WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- Eating more green leafy vegetables may reduce the risks of developing fatty liver, according to a study published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden showed that a large intake of inorganic nitrate, an ingredient naturally occurring in many vegetables, could reduce fat accumulation in the liver.
Liver steatosis, or fatty liver, is a common liver disease that affects about 25 percent of the global population, but there has been no approved treatment for it until now.
They supplemented dietary nitrate to mice with a high-fat, high-sugar diet, and those mice went with a significantly lower proportion of fat in the liver.
The researchers also observed reduction of blood pressure and improved insulin/glucose balance in mice with type 2 diabetes.
Previous studies have shown that a higher intake of fruit and vegetables has a beneficial effect on cardiovascular function and on diabetes.
"We think that these diseases are connected by similar mechanisms, where oxidative stress causes compromised nitric oxide signalling, which has a detrimental impact on cardiometabolic functions," said Mattias Carlstrom, associate professor at the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at Karolinska.
"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," said Carlstrom.
Carlstrom suggested that we took at least 200 grams green leafy vegetables per day to obtain the protective effects.