According to a recent study, published in the journal PNAS, higher consumption of green leafy vegetables may reduce the risk of developing liver diseases. About 25 percent of the global population suffers from liver steatosis or fatty liver, which is mostly caused by high alcohol consumption and excess body weight. Liver happens to be one of the most important organs of the human body. Not only does it help in secreting bile juice, which aids digestion of lipid fats in small intestine, but also helps in detoxifying chemicals from the body. In order to ensure its smooth functioning, it is imperative to make healthy food choice.
The researchers from Karolinska Institute conducted the study to access how greater intake of inorganic nitrate helps in reducing and preventing fat accumulation in the liver. Inorganic nitrate is present naturally in various types of vegetables.
"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.
As per the findings of the study, not only there was a lower risk of developing fatty liver, but there was also reduction of blood pressure and improved insulin/glucose homeostasis in mice with type-2 diabetes. The findings of the study were substantiated by using two different cell culture studies in human liver cells.
"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 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."
However, there might be limitations to this study as there is still considerable debate about what properties of vegetables make them healthy.
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