It’s Love your Liver awareness month! Our livers are so important to our bodies, undertaking hundreds of functions daily that help to keep us healthy and well. The liver is like a rubber band, and while it can take a certain amount of stress, it can only be stretched so far before breaking. Once the damage is done, it’s irreparable and can have huge effects on the body’s ability to operate effectively. To learn how to love your liver, it’s important to educate yourself about the diseases your liver is at risk of, and the steps you can take to keep your liver happy.
There are 4 main types of liver disease that you should be aware of. These are:
- Alcohol related liver disease. As the name suggests, this type of liver disease comes from long-term alcohol abuse. To avoid this, make sure you are not drinking more than the recommended amount of alcohol which is no more than 14 units per week. You can also help your liver by having 2-3 alcohol free days in a row every now and then. This will help your liver detox.
- Fatty liver disease. This type of liver disease is most common among over-weight and obese people and is caused by a build-up of fat. Overtime fat can do irreversible damage to your liver that may stop it from performing many of its functions. Keep healthy with the right diet and regular exercise is the best way to avoid this type of liver disease.
- Haemochromatosis. Haemochromatosis is a genetically inherited disorder in which iron is slowly built-up around the liver.
- Hepatitis. Hepatitis refers to the swelling of the liver which is caused by exposure to harmful substances and viruses. There are three types of Hepatitis, A, B, and C. Most patients are able to recover from Hepatitis A with the right treatment, but Hepatitis B and C cause long term liver problems and may even lead to liver cancer. Covering wounds, avoiding substance abuse, proper hygiene, safe sex and not sharing needles, razors, toothbrushes, and nail scissors are good steps to take to prevent unnecessarily contracting Hepatitis.
How to Love your Liver
One of the ways you can show love to your liver is by eating foods that are filled with nutrients that support your liver’s health. Here are a few suggestions:
- Artichokes. This leafy green vegetable is filled with antioxidants that your body uses to strengthen and protect your liver. Artichoke also appears to boost bile production, which is made in the liver and aids our body’s digestion of fats.
- Capsaicin. Capsaicin is commonly found in chillies and is what gives them their spicy taste. Research shows that regular consumption of capsaicin can have a beneficial effect on liver damage.
- Turmeric. Turmeric is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties and helps prevent scarring of the liver by protecting bile flow which is used to break down fats.
- Oily fish. Salmon, mackerel, herring and other oily fish are rich sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 helps break down fat in your system and is a reliable way of protecting your liver.
- Avocado. Avocados are packed with Vitamin E, potassium and other minerals that are vital for keeping your liver – and body - healthy.
- Eggs. Eggs are loaded with iron, Vitamin B, and protein, making them delicious nutritional powerhouses.
- Garlic. The minerals and vitamins present in garlic help protect your body against cardiovascular issues and liver problems.
Our livers do so much for us, so it’s only right we look after them! The right diet and lifestyle are the best ways to show your liver you care by protecting it against unnecessary damage and reducing the risk of liver disease.