According to a new study, the Japanese diet helps slow the progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or human fatty liver disease, in people who have it.
The study found that soy foods, seafood, and seaweed were most strongly associated with slowing the progression of liver fibrosis. The Japanese diet encourages eating high-quality foods and reducing sugar, saturated fat, and sodium intake.

A new study has shown that adopting a Japanese-style diet can help people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) slow the progression of their disease. The study authors tracked the diet and disease course of 136 people with NAFLD treated at the Metropolitan University Hospital in Osaka, Japan.

The researchers rated each person’s diet based on their adherence to the 12-component Japanese Diet Index, or mJDI12. High mJDI12 scores have been associated with slowing the progression of liver fibrosis that accompanies NAFLD.

The Japanese diet consists of 12 foods and food groups:

miso soup
soy products
green and yellow vegetables
green tea
beef and pork

On the Japanese diet, those who ate the most soy, seafood, and seaweed had the most significant suppression of liver fibrosis progression. The researchers also tracked the effect of the diet on muscle mass and found that people who ate more soy products had greater muscle mass, in addition to having a lower rate of fibrosis progression. The study is published in the journal MDPI.

What is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease?

NAFLD is a largely asymptomatic disease in which fat accumulates in the liver, potentially affecting the functioning of the organ, although it does not directly damage it. In case of NAFLD, the person has a higher risk of non-hepatic malignancies such as colorectal cancer, chronic kidney disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, obstructive sleep apnea, hypothyroidism, periodontitis, syndrome polycystic ovaries, psychological problems and growth hormone problems.

The use of excess fats, especially saturated fats, as well as processed carbohydrates: fructose, glucose and sucrose, and an excess of calories lead to an imbalance between the accumulation and breakdown of fats in the liver, with resulting in an accumulation of fat in the liver. Foods high in refined sugars, saturated fats, salt, or trans fats can all promote fatty liver disease by increasing inflammation and insulin resistance and increasing oxidative stress in the body. While fatty infiltration is generally well tolerated, excessive accumulation of lipids – including triglycerides, free fatty acids and cholesterol – in the liver can lead to cellular stress with the generation of reactive oxygen species . Hydrogenated oils, fried foods, juices, sodas, and processed foods are examples of foods that promote NAFLD.

3 foods of the Japanese diet

The three most influential foods cited in the study have their own benefits and share at least one characteristic: They are low in fat. Soy, for example, is high in fiber and plant-based protein that’s low in saturated fat. Additionally, soy is associated with greater muscle mass because it is a complete protein that contains all of the essential amino acids needed to build muscle protein. Seafood (mainly fish) is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins such as D and B2 (riboflavin). Fish is also rich in calcium and phosphorus and is an excellent source of minerals, such as iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium and potassium.

The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of seafood may explain their potentially suppressive effect on fibrosis progression. Japanese seaweed is rich in polyphenols, vitamins and minerals. Most edible seaweed contains a unique set of nutrients, as well as vitamins.

Other Foods That Reduce NAFLD

The Mediterranean diet is another diet known to be beneficial for people with NAFLD. It emphasizes plant-based items, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains and lean meats. An mJDI12 food, green tea is particularly helpful for NAFLD due to its antioxidant content. Green tea has been shown to protect against fatty liver disease because it contains around 200-300 mg of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) in one cup.

Incorporate Japanese elements into your diet

This study emphasizes the possibility of being proactive about health by adding therapeutic foods to help prevent the progression of fatty liver disease. Lack of these nutrient-dense foods in the daily diet can lead to diet-related chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and fatty liver disease
Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seafood, eggs, beans, peas and lentils, unsalted nuts and seeds, low or low fat dairy products, lean meats and Poultry, when prepared with little or no added sugars, saturated fats and sodium, are nutrient dense foods.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the advice of a health professional.