Washington DC: Consuming a higher amount of green leafy vegetables can help reduce the risk of developing liver disease, a new study has suggested.
Liver steatosis or fatty liver is a common disease that affects approximately 25 per cent of the global population. The most important causes are overweight or high alcohol consumption and there is currently no medical treatment for the disease.
In a study published in the journal PNAS, researchers from Karolinska Institute showed how a larger intake of inorganic nitrate, which occurs naturally in many types of vegetable, reduces accumulation of fat in the liver. They also showed how a greater intake of inorganic nitrate can prevent the accumulation of fat in the liver.
"When we supplemented with dietary nitrate to mice fed with a high-fat and sugar Western diet, we noticed a significantly lower proportion of fat in the liver," said Mattias Carlstrom, a researcher.
Their results were confirmed by using two different cell culture studies in human liver cells. Apart from a lower risk of steatosis, the researchers also observed a reduction of blood pressure and improved insulin/glucose homeostasis in mice with type 2 diabetes.
"We think that these diseases are connected by similar mechanisms, where oxidative stress causes compromised nitric oxide signaling, which has a detrimental impact on cardiometabolic functions," said Carlstrom. "We now demonstrate an alternative way to produce nitric oxide, where more nitrate in our diet can be converted to nitric oxide and other bioactive nitrogen species in our body."
Even though many clinical studies have been done, there is still considerable debate about what properties of vegetables make them healthy.