospital in Japan. The researches assessed the participants diets using the 12-component Japanese diet index (mJD112) which assigns a score based on the degree of adherence to the traditional Japanese diet. The study found that high scores on the mJD112 were linked to a deceleration in the progression of liver fibrosis, a common complication of NAFLD.

Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease(NAFLD) is a condition in which fat accumulates in the liver, which can potentially impair its function. Although there are usually no symptoms, the disease can lead to serious health problems such as kidney disease, cancer and psychological issues.NAFLD is caused by the accumulation of fat in the liver due to an imbalance between fat accumulation and break down, resulting from an excessive intake of saturated fats, processed carbohydrates and calories. Foods that promote NAFLD include hydrogenated oils, fried foods, processed foods, sugary drinks and foods high in salt or trans fat. A recent study has found that the Japanese diet, which is low in fat and includes foods such as soy proteins, seafoods, and seaweed can help suppress the progression of liver fibrosis in people. Soy products are rich in fiber and plant proteins are associated with higher muscle mass.Seafood are rich in omega-3 fatty acid, vitamins, and minerals and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Seaweed is rich in vitamins, minerals and polyphenols.

What Is Fatty Liver

Fatty liver is a condition where excess fat builds up in the liver. Two types of fatty liver are :Alcoholic  Fatty Liver Disease(AFLD) and Non Alcohol Fatty Liver Disease(NAFLD).AFLD caused by excessive alcohol consumption, while NAFLD is associated with metabolic factors such as obesity, insulin resistance and high cholesterol. 

How Does Japanese Diet Differ From A Western Diet?

Japanese diet is consists of fresh fish, seafood, rice, vegetables, soybeans and green tea.It is low in saturated fats, red meat, processed foods and sugary beverages.A Western diet includes high amount of red meat, processed foods, refined grains and sugary drinks.

Can The Japanese Diet Help In Managing Fatty Liver?

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The Japanese diet has been associated with several health benefits:

  • Reduced Saturated Fat Intake: This diet is low in saturated fats, which can contribute  to liver inflammation and fatty liver disease.
  • Increased Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Fish is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties and may help improve liver health.
  • High Fiber Content: This diet includes plenty of vegetables and whole grains, providing dietary fiber that aids digestion and supports liver health.
  • Antioxidant rich foods: Green tea is rich in antioxidants that may reduce stress and inflammation in the liver.

3 Japanese Foods That May Be Beneficial In Fatty Liver

  1. NATTO: Natto is a fermented Soybean dish that is popular in Japan.It is high in protein and contains a unique enzyme called Nattokinase, which has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels and improve blood flow and also helpful in reducing the amount of fat in liver.
  2. DAIKON RADISH: Daikon radish is a root vegetable that is commonly used in Japanese Cuisine. It is rich in antioxidants and contains compounds that may help to reduce inflammation in the body and also helpful in reducing fat build up in the liver.
  3. WAKAME: Wakame is a type of seaweed that is commonly used in Japanese Cuisine. It is rich in iodine which is important for Thyroid function and metabolism and also helpful in reducingfat build up in liver.

Fatty Liver Symptoms

  1. Fatigue and weakness.
  2. Abdominal discomfort or pain in the upper right side.
  3. Loss of appetite and weight loss.
  4. Dark urine and pale-colored stools.
  5. Swelling in the legs and ankles.
  6. Elevated levels of triglycerides and cholesterol.
  7. Spider-like blood vessels on the skin.

Is The Japanese Diet Suitable For Everyone With Fatty Liver?

The Japanese diet can be beneficial for many individuals with fatty liver, particularly those with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease(NAFLD) associated with metabolic factors.It is important that individual responses to dietary changes may vary. Some people may have specific dietary restrictions or medical conditions that need to be considered, so it is always advisable to consult with your doctor or registered dietitian before making any changes to your diet.

Can The Japanese Diet Reverse Fatty Liver?

The Japanese diet may help improve liver health and reduce the severity of fatty liver.However, reversing fatty liver is a complex process that involves multiple factors such as weight loss, physical activity, and  overall lifestyle changes. The Japanese diet can be a part of a comprehensive approach to managing and reversing fatty liver when combined with other healthy habits.

Is Fatty Liver Dangerous?

Fatty liver may not cause immediate harm, if left untreated or unmanaged, it can progress to more serious stages like non-alcoholic steatohepatitis(NASH) characterized by inflammation and liver cell damage, can lead to scarring and fibrosis of the liver.As fibrosis progresses, the liver’s ability to function properly may become impaired, potentially leading to cirrhosis- a severe irreversible condition where healthy liver tissue is replaced by scar tissue. 

Advanced stages of fatty liver disease increase the risk of developing liver-related complications, including liver failure and liver cancer. These complications can be life-threatening and may require advance medical interventions like liver transplantation. Not everyone with fatty liver will progress to these severe stages.Lifestyle changes , healthy diet, regular exercise, avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, maintaining a healthy weight can help and slow down the progression of fatty liver.

The Japanese diet can be beneficial for fatty liver. By focusing on healthy food and some lifestyle changes may help improve liver condition and potentially reverse fatty liver disease. it is important to consult your doctor for personalized advice based on your specific needs. Embracing the Japanese diet and making positive lifestyle changes can be steps towards managing fatty liver and improving overall health.