How to keep your liver healthy?
It’s not something you probably think much about, but your liver is a key player in your body’s digestive system. Everything you eat or drink, including medicine, passes through it. You need to treat it right so it can stay healthy and do its job. How to Keep Your Liver Healthy
“It’s an organ you could easily trash if you don’t take good care of it,” says Rohit Satoskar, MD, of the MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute. “And once you trash it, it’s gone.”
How big is your liver?
Your liver is about the size of a football and sits under your lower rib cage on the right side. The liver has several important things to do. It helps clean your blood by getting rid of harmful chemicals that your body makes. Then it makes a liquid called bile, which helps you break down fat from food. And it also stores sugar called glucose, which gives you a quick energy boost when you need it.
There’s nothing tricky about keeping your liver in good shape. It’s all about a healthy lifestyle, says Ray Chung, MD, medical director of the liver transplant program at Massachusetts General Hospital.How to Keep Your Liver Healthy
“Taking care of your liver is far more about avoiding what’s bad than it is about eating or drinking things that are particularly nourishing to the liver,” he says.
Care for Your Liver
Here are some ways How not to wreck your Liver :
Don’t drink a lot of alcohol. It can damage liver cells and lead to the swelling or scarring that becomes cirrhosis, which can be deadly.
How much alcohol is too much? U.S. government guidelines say men should drink no more than two drinks a day and women only one.
Eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise.
Your liver will thank you. You’ll keep your weight under control, which helps prevent nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition that leads to cirrhosis. Check out Bad Foods for the Liver.
Watch out for certain medicines.
Cholesterol drugs and the painkiller acetaminophen (Tylenol) can hurt your liver if you take too much.How to Keep Your Liver Healthy
You may be taking more acetaminophen than you realize. It’s found in hundreds of drugs like cold medicines and prescription pain medicines.
Some medicines can hurt your liver if you drink alcohol when you take them. And some are harmful when combined with other drugs. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the safest way to take your medicines.
Learn How to Prevent Hepatitis.
It’s a serious disease that harms your liver. There are several types. You catch hepatitis A from eating or drinking water that’s got the virus that causes the disease. You can get a vaccine if you’re traveling to a part of the world where there are outbreaks.How to Keep Your Liver Healthy
Hepatitis B and C are spread through blood and body fluids. To cut your risk, don’t share items like toothbrushes, razors, or needles. Limit the number of sex partners you have, and always use latex condoms.
There’s no vaccine yet for hepatitis C, but there is one for hepatitis B. Learn more about Hepatitis.
Get Tested for Hepatitis.
Because it often doesn’t cause symptoms, you can have it for years and not know it. If you think you’ve had contact with the virus, talk to your doctor to see if you need a blood test.How to Keep Your Liver Healthy
The CDC recommends you get tested if you’re a baby boomer, because your generation is more likely to have the disease.
Don’t touch or breathe in toxins.
Cleaning products, aerosol products, insecticides, chemicals, and additives in cigarettes have chemicals that can damage your liver. Avoid direct contact with them, and don’t smoke.
Be careful with herbs and dietary supplements.
Some can harm your liver. A few that have caused problems are cascara, chaparral, comfrey, kava, and ephedra.
In recent years, some herbs and supplements have hit the market that say they restore the liver, including milk thistle seed, borotutu bark, and chanca piedra. Be wary of those claims. “There’s never been any high-quality evidence that any of these promotes liver health,” Chung says. Some may even cause harm.
Drink coffee in moderation.
Research shows that it can lower your risk of getting liver disease. No one knows why this is so, but it’s worth keeping an eye on as more research is done. Just don’t overdo it. Keep it light and not too strong.
To keep your liver healthy, follow a healthy lifestyle and keep a close eye on medicines, Chung says. “The liver can be a very forgiving organ, but it has its limits.”
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