Your liver is the largest solid organ in your body, and because of that, it plays one of the most important roles. In addition to storing energy, it also acts as your body’s natural filter — removing all the bad toxins and waste from your system. A healthy liver is a key to maintaining all the regulatory and metabolic functions needed for optimal health, so use these tips for better liver health to keep this important organ in top shape!
If you’re overweight, you’re in greater danger of having a fatty liver. Obesity — particularly abdominal obesity — puts you at greater risk for developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which can lead to serious liver damage if left untreated.
Weight loss plays an important part in reducing liver fat. If you’re able to detect high levels of liver fat early on, it becomes easier to manage. By reducing weight, you can stop NAFLD in its tracks and prevent other associated health diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
The first step to maintaining a healthy weight and a healthy liver is to eat the right balanced diet. Avoid saturated fat, refined carbohydrates, and sugars. Try not to eat high-calorie meals frequently as well.
For a good diet, include enough fiber — this directly improves your liver health. Fiber can be obtained from fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as whole grains, rice, and cereal.
Also make sure to eat enough meat (try to even out the amount of red meat, poultry, and seafood so that you don’t have too much of one), dairy, and good fat. Good fats are taken from vegetable oils, seeds, nuts, and fish.
In addition to foods, hydration is essential to liver health. Make sure to drink enough water for your height, weight, and lifestyle, as too much or too little water can cause liver problems.
Lastly, consider the coffee and tea that you’ve been drinking. While caffeine can detoxify your body, too much of the wrong coffee and tea can hinder your liver functions. Take care to use less acidic brands, such as Bonavita’s 8-in-1 Coffee, to protect your liver.
When you exercise regularly, it helps to burn the excess fat from your body — including liver fat. Consistent exercise is key to a healthy liver and helps to decrease the stress experienced by the organ. It also increases your energy levels and helps your liver perform more effectively. Lastly, exercise prevents obesity — which is a factor for liver disease. It is recommended to aim for about 150 minutes of exercise per week, which can be as easy as a brisk walk around your neighborhood.
Toxins can be filtered out by the liver, but if you expose yourself to too much the organ will not be able to keep up. These toxins can injure liver cells and cause extensive damage.
Try to limit direct contact with cleaning products, insecticides, and aerosol sprays. When using these products, try to use them in well-ventilated areas, and wear a mask when you can.
Another tip is to avoid smoking. Cigarette smoke contains toxins that are linked to the development of several types of cancer — including liver cancer. Smoking tobacco and taking medication can also enhance the toxic effects that can be produced by certain drugs, which negatively affect the liver.
Many people find that the optimal treatments for liver health are a combination of standard treatments and herbal supplements. They take this combination for its ability to not only address liver problems but also for its ability to protect their liver from future diseases.
Some of the ingredients found in liver supplements on the market are:
Milk Thistle, also known as Silymarin. Supplements using this herb use the compounds extracted from the seeds — silybin, silychristin, and silydianin. These compounds have been used to treat liver conditions for centuries, and research shows that it has liver-protective properties. Silymarin has strong antioxidant effects that may help with liver cell regeneration and inflammation.
Ginseng is also used in liver treatments. It is one of the most popular herbal ingredients and is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Ginseng is linked to liver cell regeneration after surgery, and improved liver function as well as reduced fatigue in patients suffering from NAFLD.
A newer herbal supplement gaining interest for its antioxidant effect is Grape Seed Extract. This extract has been found to greatly improve liver health and reduce fatty tissues in the organ. The same studies have also found that it can also reduce alanine aminotransferase (ALT). High levels of ALT may indicate liver cirrhosis, hepatitis, and other liver diseases.
Our livers can only process a small amount of alcohol every hour, and drinking more than that can cause damage to our liver cells and lead to liver cirrhosis. It is recommended to drink alcohol only in moderation or to otherwise quit completely if your liver health is already compromised.
The amount of alcohol you can safely intake depends on several factors — weight, height, lifestyle, and even gender. Generally, men can take two standard drinks a day while women can have one. A standard drink is equivalent to one beer, one glass of wine, or one shot of whiskey.
Mixing your medicine with alcoholic beverages can cause or worsen liver damage. Make sure to read the instructions on your medication before taking them. If the label says it is unsafe, avoid drinking alcohol entirely on the days that you do take them.
Viruses and bacteria can easily enter our bodies if we don’t practice good personal hygiene. These pathogens can cause all sorts of liver infections. To avoid these, don’t share personal hygiene items (such as razors), and make sure to wash your hands frequently (especially after going to the bathroom or before eating).
Dirty needles can also cause an infection. Make sure that piercings and tattoos are done by reputable businesses that use clean needles and equipment. Additionally, though this may be rare, unsafe injection practices in hospital settings should be immediately reported so you can be treated.
Lastly, it is a good idea to get vaccinated against liver viruses, such as Hepatitis A and B. Hepatitis A can be contracted via food and water — if you’re not vaccinated, avoid eating raw seafood and shellfish if you’re unsure about its cleanliness. Hepatitis B can be contracted via contaminated blood, needles, and sexual contact — if not yet vaccinated against this, avoid sharing your toothbrushes and razors, and practice safe sex.
If you are unsure if you have Hepatitis, contact your primary care facility to ask about their screening programs. Also, make sure to talk to your doctor for a consultation and possible vaccination.
The liver plays a very important role in our body’s system. While it can regenerate and repair itself while maintaining its usual functions, it has its limits. Use these tips for better liver health and take good care of this major organ. Making the right changes for your health can start with simple changes to your diet. So, begin nourishing your body right with Bonavita’s organic coffee and health supplements!
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