7 Essential Liver Health Tips and Habits You Should Start Immediately
6 minute read
Many liver diseases do not present symptoms until serious damage is done, so many people forget that their liver is an organ that needs attention.
Your liver works hard to detoxify your body which puts it at risk for stress and disease. Avoiding the different types of liver disease is essential to a long, healthy life, so here is how to keep your liver healthy and strong.
Treat Your Liver Right
As tough as it is, your liver is still susceptible to disease as a result of dealing with toxins all day long. In addition to this, heavy alcohol consumption and poor eating habits can bring additional harm to your liver.
While liver cells can regenerate, a trait unique among your body’s organs, you don’t want to rely on this. To have a healthy liver, you need to be proactive and work to make changes in your diet and life to boost liver health. Here’s what you can do:
1. Watch Your Weight
Obesity is linked to liver disease by way of having excess fat stored around your body. When fat accumulates around your liver, it leads to scarring.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common form of liver disease and is a direct result of obesity and poor eating habits. Unfortunately, this disease does not always show symptoms, so serious damage may have already been done before you notice a problem.
By watching your weight, you can keep fat levels in your body low and fat cells can be used for energy rather than stored.
2. Keep Moving
Getting regular exercise will play a part in you keeping excess weight off. By burning triglycerides for energy, there is no fat to be stored around your body.
Not only is this good for your liver, but exercise also prompts efficient circulation, allowing your liver to always get the oxygen and nutrients it needs by way of healthy blood flow.
3. Drink Responsibly
While alcohol is certainly a toxin, in moderation it is not so bad for you. The problem occurs with excessive drinking—too much alcohol overworks your liver, causing stress and inflammation.
Cirrhosis and fatty liver disease both occur as a result of excessive alcohol consumption and can lead to liver failure and cancer if not taken care of.
Studies have found that supplements containing selenium can reverse cirrhosis and by quitting drinking you can also reverse fatty liver disease. However, by watching what you drink you can reduce the risk of liver disease in the first place.
4. Avoid Toxins
Besides alcohol, there are other toxins you want to avoid to protect your liver. Overuse of medications can cause toxicity as can exposure to pesticides, certain chemicals, and smoking.
Before using cleaning agents, make sure the room is well ventilated and only use prescribed medication as needed. You should also avoid the use of illicit drugs, especially those that involve needle use.
Liver diseases like hepatitis can be transmitted by unclean needles, so avoiding these all together is your best bet.
5. Be Safe
There are vaccinations for certain liver diseases such as hepatitis, so make sure you get them. You can also protect yourself by practicing safe sex because hepatitis C can be transmitted this way.
6. Be Hygienic
Regular hygiene and hand-washing can also help reduce infections, especially after handling diapers, going to the bathroom, and before and after preparing food.
You should also never share personal hygiene items such as toothbrushes, nail clippers, or razors. Microscopic levels of bodily fluids may be present that can expose you to infection or disease.
7. Feed Your Liver Right
The best thing you can do for your liver is to eat right. By including the right foods in your diet, you can boost liver health and function.
The key to optimal liver health and your overall health is a balanced diet. You want to avoid eating high-fat foods, specifically saturated fats. These are typically found in processed and convenience foods, so by sticking with natural foods you end up eating healthier fats instead.
You also want to avoid high-sugar foods like these, along with high-fat foods, which can increase weight and excess fat in the body. Too much sugar consumption also increases your risk of insulin resistance and diabetes, both of which are linked to systemic inflammation and potential liver issues.
Refined carbohydrates (white bread, white rice, and regular pasta) should also be avoided as can also contribute to fat storage.
For healthier eating, choose whole grains and cereals and fill your meals with fresh fruits and vegetables. You will get all the fiber you need to promote digestive health and keep you trim and healthy.
In addition to this, many fruits and vegetables contain powerful antioxidant compounds that promote liver health and protect it from inflammation and oxidative damage.
As for protein, stick with lean meats and limit the amount of red meat you eat. You want healthy fats over saturated ones, so choose food items that contain monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats.
When it comes to dairy, chose low-fat options. Hydration is essential for liver health as it helps flush away toxins, so make sure you get at least 8 glasses of water a day.
The Bottom Line
The liver is the largest internal organ in your body so you should command some respect. Don’t forget how hard your liver works to keep you healthy and free of toxicity.
A sick or damaged liver is no good to you, but the health of your liver is in your hands. With a balanced diet, exercise, and healthy lifestyle behaviors and choices, your liver (and you) will be clean, healthy, and full of life.