Your liver, the second largest organ in the body, breaks down all your foods, removes toxins, clears alcohol and medications. In fact, it performs some 500 critical jobs, including adjusting cholesterol levels, making proteins and bile, which is very essential for digestion of fats – carbs and proteins to some extent.
There are many things you can do to take care of your liver, which could easily trash if you don’t take good care of it. When you talk about liver care, it’s also about avoiding certain things or habits that may be harmful not just for your liver but also for your overall health. Here are a few tips to a healthy liver.
Eat right: Eat a healthy, balanced diet rich in fibre, which you can get from fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, etc. Include lean meat (but limit intake of red meat), low-fat dairy, and healthy fats from nuts, seeds, olive oil, fatty fish in your diet. Avoid or limit high-calorie meals, saturated fat, refined carbs, and added sugars. Drink a lot of water to stay well-hydrated.
Exercise: When you stick to your exercise regime, you aren’t just burning more calories, which helps to keep your weight under control; it also helps you burn triglycerides for fuel, which can help reduce fatty liver disease. Regular exercise helps prevent obesity and various chronic conditions while boosting your mind and overall health.
Watch your drinks: Drinking alcohol in excess can cause many health issues, including liver cell damage and scarring of the liver, resulting in cirrhosis. So, if you do drink alcohol, you may drink it in moderation. Yet, it’s best to discuss with your doctor about what amount is right for you.
Be cautious with herbs and dietary supplements: Herbal and dietary supplements are becoming more popular and being used by many people for specific reasons. But an ‘all-natural’ herbal product that may sound like ‘classic’ health food can be bad for your liver.
According to the American College of Gastroenterology, liver disease, particularly drug-induced liver injury, is on the rise as a result of increased use of herbal and dietary supplements.
Take steps to prevent hepatitis: There are a number of things you can do to prevent or reduce your risk of getting viral hepatitis, a serious disease that harms your liver. These include:
- Getting vaccinated – there are vaccines that can help prevent hepatitis A and B.
- Practice good hygiene – washing hands using soap and clean water after using the bathroom, before preparing or eating food can help avoid getting hepatitis A, which is spread from contaminated food or water or through contact with an infected person.
- Practice safe sex – unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners puts one at risk of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, which are transmitted via blood and bodily fluids. Avoid sharing needles and other personal items like toothbrushes, razors to reduce your risk.
Additionally, try to steer clear of pesticides and other toxins from cleaning and aerosol products – that can damage your liver. Make sure that you read the warning labels on the chemicals and wear a mask before using them.
Adopt a healthy lifestyle and watch out for certain medicines that can have a side effect, causing liver problems. Always speak to your doctor before using any dietary supplements or herbal remedies.