Konichwa! Are you tired of the usual boring diets? Why not try the Japanese diet, a way of eating that has been linked to good health outcomes and longevity? Not only is it delicious and full of flavor, but it can also prevent the risk of fatty liver. Let’s read all about the Japanese diet.


Picture this: You’re seated in a traditional Japanese teahouse, surrounded by the vibrant colors and flavors of a hearty feast. Take a bite out of the grilled salmon, savoring the delicate balance of flavors and textures. As you sip on a cup of green tea, you can feel your body thanking you for feeding it the goodness of the Japanese diet. The Japanese have long life spans and are known for their low rates of chronic diseases, including fatty liver. Fatty liver is a condition in which there is excessive accumulation of fat in the liver, which can lead to inflammation and scarring of the liver. The Japanese diet has been shown to be effective in the prevention and treatment of fatty liver. Let’s take a look at what the Japanese diet is all about and how it can help protect your liver and overall health.


What is the Japanese diet and its benefits?

The Japanese diet is a way of eating that has been linked to good health outcomes and longevity. At its core, it emphasizes balance, mindful eating, and a focus on whole foods and seasonal produce. By following these principles, the Japanese diet has been shown to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, including fatty liver disease, says Shalini Arvind, chief dietitian, Fortis Hospital, Bengaluru.

One of the key components of the Japanese diet is the emphasis on plant-based whole foods. Arvind explains that vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes are staples in this way of eating, providing abundant fiber, antioxidants, and other phytonutrients that can help prevent inflammation and oxidative damage to the liver. Fish and seafood also feature prominently, providing a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory and heart-protective effects.

You can reduce the risk of fatty liver with the Japanese diet! Image Courtesy: Freepik

The nutrition expert further explains that another unique feature of the Japanese diet is the concept of hara hachi bu, which means “eat up to 80% satiety.” It basically helps in reducing calorie intake and leads to weight loss. This mindful eating practice helps you avoid overeating and the potential for weight gain and digestive discomfort that can come with it. In fact, despite consuming a relatively high-carb diet, the Japanese have one of the lowest obesity rates in the world, says Arvind.

Japanese diet means eating only until you are 80% full! Image courtesy of: Adobe Stock

How does the Japanese diet help with fatty liver?

When it comes to fatty liver disease, the Japanese diet has been shown to be effective in reducing the risk. Arvind explains that by limiting your intake of red meat, processed foods, and sugar, and focusing on whole, plant-based foods, the Japanese diet supplies your liver with the nutrients it needs to function optimally and prevent damage.

According to a recent study published in the MDPI Journal, the Japanese diet is high in complex carbohydrates, such as rice and noodles, which have a low glycemic index. This means they are digested slowly, resulting in a gradual release of glucose into the bloodstream. This helps stabilize blood sugar levels, which can reduce the risk of fatty liver.

This cross-sectional study investigated the association between dietary patterns, skeletal muscle mass, and liver fibrosis severity in Japanese patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The study found that the Japanese dietary pattern was associated with the severity of liver fibrosis in Japanese patients with NAFLD. The study revealed that consuming more soybeans and soy foods, fish and shellfish, and seaweed as part of the Japanese diet was linked to a reduced likelihood of advanced fibrosis.

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What does the Japanese diet include?

The Japanese diet is a plant-based whole food diet that emphasizes balance, variety, and moderation. Here are some of the foods and food groups typically included in the Japanese diet:

1. Vegetables: The Japanese diet places a heavy emphasis on vegetables, which are often eaten raw, pickled, or undercooked. Some of the more common vegetables include daikon radish, eggplant, green beans, bamboo shoots, and mushrooms.

2. Fruits: Fruit is also a regular part of the Japanese diet, with seasonal fruits such as persimmons, strawberries, peaches and grapes to be enjoyed in moderation.

3. Whole Grains: The Japanese diet includes a variety of whole grains such as rice, barley, soba and millet. These grains are often served as a side dish or as the base for a stir-fry or noodle dish.

4. Seafood: Fish and seafood are an important part of the Japanese diet, with an emphasis on small, fatty fish such as mackerel, sardines and salmon. Seafood is often eaten grilled, boiled, or in soups and stews.

The Japanese diet includes fatty fish which is also known to help with fatty liver. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Read also: Sushi for weight loss: is the rice dish healthy?

5. Legumes: Legumes such as soybeans, tofu and edamame are a common source of protein in the Japanese diet. These foods are often eaten as a side dish or incorporated into soups and stews.

6. Fermented Foods: Fermented foods such as miso, soy sauce and natto are staples in the Japanese diet and provide beneficial bacteria for gut health.

7. Green Tea: Green tea is a traditional drink in Japan and is often consumed throughout the day. It is known to be a rich source of antioxidants which can offer many health benefits.

8. Snacks: Traditional Japanese snacks such as rice crackers, dried seaweed, and mochi (sweet glutinous rice cakes) are often eaten in moderation.

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