Mediterranean diet and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: molecular mechanisms of protection.
Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2016 Aug 2:1-10. Epub 2016 Aug 2. PMID: 27484357
Nutritional habits modifications have shown an important impact in preventing and ameliorating metabolic alterations, such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Among several dietary approaches that exert positive effects in NAFLD patients, the Mediterranean dietary pattern has shown notable benefits. This review explores the molecular mechanisms through which the Mediterranean diet would improve risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome and NAFLD. The main features of the Mediterranean diet acting on metabolism are represented by its whole-grain and low glycemic index cereal-based items, its fatty acid profile, and its content in phytochemical compounds. Carbohydrate-rich foods high in dietary fiber inducing low glycemic response are able to interact with glucose and insulin metabolism. Unsaturated fatty acids are associated with better hepatic lipid metabolism. Finally, phytochemical compounds, such as dietary polyphenols, are thought to ameliorate inflammation, which is considered one of the mechanisms through which NALFD may evolve into nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).