Mediterranean Diet With Extra Virgin Olive Oil Could Benefit Liver Disease Patients

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Study Says Med Diet – Which Includes Olive Oil As Fat Source – Linked To Improved Outcomes In Live Disease

Nafld And The Mediterranean Diet
NAFLD And The Mediterranean Diet


  • The Mediterranean Diet, including extra virgin olive oil as main fat source could prevent onset of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) according to new study.
  • Research says symptoms of NAFLD could also be mitigated by adherence to principles of Mediterranean Diet.
  • According to the study, reported in The Olive Oil Times, the Mediterranean Diet could also mitigate symptoms for NAFLD patients.
  • Following a healthy diet, like the Mediterranean diet, can help protect our gut microbiota.
  • Healthy Fats Like Extra Virgin Olive Oil Can Reduce Inflammation Associated Chronic Illness


What Is NAFLD And How Can The Med Diet And Extra Virgin Olive Oil Help?

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is a condition where fat builds up in the liver, also known as steatosis, and can lead to damage and scarring of the organ. This disease is becoming increasingly common, affecting up to 25% of the population.

Despite not being caused by alcohol consumption, it poses a serious threat to your health. Anyone can develop nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, but it’s more likely to occur in those who have high blood sugar, high cholesterol, or are overweight or obese. Its progression over time may cause liver damage, including cirrhosis and fibrosis. It can also increase the risk of contracting or worsening chronic illnesses such as kidney disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Unfortunately, this condition may not cause any symptoms at first, but when it does, it often includes fatigue, abdominal pain and swelling, and yellowing of the skin and eyes. Although nonalcoholic fatty liver disease can have a poor prognosis, a few lifestyle changes, such as increasing physical activity and improving your nutrition, can help to reduce its severity and can prevent it from progressing further.

Isabel Moreno-Indias, co-author of the study and researcher at the Biomedical Research Institute of Málaga, in Spain, told Olive Oil Times:

“Today, there is no medication that can cure NAFLD. All an individual can do is to change lifestyle to reduce the chances of a progression of such a condition.”

“Weight loss, exercise and adopting the Mediterranean diet are crucial,” she added.

Study Findings About Benefits Of The Mediterranean Diet And Olive Oil

Published by Gut Microbes, the study focused on 297 metabolic syndrome patients older than 60 and obese whose health conditions were monitored at baseline.

After one year of adopting and adhering to the Mediterranean diet, researchers re-evaluated the patients’ conditions and divided them into three groups.

“Our research team wanted to focus on the Mediterranean diet intervention,” Moreno-Indias said. “Each group was therefore formed depending on the changes that occurred to the patients during that year.”

Scientists adopted two indices commonly used in research to estimate the Mediterranean diet’s impact: the Hepatic Steatosis Index (HSI) and the Fibrosis−4 score (FIB−4). Both were used to assess the changing degree of each patient’s liver condition.

As explained by The Olive Oil times, the study’s authors found that the more strictly the Mediterranean Diet was followed by patients, the more its beneficial impacts were, including substantial improvements in the gut microbiota.

Gut Microbiota And Healthy Diet Including Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The health of our gut microbiota is closely linked to the food we eat. A healthy diet, like the Mediterranean diet, ensures that we consume the right amount of nutrients to keep our gut microbiota healthy and happy.

The Mediterranean diet is rich in healthy fats, such as extra virgin olive oil, which can help create an environment in the gut that encourages good bacteria to flourish and bad bacteria to diminish. It’s fascinating to know that our gut microbiota has a critical role in maintaining our overall health, and we can keep it in check by cultivating good eating habits. It is essential to eat a healthy diet that feeds the right kind of bacteria in our gut, enabling them to thrive.

Healthy Fats Like Olive Oil Can Reduce Inflammation Associated Chronic Illness

In the study, the changes monitored by the researchers included a reduction of inflammation-associated bacteria, while those responsible for healthy fatty acids production increased. The results imply improved gut health and a decline in the risk of developing several chronic illnesses.

“We found a relation between biochemical changes related to NAFLD and gut microbiota,” Moreno-Indias said in The Olive Oil Times.

Researchers found that patients who benefited more by adopting the Mediterranean diet, who saw their NAFLD markers improve significantly, also showed the highest presence of beneficial gut bacteria.

“These results tell us that lifestyle interventions such as adopting the Mediterranean diet might modulate the gut microbiota and therefore impact metabolic syndrome and liver health,” Moreno-Indias said.

Gut microbiota could also become crucial for NAFLD diagnosis. Francisco Tinahones, a professor of medicine at the University of Málaga and co-author of the study, said NAFLD “is an asymptomatic disease in its early stages, and the lack of non-invasive markers means that when it is diagnosed, it is in an advanced situation, so new biomarkers are necessary for its early detection, and the intestinal microbiota could help.”

“We need to consider that our population sample was very particular and specific, as they were individuals who are not young and who suffer from specific conditions such as obesity and metabolic syndrome,” Moreno-Indias said. “Twenty percent of them suffer from diabetes.”

“What we found is that in this specific sample of the population, adopting the Mediterranean diet, even if for just one year, can improve NAFLD condition and gut microbiota,” she added.

“Having said that, my opinion is that the results we verified on that specific population sample tell us even more,” Moreno-Indias continued. “They tell us that for all segments of the population who do not have NAFLD, adhering to the Mediterranean diet might exert a crucial effect in preventing its onset.”

Specific Eating Pattern Of The Mediterranean Diet Including Olive Oil As The Main Fat.

The Mediterranean Diet is not just a regular diet; it’s a specific eating pattern that is rich in flavors and health benefits. A fundamental aspect of this lifestyle is the use of extra virgin olive oil as the main fat. This golden oil is not only delicious but also offers a plethora of health benefits, such as reducing inflammation, promoting healthy digestion, lowering cholesterol levels, and reducing the risk of heart disease.

The Mediterranean Diet also emphasizes the consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and lean proteins, making it an all-around healthy eating pattern that has been associated with longevity and a lower risk of many chronic diseases.

“The Mediterranean diet is more than a diet. It is a lifestyle, including social eating and exercise, in this context, extra virgin olive oil is the key, as olive oil is the main fat and lipid source of the Mediterranean diet, with all its beneficial characteristics. Without olive oil, there would not be a Mediterranean diet in the first place. In our protocol, the Mediterranean diet is characterized by the presence of olive oil.”

Isabel Moreno-Indias, co-author of the study and researcher at the Biomedical Research Institute of Málaga, Spain