Your liver plays an important role in keeping your body functioning – in fact, it performs more than 500 functions that involve processing everything you eat and drink. It’s also the largest organ in your body and weighs around 1.4kg.
You need to keep your liver healthy and functioning because, without it, you cannot live. Here are seven ways to look after your liver.
Out of the five main types of the hepatitis virus (A, B, C, D and E) types A, B and C are the most dangerous and can cause long-term damage to the liver. Hepatitis B and C can be transmitted through unprotected sex with multiple partners. To that end, prevent contracting the disease (among others) by using condoms every time you engage in sex.
Manage medication properly
Most drugs are broken down in the liver after being metabolized by your digestive system, with the liver taking the lead in this process. That means you can damage your liver if you use medication incorrectly – for example, when you take more than the prescribed dose, use the wrong kind or you mix prescriptions that weren’t advised by a physician.
If any questions arise when taking medication, speak to your doctor or chemist immediately. Always read and follow the instructions closely from start to finish.
Maintain a healthy diet
Although it’s always important to watch what you eat, it’s especially important to be cognizant of your diet if your liver is sensitive to damage. “While nearly every cell in the body is able to metabolize glucose, only the liver cells can handle fructose,” says Dr. Sherwood of the Functional Medicine Institute in Tulsa, Oklahoma in an interview with Health24.com.
“If we consume too much fructose over time, the liver can become overwhelmed and suffer irreparable damage.” Swap out foods that are high in refined sugars and high-fructose corn syrup, such as soft drinks, baked goods and sweets with fruits and veggies. Also, be sure to use natural sweeteners like stevia to mitigate the urge for sugary foods.
The Liver Foundation suggests avoiding high-kilojoule meals, saturated fat and refined carbs (white bread, white rice and regular pasta, for example). Make sure you get enough fiber, too, from fresh fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, rice and cereals.
Curb alcohol consumption
Regularly consuming excessive amounts of hard alcohol can cause immense damage to liver cells. Over time, an unhealthy liver can cause a buildup of fat around the area, inflammation or swelling and/or scarring (cirrhosis). If you know that you already have