A lot of people today don’t know how vital their liver is to them. The liver plays a key role in the digestive and metabolic functions of the body. Today, we’ll look at the liver, its functions, and most importantly the health tips for a healthy liver. First of all, let me briefly introduce that amazing organ.
The liver is the largest internal organ of the body, weighing about 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds). One interesting fact about this organ is that is possesses the remarkable ability to regenerate. That is, it can regrow itself after significant tissue loss. It is an essential organ that performs a host of important functions in the body. Let’s look at these vital functions the liver performs in your body..
Functions of the liver
1. The liver filters and stores blood in the body.
2. It is responsible for the storage of vitamins and iron.
3. It is responsible for the formation of bile. A liquid that is discharged to the duodenum, and helps indigestion.
4. It is the body’s detoxifier. It detoxifies the harmful things we take in like, alcohol and drugs.
5. The liver metabolizes carbohydrates, protein, and fats.
6. It is involved in the formation of coagulation factors that help in blood clotting.
7. It converts medicines to the form that our body will accept. Without this function, taking drugs would be utterly useless.
Common diseases that could affect the liver
It is also imperative to know some of the common diseases that affect the liver, and they are;
• Liver cirrhosis: This is a liver disease that involves the loss of liver cells, along with scarring of liver tissues. It is mainly caused by alcohol and viral hepatitis.
• Liver cancer: This is the malignant growth of cancerous cells in the liver. It is mainly caused by cirrhosis due to hepatitis.
• Fatty liver: This is the abnormal condition whereby fats or triglycerides accumulate in the vacuoles of the liver. It is said to be caused by being overweight.
• Hepatitis: This is the inflammation of the liver. They are commonly caused by hepatitis viruses, which are five in number A, B, C, D, and E.
• Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD ): This is one of the common causes of fatty liver. It occurs when abnormal amounts of fat is deposited (steatosis) in the liver due to causes other than excessive alcohol use.
I’m sure that by now you’ve come to understand just how essential your liver is to you, as well as common disease that affects it. But to keep the liver working properly, there are certain things you must do. So now let us consider the beneficial health tips for a healthy liver.
10 Health Tips for A Healthy Liver
Taking care of your liver involves certain dos and don’ts that are very easy to implement. Basically, it entails living a healthy lifestyle. Here are 10 vital health tips for a healthy liver.
1. Maintain a healthy weight
Obesity is a major risk factor for developing a liver disease called, fatty liver diseases. Fatty liver reduces the digestion of fat in the liver. Reducing weight will help you avoid this disease and maintain a healthy liver function.
2. Drink alcohol moderately
Avoid or reduce intake of alcohol if you want to maintain a healthy liver. This is because the liver can only process or break down a small amount of alcohol every hour. Regularly drinking excessive alcohol will damage your liver and lead to swelling and scarring. It is recommended to drink just two bottles of alcohol a day for men and just one for a woman.
3. Stop smoking
Smokers are liable to die young because smoking highly increases the risk of liver cancer. Also, harmful chemicals from cigarettes can indirectly damage liver cells. Smoking can lead to three major negative effects on the liver, immunological effects, direct or indirect toxic effects, and oncogenic effects.
4. Eat foods that are good for your liver
Consuming certain foods will boost your liver function. These foods include coconut oil, green tea, raw honey, leafy green vegetables, grapefruit, blueberries and cranberries . They increase levels of glutathione, an essential component in the destruction of free radicals within the body. They also nourish the liver with important minerals. Olive oil has also been said to have positive impacts on liver health.
5. Avoid foods that decrease liver function
There are also certain foods that affect the liver adversely. Foods with excessive sugar, refined foods, non-organic foods, and factory-farmed products.
6. Stop abusing over the counter drugs
If you want your liver to be healthy you need to stop abusing over-the-counter drugs. These are drugs that are taken with a prescription from a doctor or pharmacist. Abusing some of these drugs can harm your liver. For example, acetaminophen, which is a pain reliever that can cause damage if taken in excess amounts over a short period of time. It is also better to avoid illicit drug use to have a healthy liver.
7. Get vaccinated to prevent Hepatitis
Hepatitis A and B are two common diseases of the liver, however, there are safe and effective vaccines that can prevent you from getting hepatitis A or B, or even both. It is recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) that infants between the ages of 12-23 months get their first dose of the vaccine. They’ll need a booster shot 6 to 18 months after taking the first dose.
Adults can take this vaccine too, especially if you stay at or you are visiting an area where hepatitis A or B are very common.
8. Practice safer intercourse with one partner
To avoid liver damage caused by hepatitis A, B and C, you should avoid having multiple partners because it increases the risk of getting the disease.
9. Avoid unsterilized or contaminated needles
Avoid using contaminated needles for tattoos or piercings. They increase the risk of getting hepatitis B and C. Make sure all needles that are used on your body are new or properly sterilized.
10. Avoid inhaling toxins
You also should avoid inhaling toxins from aerosols, insecticides, and pesticides. The toxins from these products can greatly damage your liver cells. Wear a nose mask when making use of such products.
Conclusively, your liver is a vital organ, and keeping it healthy is a prerogative to living a healthy life. Thus, follow this health tips to ensure that your liver functions properly.