The liver is a vital organ performing a variety of vital functions. From aiding digestion to removing toxins and synthesizing important proteins, the liver is always at work to ensure we live a healthy life.
The liver is, in fact, the largest organ in the body as it has to perform a number of vital functions. This extraordinary organ filters over 2000 liters of blood every day to ensure the body is not filled with toxins and dangerous chemicals.
Functions Of The Liver
Besides maintaining the blood sugar levels, below are the major functions the liver performs:
1. Liver Breaks Down Fat Molecules
The liver breaks down fat molecules into sugar. Sugar then fuels metabolism to generate energy. Excessive fat accumulation in the body can therefore put a strain on the organ.
2. Liver Breaks Down Alcohol
The liver breaks down alcohol by first converting it to acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is then converted to acetate, which is a harmless substance. Because the liver works overtime to break down alcohol, heavy drinking can take a toll on its health.
3. Removes Toxins From The Body
The liver also helps the body get rid of toxins. These toxins can come from the environment, such as smoke or pollution. Other toxins are direct byproducts of metabolism. The liver converts these toxins into harmless substances that can be excreted in urine or feces.
4. Synthesizes Proteins and Lipis
The liver produces certain proteins and lipids that are essential for the body to function properly. These proteins include albumin, which helps to keep the blood from clotting. It also produces clotting factors, which are essential for the formation of clots. Another half-protein half-lipid compound the lever synthesizes is Cholesterol. Cholesterol plays a major role in the production of certain hormones, promotes brain health and the nervous system.
Factors Affecting Liver Health
There are a number of factors that play either a direct or indirect role in adversely affecting liver health. For instance, alcohol can severely damage the organ over time.
1. Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Chronic heavy can damage the liver, leading to a number of problems, including Alcoholic Liver Disease, a condition that causes the liver to become inflamed and scarred. In the final stage of the disease, called Cirrhosis, the liver is so damaged that it can no longer function properly.
2. Obesity Or Fatness
Fatty liver disease is a condition in which there is an accumulation of fat in the liver. This can lead to inflammation and scarring of the liver, and can eventually lead to liver failure.
3. Different Types of Hepatitis
Hepatitis is a viral infection that can damage the liver. There are a number of different types of hepatitis, each of which can cause different levels of damage. The damage is generally inflammatory which then leads to scarring or fibrosis.
4. Certain Medications
Some medications can also harm the liver. This is especially true of medications that are metabolized by the liver. These include Statins, Antibiotics like amoxicillin-clavulanate or erythromycin, drugs for Arthritis like methotrexate or azathioprine. Other drugs include Antifungal drugs, Niacin, Steroids, and Allopurinol for gout.
5. Environmental Factors
Exposure to environmental toxins can damage the liver. Some of the most common toxins include pesticides, herbicides, and heavy metals like lead. It is therefore important to wear a medical mask in highly polluted areas.
How to Detoxify The Liver Naturally?
The liver not only filters, detoxifies, and regulates the blood, but also takes care of its own health. That being said, there are times when we strain the organ due to certain unhealthy lifestyle habits or harmful interactions. These include drinking alcohol, unhealthy eating, weight gain, and lack of exercise.
So, how to ensure your liver remains healthy and you do not risk damaging it? Well, though it’s easy, there is no such thing called one concoction of a drink and you are good to go. Instead, it’s a set of lifestyle changes that can ensure our liver remains healthy and safe. Let’s talk about the steps we can take for the sake of this very important organ.
1. Don’t Drink Alcohol
If there is one thing that can take a heavy toll on your liver, it’s alcohol. Your liver has to work overtime to break down alcohol molecules into harmless acetate. If you can’t completely stop drinking, avoid excessive drinking at the least. You can educate yourself on both the physical and social consequences of alcohol as a starting point.
2. Stick to a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is a balanced diet. Balanced in the sense of the nutrients it contains and the amount of consumption. We have already talked about this at great length in this Healthy Eating Tips, Comprehensive Balanced Diet Guide.
A healthy diet is one that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. It is low in saturated and unhealthy fats, sugar, and sodium. It is also important to drink plenty of water.
Below is a range of foods and drinks that can help keep the liver healthy and assist in working:
- Garlic: Stimulates liver activity, helps remove toxins faster.
- Artichokes: Contain many bitter substances, support liver detoxification.
- Broccoli, radish, radishes: Strengthen the liver function.
- Bitter salads and dandelion: Stimulate fat burning.
- Ginger: Warms from the inside, strengthens the immune system, relieves the liver.
- Lemon: Neutralizes acids in the body, activates enzymes and digestion.
- Apricot: Contains many antioxidants, protects the liver against cell damage.
- Walnuts: Contain glutathione, omega-3 fatty acids, and L-arginine. Ammonia is excreted better.
- Brazil nuts: Contain a lot of zinc that helps in liver tissue regeneration.
- Linseed oil: The omega-3 fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect.
- Green Tea: Regarded as a detoxifying and degreasing agent.
- Turmeric: Contains curcumin, helps protect the liver from toxins and regenerate new tissue.
- Milk thistle: Contains silymarin which strengthens and regenerates the liver cells. Great to consume as tea.
3. Adequate Regular Exercise
Besides a healthy diet, regular exercise is also important to ensure both liver health and overall well-being. You don’t need to sweat buckets in the gym to do this. A 45-minute morning walk followed by simple warm-up exercises can just do good enough. You can also try these simple no-equipment workouts that you can perform at home.
4. Lose Weight, Avoid Weight Gain
There are many ways to lose weight, but the most effective way is to combine a healthy diet with regular exercise. To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit by eating fewer calories than you burn. You can do this by eating healthy, low-calorie foods and reducing your portion sizes.
For a good start, aim to eat around 1,200-1,500 calories per day. However, it’s important to note that everyone’s calorie needs are different, so you may need to adjust your calorie intake depending on your age, sex, and activity level. You may want to check this comprehensive guide on weight loss for getting started.
5. Get Vaccinated Against Hepatitis
Hepatitis B and C are both serious diseases that can lead to long-term health problems, including liver damage. Vaccinating against these diseases is important for preventing their spread and protecting the health of individuals and communities.
Vaccinating against hepatitis B and C is especially important for people who are at high risk for infection, including healthcare workers, people who use injection drugs, and people who have sex with multiple partners. Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against these diseases.
So, these were all the natural ways to keep your liver healthy and strong. If you think you were involved in alcohol abuse or had a blood transfusion, irregulated body piercing, or were involved in unsafe partnerships, now is the best time to visit a doctor and get your liver checked. And, finally, you may want to share this important information with others!