When was the last time you checked on the health of your organs? Ever? For the majority of people out there, organ health (typically other than heart health) is overlooked. The unfortunate thing is that most people have no clue there is an issue until something is wrong. As it relates specifically to liver health, your liver is constantly working behind the scenes to detox your body.
Due to the demand put on this important organ, your liver health needs to be optimized. While you can get scans done to look at specific organs, there are some things you can do in your daily life to support liver health and help ensure it is working and functioning optimally.
In this article, we will dive deeper into exactly what your liver does, why you should pay closer attention to the health of your liver, and the things you can do to improve liver health.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to treat or diagnose any condition. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor before starting any exercise or nutrition program and before adding any new supplements into your regimen.
What is the Role of the Liver?
Picture just for a moment that your liver is your body’s own superhero (consider it the Batman of your body), tirelessly working behind the scenes to keep you in tip-top shape and protected from things that can be detrimental to your health. Without even so much as a Bat Signal being thrown up into the night sky, your liver is constantly protecting your body like Gotham City, and therefore, your liver health needs to be a focus of concern.
Your liver is located in the upper right side of your abdomen, the liver is the largest internal organ in the human body. One of its primary functions is detoxification. It filters out harmful substances, such as toxins and waste products, preventing them from wreaking havoc on your body and potentially inviting illness to creep in and sideline you.
But wait, there’s more! The liver is also a master at metabolizing nutrients, particularly carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, ensuring your body gets the energy and building blocks it needs to maintain your performance and daily functioning. Moreover, it stores essential vitamins and minerals and produces bile, a crucial fluid that aids digestion. So, circling back, you can see why this superhero organ needs all the love and care it can get!
Why Is It Important to Focus on Liver Health?
Now, you might be wondering, “Why should I pay special attention to my liver health? Can’t it take care of itself?” While the liver is great at multitasking (unlike the employee sitting next to you at work), our modern lifestyles can sometimes burden this hard-working organ. Factors like a poor diet, excessive alcohol consumption, sedentary habits, and exposure to environmental toxins can lead to liver stress and damage over time.
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When the liver becomes overworked or damaged, it may not function optimally, leading to various health issues. These may include fatigue, digestive problems, skin issues, and even more severe conditions like fatty liver disease, hepatitis, or cirrhosis. Now is not the time to brush off your liver health. With some thoughtful and strategic lifestyle adjustments, you can improve your liver health without much effort needed on your part.
What Can You Do to Improve Liver Health?
Here’s the good news — taking care of your liver health isn’t rocket science! You don’t need to be a doctor, dietician, or have a Ph.D. in order to improve your liver health. Incorporating the simple habits listed below into your daily lifestyle can make a world of difference. While every single habit and strategy isn’t necessary to improve liver health, the more you adhere to changing, the better off you’ll be.
1. Eat a balanced diet
The first thing you can do to help improve liver health is load up on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins in your daily nutrition plan. Minimize processed foods, sugary treats, and unhealthy fats. You don’t need to eliminate everything (you can have a treat every now and then), but you’ll want to scan over what you consume daily and see what changes you should make. Also, don’t forget to stay hydrated, as water helps flush out toxins.
2. Limit alcohol intake
I’m not the fun police, but it’s common knowledge that everyone should limit their alcohol content. That means not drinking a case of beer each night after a long day. Enjoying the occasional drink is fine, but excessive alcohol can strain your liver and lead to liver health issues.
3. Get moving
Being that you’re on our website, it should come as no surprise that moving more throughout the day and fitting in time to exercise is vital for liver health. Regular physical activity can enhance blood circulation and promote liver health. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week and strive for a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise weekly.
4. Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight can contribute to fatty liver disease along with obesity, diabetes, and many other issues. By keeping your weight in check through a balanced diet and exercise, you can reduce the risk of liver health problems and keep it in good working condition.
5. Say no to smoking
Does this really even need to be said? If you’re a smoker, you could be damaging not only your lungs but your liver health as well. Smoking harms your liver and can increase your risk of liver disease. Putting down the cigarettes is one of the best gifts you can give your liver (and your overall health).
6. Go easy on medications
Some medications, when taken excessively or without proper medical advice, can be damaging to your liver health. Always follow recommended dosages and consult your doctor if you have concerns. One example that not many people think about is using pain meds like Tylenol (or acetaminophen). Daily use for any type of chronic pain could be detrimental to liver health and cause issues to arise.
7. Be mindful of supplements
While certain supplements can aid liver health, others may do more harm than good. If you have used any sort of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) in the past, you may have some liver issues that you’re not even aware of. Harsh chemicals that you put into your body can do irreversible damage to the liver. To help prevent this, using a liver health supplement would be advantageous.