The liver is an essential organ in the body, responsible for several critical functions that keep the body healthy. Some of the main functions of the liver include:
Metabolism: The liver metabolizes various nutrients, medications, and toxins. It converts glucose into glycogen and stores it for later use. It also breaks down fatty acids and produces cholesterol.
Detoxification: The liver detoxifies harmful substances such as alcohol, drugs, and pollutants, converting them into less toxic compounds the body can excrete.
Hormone regulation: The liver plays a role in regulating various hormones, including insulin and sex hormones.
Immune system support: The liver produces immune factors that help fight infection and disease.
Given the importance of the liver in maintaining overall health, it is critical to maintaining good liver health. Poor liver function can lead to various health issues, including liver disease, hepatitis, and liver cancer. Some ways to support liver health include maintaining a healthy diet, avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, avoiding exposure to harmful chemicals and toxins, and getting regular exercise. Regular check-ups with a healthcare provider can help detect and address liver health issues early.
Liver Health Foods
Nuts are great for cardiovascular and liver health. Nuts and seeds are known to prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, preventing fat buildup in the liver. Sometimes, when fats build up in the liver, it causes liver health to deteriorate. Walnuts are the most impactful in reducing liver diseases since they contain higher fatty acids sucks as mega-6 and omega-3
Cruciferous vegetables are those vegetables with four petals and a cross. Examples of cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, mustard, cauliflower, and cabbage. These vegetables are a great source of fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that ensure liver health. Cruciferous vegetables flush out toxic compounds in the body by triggering cleansing enzymes.
Be sure to include cruciferous vegetables in your meals to maintain a healthy liver.
Olive oil is known to be a food to maintain liver health owing to its many health benefits. For starters, olive oil is a healthy fat impacting heart and metabolic health. It prevents fat accumulation in the liver and improves liver enzymes and blood levels. Olive oil is a natural soliton to cleanse the liver as it signals the liver to open up bile ducts and cleanse out anything stuck in it.
Coffee can support and benefit liver health due to its antioxidants that reduce the effect of free radicals on the liver. Coffee also maintains liver health by protecting the liver against cirrhosis, liver cancer, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). While digesting caffeine, our bodies produce a chemical called paraxanthine that protects against cell death, thereby preventing these diseases.
However, it is essential to note that excessive coffee or caffeine consumption can negatively affect health, and individuals with liver disease should always consult with a healthcare professional for appropriate management and treatment.
Beetroot juice is one of the best foods for liver health. It is known to detox the liver and promote blood flow while helping the body fight constipation and skin issues. Beetroot juice cleanses the liver by activating enzymes and increasing digestive fluids produced by the liver called bile. Beets contain phytonutrients called betalains that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This prevents oxidative stress, and inflammation, thereby reducing liver damage.
Studies show that green tea has significant benefits on the liver. It is known to regulate lipids or fats that gather in the liver, usually causing slow liver damage. Theanine, found in green tea, boosts immunity and treats liver injuries. Green tea's antioxidant properties, catechin compounds, are potent antioxidants that protect liver cells from damage caused by free radicals. Tea also contains polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation can contribute to liver damage, so reducing inflammation may help protect the liver.
Tips for maintaining Liver Health
Scientific research has proven that physical exercise helps maintain liver health by fat oxidation or breaking down fatty acids, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stress, and improving blood flow. Aerobic exercises like running, cycling, and brisk walking are best for maintaining good liver health. Physical activity can improve blood flow to the liver, vital for liver function and detoxification.
Maintain your weight
An individual's weight can adversely affect their liver health. When a person is obese, they tend to have more fat in their liver, a condition known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This can lead to inflammation, scarring, and damage to the liver, which can progress to a more severe condition known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NASH can also increase the risk of developing liver cancer.
Obesity can also contribute to developing insulin resistance, further damaging the liver. Insulin resistance is when the body's cells become less sensitive to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. When this happens, the liver produces more glucose than the body needs, leading to fat buildup in the liver.
Control Alcohol intake
Alcohol significantly impacts liver health, and long-term alcohol consumption can lead to several liver diseases. Here are some ways alcohol affects the liver. Alcohol can cause fat buildup in the liver, leading to alcoholic fatty liver disease (ALD). This condition is reversible if the person stops drinking alcohol, but continued drinking can lead to more severe liver damage.
Continued heavy drinking can cause alcoholic hepatitis. Its symptoms include abdominal pain, jaundice, and fever. Alcoholic hepatitis can cause liver damage and scarring, which can progress to cirrhosis.