Liver health

/Liver health

What You Should Know About Your Liver Health

The liver is a dynamic organ with several vital responsibilities in your body and keeping it in good condition means adopting healthy habits that improve or maintain liver function. Almost 4 million adults suffer from liver disease in the United States and twelve people per 100,000 residents die each year due to complications from liver disease.

Fortunately, there are herbal remedies and healthy behaviors that can help reduce the likelihood that you’ll develop liver disease or experience poor liver function. Here’s what you need to know about keeping your liver healthy.

How to Keep a Healthy Liver

Adopting healthy behaviors may improve your overall health, as well as improve your liver function. The liver is responsible for taking the toxins out of your body and filling your body with foods and drinks that are difficult to detoxify can tire your liver and create health problems. For example, when you drink a lot of alcohol you may experience feeling ill the next morning because your liver hasn’t yet been able to detoxify the amount of alcohol that you’ve introduced into your system.

One beneficial behavior to encourage liver health is to eat a diet that’s high in fiber. Fiber helps regulate the absorption of sugar in your body. Your liver is the organ responsible for converting sugar into glucose, and a diet high in fiber reduces the speed at which your liver must create glucose.

Similarly, a diet low in “simple” sugars like those in refined grains, candy bars, and sugary snacks can make it easier for your liver to do its job. Avoiding foods that come in packages and have two dozen ingredients on the box is an easy way to make sure you’re not introducing too much sugar or simple carbohydrates into your body. Reducing the sugar you consume can have the added benefit of helping you lose weight.

You may also wish to seek out fresh, farm-raised lean protein for your diet in order to avoid consuming synthetic hormones and antibiotics. Some antibiotics have been shown to increase liver enzyme levels in the blood, which are a sign of an inflamed or injured liver. Taking antibiotics responsibly and reducing your consumption of antibiotics in the food you eat can reduce the work your liver must do to keep your body free of toxins.

The Importance of Liver Health

Having a healthy and functioning liver is crucial for your overall health. Milk thistle and turmeric are great natural herbs for boosting the liver’s ability to perform its vital functions. Benefits from the consumption of these herbs include eliminating toxins and enhanced immune response effects.

As well, other beneficial natural foods to support liver health include grapefruits, beets, carrots, garlic, leafy greens, avocados, apples, olive oil, walnuts, and cruciferous vegetables.

Adopt a healthy diet where you eliminate toxins like alcohol and tobacco and eat natural whole foods, whole grains, and organic lean protein. If you change your lifestyle, you will never have to worry about your liver because it will function efficiently within your body.

What You Should Know About Your Liver Health 2018-09-25T17:44:25+00:00

Loving Your Liver

Nearly everything that enters your body will eventually filter through your liver. This humble but critical football-sized organ sits underneath the ribcage on your right side. As part of the digestive system, it has two main functions. The first function is that it works with the gallbladder to produce bile, which breaks down the fat in the foods you eat. The second function is that it stores glucose, a form of sugar that the body’s cells use for fast energy. If it can’t do those jobs, your body will not get the nutrition it needs, and every cell in your body will suffer.

Is Your Liver Stressed?

Keeping your liver healthy is an essential part of keeping your whole body healthy. Unfortunately, several things can stress your liver, including:

  • Alcohol
  • Hepatitis
  • Poor diet and obesity
  • Tobacco and marijuana
  • Toxins from other sources, such as medications and the environment

While alcohol and hepatitis are the leading causes of liver problems, ultimately, anything that causes inflammation can lead to liver damage. For example, obesity and poor nutrition can cause fat build up around the liver, preventing it from working effectively. In fact, the damage of a fatty diet is similar to the damage of alcohol.

Studies show that as many as half of all liver cancers are related to smoking. This is due to the toxins that are breathed in with the smoke. Environmental toxins such as BPA and chlorine as well as common medications can have an equally toxic effect on the liver over time. As they accumulate, they overwhelm your system and could require a cleanse to ensure maximum liver health and function.

Once you are suffering from chronic inflammation, your liver is at risk of developing fibrosis and scar tissue, which can lead to poor function, disease and cirrhosis. Proper nutrition, limited alcohol consumption, toxin avoidance, and rest are essential for the recovery.

How Important Is the Liver, Anyway?

As one of your body’s largest organs, the liver has more than 500 jobs. After a meal, the liver helps process what you ate and sorts the food into one of three categories: nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and toxins. The nutrients are transformed into energy, the vitamins and minerals are stored for later use, and the toxins are filtered so that they can be eliminated. If your liver isn’t working the way it should be, every other system in your body could potentially be at risk.

Common signs that your liver is struggling include:

  • Skin problems
  • Changes in urination or bowel habits
  • Fatigue
  • Digestive problems

When your liver cannot properly filter toxins out of your body, they will start to accumulate underneath your skin, which is why it is often the first place to show signs of liver problems. Your skin might feel hypersensitive or itchy, or it may be discolored or noticeably yellow as the toxins build up.

Urine can also darken. While urine is typically clear as long as you are well-hydrated, if your liver isn’t doing its job, your urine might become darker yellow or even syrupy in color.

As well, if you are excreting bilirubin, a substance that is formed when blood cells are broken down, your stools might be tar-colored, but they could also be bloody or pale.

If you’re feeling fatigued, that’s a sign that your body is trying to heal itself. It takes a lot of energy to recover from stress and inflammation, and you need plenty of rest.

When the liver is compromised digestion is compromised, as the liver is a vital component of your digestive system. This can result in difficulty processing and absorbing necessary nutrients, and may lead to malnutrition.

How Can I Keep My Liver Healthy?

A healthy body equals a healthy liver, and the same habits that will keep your body healthy can also help to keep your liver healthy. However, you can take things a step further with foods and habits that specifically support healthy liver function.

  • Leafy greens and other produce
  • Drink water
  • No alcohol and smoke-free lifestyle
  • Hepatitis testing
  • Regular exercise

Dark, leafy greens contain chlorophyll, a pigment that traps light energy in plants but helps to purify blood by removing heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides. Spinach, kale, arugula, and dandelion greens are all good choices. Apples, as well as other fruits and veggies, contain critical nutrients that support healthy liver function. If you don’t want to eat an apple a day, try avocados, berries, asparagus, beets, garlic, cilantro, carrots, mushrooms, and other fresh, flavorful produce.

Drink plenty of water. Your whole body needs water to function properly, and your liver especially needs it to help flush out toxins..

Because alcohol is especially toxic to your liver, you should consider eliminating alcohol completely.  Smoking is even more toxic, so living a smoke-free lifestyle is even more important. If you smoke, consider completing a smoking cessation program.

Viral hepatitis, or types A, B and C, are contagious. Talk to your doctor about your risk factors and whether or not you should be tested. Your doctor can test to determine if you have hepatitis, how contagious you are, and if your treatment is working. You can even be tested to determine if you have immunity to it.

Finally, exercising regularly is extremely beneficial. Cardiovascular exercise helps keep your lungs and heart strong, while strength training builds muscle strength. Both work together to maintain your weight, your immune system, and protect your liver. In fact, exercise works with a healthy diet to prevent fatty liver disease, which can be just as dangerous as alcoholic liver disease.

Happy Liver, Happy Life

Your liver takes such good care of you and your body.  Eliminate the toxic habits that are detrimental to your liver like smoking and drinking alcohol. Take care of your liver with healthy daily habits that include rest, good nutrition, and exercise, and it will keep filtering out the toxins so that you can stay strong, healthy, and lead a vibrant life!

Loving Your Liver 2018-07-09T15:42:19+00:00