The human body is an incredibly complex creation, with each organ, and each physiological process, working in synergy with the next to keep you alive and as fit and healthy as you can possibly be. We of course have a series of vital internal organs which do much of the heavy lifting, yet the liver is one which is often an afterthought for many. Primarily people tend to focus on the heart and brain, and whilst they, and every other organ, are very important, it always pays to look after your liver. There are a fairly large portion of individuals out there who have no idea where in the body the liver is, what it looks like, and what it does. Put simply, your liver plays a key role in the removal of toxins and other substances from your body. Like the kidneys, your liver functions as a filtration device, helping to remove things you don’t need in your system, and leaving you with what you do need. The liver also helps to metabolize and process various things, including macronutrients, yet unfortunately a lot of people aren’t benefitting from a fully functional liver. Your liver needs looking after just like your heart, and every other part of your body, and by following these healthy tips, you can do just that.
Don’t drink too much alcohol
Before people head out for a night of partying and heavy drinking, they may crack jokes about what a pounding their liver is going to take. If they could see the true extent of the damage caused by heavy excessive drinking however, they would probably be far less inclined to make these jokes. Alcohol is literally a poison, and the liver knows this. Because of this, it is desperate to remove it from our systems as quickly as possible. The liver is only able to process and remove a small amount of alcohol over each hour. With what it isn’t able to remove however, it suffers as alcohol can damage the healthy cells of the liver, and can cause scarring and inflammation. Obviously this doesn’t mean you need to abstain from alcohol completely, but if you are a heavy and regular drinker, you should try to cut back dramatically if you wish to keep your liver functioning at its best.
Don’t consume too many unhealthy fats
As you probably know, not all fats are the same as there are healthy fats and unhealthy fats. Healthy fats are actually beneficial for the liver and the rest of the body, but unhealthy fats are not. Unhealthy fats like trans fats and non-natural long-chain saturated fats can be extremely dangerous for the liver. High percentages of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream, along with high percentages of triglycerides (fats) in the bloodstream, can cause fatty liver disease. Fatty liver disease is basically a condition where the liver absorbs fats and finds itself coated in a layer of subcutaneous fat that severely hinders its performance inside your body. Try to limit the amount of processed and battered foods you consume, and instead aim for fresh and healthy fats like those found in oily fish, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, and avocados for example.
Watch your weight
As if you needed another reason to watch your weight, now you have one. Numerous studies have revealed that there is direct link between obesity and fatty liver disease. In particular, experts have found that visceral belly fat around the abdomen, can be especially dangerous. Fatty liver disease can not only render your liver unhealthy and far less effective than it should be, it can also make it far more susceptible to disease, including cancer. Ideally you should try to get more physical exercise each week, you should clean up your diet, and you should try to keep your BMI at a healthy level.
Limit your sugar consumption
If you enjoy sweet treats we’ve got even more bad news for you. Sugar, particularly refined sugar, is metabolized directly within the liver. Just like alcohol however, the liver can struggle to metabolize and deal with it all, meaning that it sticks around longer than it should. Too much sugar can potentially lead to fatty liver disease, not to mention weight gain, which can also be a precursor for said disease, so it really is a vicious circle. Not only should you avoid sweet treats and sodas, you should also be careful of fruit juices and fruits in general. Whilst full of nutrients, the only downside with fruits is that they do contain naturally-occurring fructose sugars, which again, are difficult for the liver to metabolize and process.
Take a Milk Thistle Supplement
When it comes to liver health and function, a milk thistle supplement is literally one of, if not the best, supplements you could ever take. Milk Thistle is a naturally occurring herb which has been turned into a healthy supplement. It has been proven to assist with liver function and to speed up detoxification of the liver, so taking a milk thistle supplement each day is incredibly beneficial.
Drink more water
Water is incredibly beneficial for a whole variety of different reasons, and when it comes to liver health, things are no different. Drinking plenty of fresh water each day will help to aid in liver health and function, and will help the liver to filter out harmful toxins much quicker. When people talk about liver cleanses and detoxifications water is one of their secret weapons. Ideally you should consume at least 2 litres of fresh water throughout the day, though if you can, a little more is always recommended.