Your liver is constantly working. It does hundreds of jobs, including filtering toxins from your blood, balancing macro and micronutrients, and regulating hormones. Most of the time you don’t even know that it works at all. Even if it stops working properly, you won’t notice anything out of the ordinary. However, unnoticed liver problems can lead to life-threatening liver failure.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to prevent liver disease. You may have heard that detoxification is a great way to keep your liver healthy. Here’s what else you can do to keep your liver strong and healthy.
Are Detoxes or Liver Cleanses Effective?
Liver detoxifications are ubiquitous these days. These are usually diets, teas, juices, vitamins, supplements, or a combination of products designed to remove toxins from your body and help you lose weight. These cleanses are based on the idea that chemicals and toxins are constantly building up in your body. But that’s a misconception. In fact, your liver does not allow potentially harmful substances to accumulate. When a toxin enters your body, your liver quickly turns it into something less harmful. Eventually it will be excreted.
There is nothing you can do to make this process easier. If your liver didn’t already do this job on its own, your body would struggle to function. Not surprisingly, there is no scientific evidence that detoxes and cleanses are effective. And because products like teas and supplements aren’t regulated like drugs, their long-term side effects are often unknown. If you take too much too often, these products can even harm your liver. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is a much better strategy to keep your liver safe and functioning properly.
What Can Help Improve Your Liver Health?
Your daily choices and lifestyle choices can have a long-term impact on your liver health. While these strategies may not seem as simple as a spot cleanse, they tend to protect your liver and keep it healthy. Let’s take a look at seven key strategies that can help protect your liver in your daily life.
1. Limit your alcohol consumption
Your liver processes all of the alcoholic beverages you consume, including wine, beer, and spirits. The more you drink, the harder your liver has to work. Over time, excessive alcohol consumption can wreak havoc and destroy liver cells. Alcohol-related liver disease includes several different liver disorders, such as:
– alcoholic fatty liver disease
– Acute alcoholic hepatitis
– alcoholic cirrhosis
To avoid alcohol-related liver disease, watch your alcohol consumption. This equates to one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.
Also, avoid mixing alcohol and medications as it puts undue stress on your liver.
2. Pay attention to your medication intake
All medications (whether over-the-counter or prescribed by a doctor) eventually pass through your liver, where they are broken down. Most medications are safe for your liver if taken as directed. However, taking medicines too much or too often, taking the wrong type of medicines, or taking more than one medicine at a time can damage your liver. If you’re concerned about how a medicine might affect your liver, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. You can also have your liver tested before and after you start taking a new medicine.
3. Don’t assume supplements are good for your liver
Like medications, supplements such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, and natural remedies are processed by your liver. Just because a product is natural doesn’t mean it won’t have long-term effects on your liver. In fact, many seemingly harmless products can cause harm. Vitamins, especially vitamin A and niacin, can also cause liver damage if taken in excess. To avoid liver complications, talk to your doctor before taking any dietary supplement.
4. Eat a liver-friendly diet
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but your diet plays an important role in your overall liver health. To make sure your diet is good for your liver long-term, try the following:
Eat a variety of foods
Choose whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, dairy, and healthy fats. Foods like grapefruit, blueberries, nuts, and oily fish are known to have potential liver benefits.
Eat enough fiber
Fiber is essential for the proper functioning of your liver. Fruits and vegetables and whole grains are excellent sources of fiber to include in your diet.
Be sure to drink enough water each day to keep your liver in tip-top shape.
Limit greasy, sugary, and salty foods
Foods high in fat, sugar, and salt can impair liver function over time. Fried and fast foods can also affect your liver health.
Coffee has been shown to reduce the risk of liver diseases such as cirrhosis and liver cancer. It prevents the accumulation of fat and collagen, two factors in liver disease.
5. Exercise regularly
Physical activity is not only good for the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems. It’s also good for your liver. The 2018 research examined the role of exercise in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is one of the most common liver diseases today. Researchers concluded that cardio and resistance exercises help prevent fat buildup in the liver. You don’t have to run marathons to reap the rewards. You can start exercising today by taking a brisk walk, taking an online exercise class, or riding a bike.
6. Take precautions against hepatitis
Hepatitis is a disease that causes inflammation of the liver. Some types of hepatitis cause only acute, short-lived symptoms (hepatitis A), while others are long-lasting illnesses (hepatitis B and C).
You can protect yourself from hepatitis by first understanding how the most common forms are transmitted:
– Hepatitis A is transmitted by consuming food or water contaminated with the feces of a person with hepatitis A.
– Hepatitis B is transmitted through contact with the bodily fluids of a person with hepatitis B. Body fluids include blood, vaginal discharge, and semen.
– Hepatitis C is spread through contact with the bodily fluids of a person with hepatitis C.
To protect yourself from hepatitis, you can:
Maintain good hygiene. Wash your hands regularly and use hand sanitizer.
Take extra precautions when traveling. Find out about the hepatitis risks in the region you are visiting. Avoid local tap water or ice and unwashed fruits or vegetables.
Do not give away your personal belongings. Keep your toothbrush and razor to yourself. If you take intravenous (IV) medications, do not share needles.
Make sure the needles are sterilized. Before tattooing or piercing, make sure the studio uses disposable needles or an autoclave machine to sterilize the needles.
Do you have safe sex. If you have sex with more than one partner, use a condom to reduce your risk of hepatitis B and C.
7. Limit your exposure to environmental toxins
Your liver not only processes chemicals that enter your body through your mouth, but also chemicals that enter your nose and skin.
Some common household products contain toxins that can damage your liver, especially if you come into contact with them on a regular basis. To avoid long-term damage to your liver, opt for organic cleaning products and techniques to clean your home. Avoid using pesticides and herbicides in your garden or take precautions not to inhale chemical fumes. If you need to use chemicals or aerosols around the house, for example to paint, make sure your space is well ventilated. If this is not possible, wear a mask.
A healthy lifestyle for a healthy liver
Although liver detoxes and cleanses have become popular, there is no scientific evidence to support their effectiveness. And because many of these products aren’t regulated like drugs, little is known about their effectiveness and long-term side effects. Liver flushes are based on the idea that chemicals and toxins are constantly building up in your body, but that’s a misconception. Instead of opting for a liver detox, it is safer to focus on healthy lifestyle and habits. Habits that have been shown to protect the liver include a balanced diet, regular physical activity, and protection from potentially dangerous drugs, liver disease, and environmental toxins.
* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace the advice of a doctor.
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