8 Ways to Maintain a Healthy Liver

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How often do we think about our liver? For almost all of us, it is not often. Many of us might only have known about the liver while reading the warning labels on medicines or attending the biology class in our school. However, we need to learn more about this major body organ to keep our health in good shape.

The liver is the largest gland in the human body. It lies in the upper right region of your abdomen, sitting just below the diaphragm. Your liver typically weighs around three pounds; however, it can vary from person to person. The skin is the only body organ larger and heavier than the liver.  

The liver performs vital functions of your body that keep you healthy. These include protein synthesis, detoxification, storage of minerals, vitamins, and carbohydrates, and production of biochemicals essential for your digestion and growth. It also breaks down toxins like medication, alcohol, and natural metabolism by-products. 

Keeping your liver healthy is essential for maintaining the quality of your health. Here is a list of ways you can adopt to boost your liver health and avoid developing liver disease. 

1- Quit Alcohol 

Alcohol consumption and liver health are closely associated. When you drink excessively, your liver stops performing vital functions and prioritizes breaking down alcohol, trying to remove it from your blood. This overworking can cause serious damage to the organ. 

Limit the alcohol intake if you’ve just started drinking. But if you or your loved one is already suffering from addiction, seeking immediate professional help is necessary. A medical detox program is one of the best options for individuals looking to stop consuming alcohol. You can research some best detox treatment services to find the one that suits your requirements. 

By quitting alcohol and getting the right treatment, you can save yourself from many health problems, including developing harmful and often life-threatening liver diseases, such as fatty liver, hepatitis, and liver failure. 

2- Drink Plenty of Water

Water provides many health benefits, such as increasing energy levels, boosting metabolism, and aiding the liver in removing toxic substances and breaking down fat. 

Your liver requires plenty of fluids to function at its best, and drinking less than the recommended quantity can cause dehydration, leading to a higher risk of liver issues. 

The amount of water you should drink daily usually depends on your weight, height, gender, and age; however, consuming eight glasses of water (about half a gallon) is generally recommended to maintain your overall health. 

3- A Well-Balanced Diet Is Important

Hypercholesterolaemia (high cholesterol levels) and hyperlipidemia (high blood fat) are two common causes of hepatic steatosis (fatty liver disease). Avoid hydrogenated fats, saturated fats, trans fats, refined carbohydrates, and sugars in your diet. Hydrogenated and trans fats are found in processed foods. Saturated fats are present in red meats, deep-fried foods, and dairy products. 

A diet full of foods rich in fiber and proteins, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish, beans, white meat, and nuts, can be beneficial for your liver function. 

4- Avoid Smoking

Clinical evidence shows that smoking negatively affects the development of hepatocellular carcinoma, fibrosis progression, and occurrence and severity of fatty liver disease. 

Quitting smoking is one of the actions you can take to improve your overall health. You may find quitting difficult, but it is not impossible. Do it gradually. Decrease the number of cigarettes you smoke each day. Reduce from five to three a day, then one, and finally zero. Following this strategy, you can limit and eventually stop smoking.  

5- Get Vaccinated

When it comes to your liver, it is important to prevent yourself from contracting hepatitis. Hepatitis is the inflammatory condition of your liver. It is commonly caused by a viral infection, but there are other possible causes as well. 

You can get vaccinated against both hepatitis A and B. Hepatitis A can spread from impure or unclean water and food, while hepatitis B can be contracted from contaminated needles, blood, and through sexual contact.   

Talk to your healthcare provider about vaccinations and whether you need them or not. It might be necessary if you have a weaker immune system or if the doctor identifies any damage to your liver.  

6- Exercise Regularly

Incorporating regular exercise into your routine can benefit your liver. Exercise lowers stress on your liver, boosts energy levels, and prevents obesity – a risk factor for liver problems, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Thirty minutes of aerobic exercise every day can be helpful. It can include running, walking, swimming, cycling, and dancing. If you don’t find enough time, break 30 minutes into smaller parts and walk for 10 minutes several times each day. Ride a bicycle to work or run to the nearest grocery store, but do not forget to get your body to move. 

7- Check on Your Medication

Do not take any medicine except prescribed ones. Always read the warning label on the medication, and if in doubt, ask your healthcare provider about any side effects on the liver and other body organs. 

Some medicines may contain unknown toxins or heavy metals, which can badly affect the normal functioning of your liver. Overdose or wrong medication may lead to liver inflammation and can cause irreversible damage or even liver failure. 

Talk to your doctor about any changes in your health and ask before taking any additional medication. 

8- Do Not Share Any Personal Hygiene Stuff

While the virtue of sharing and caring is what we have learned from our elders, it is important to know about things that should not be shared with anyone. In terms of hygiene and health, ensure you don’t share personal items like razors, towels, toothbrushes, water bottles, and nail clippers. They can carry minute amounts of body fluids, including blood that might be contaminated. Also, never borrow these personal items from anyone.

Conclusion 

The liver is the second largest organ of your body. It performs hundreds of tasks, from producing proteins and other essential biochemicals and storing minerals, vitamins, and carbohydrates to breaking down toxins such as alcohol. A healthy liver is vital to maintaining overall health. Certain choices in your lifestyle, such as eating a well-balanced diet, limiting alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, exercising daily, practicing hygiene, and getting yourself vaccinated against some illnesses like hepatitis, can help enhance your liver health and protect you from liver diseases.  

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