Lifestyle and diet tips to keep this powerhouse organ healthy

Your liver’s health is synonymous with your life’s vitality. Hence it is important to make sure you take proactive steps to keep it fit and functioning. A healthy lifestyle can go a long way in preventing liver diseases and ensure your liver continues to function efficiently.

Liver health benefits: Your liver is an unsung hero, quietly carrying out over 500 crucial functions that keep your body running smoothly. From metabolising everything you ingest to regulating glucose and cholesterol levels, to detoxifying your system, this powerhouse organ doesn’t rest.

Your liver can function efficiently, even if it suffers significant damage. But the same resilience can act as a double-edged sword because many individuals with liver diseases remain oblivious until the condition has progressed considerably. Because of this, being proactive about maintaining a healthy liver is crucial.

Debunking misconceptions related to liver disease

Contrary to popular belief, liver disease isn’t necessarily a consequence of excessive alcohol consumption. Liver diseases can be congenital, resulting from poor dietary habits, viral infections, or prolonged exposure to toxins. Chronic liver diseases (CLD) cause significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. In the United States, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), associated with obesity and diabetes, is the most common form of chronic liver disease; while in India, hepatitis B virus (HBV) is the most common cause, including cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma.

The role of lifestyle in liver health

Your daily choices significantly impact your liver’s health. Here are five key lifestyle modifications that you can make to ensure your liver stays in top-notch condition:

Achieving and sustaining a healthy weight: There’s no denying that maintaining a healthy weight benefits your overall well-being, including your liver. Overweight and obese individuals run a higher risk of developing NAFLD, which can rapidly progress into advanced liver disease. Even a weight loss of 5 percent to 10 percent can significantly reduce liver fat and help reverse NAFLD.

Managing chronic health conditions: Weight isn’t the only risk factor for NAFLD. Chronic health issues such as diabetes, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia are also significant risk factors. These health conditions can be managed or even reversed by staying active, following a healthy diet, adhering to prescribed medication, and undergoing regular health check-ups.

Prioritising regular exercise: Engaging in moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week makes your body more efficient at burning excess fat, including triglycerides, for fuel. Regular physical activity not only helps you shed weight and maintain it, but it also reduces liver fat. In the long run, this can lead to a fitter body and a healthier liver.

Limiting alcohol intake: Excessive alcohol consumption can wreak havoc on your health, particularly on your liver, which metabolises every drop you drink. Overindulgence in alcohol can lead to liver cell destruction, unhealthy fat accumulation, liver inflammation, scarring, and even liver cancer.

Being mindful of medication use: Over-the-counter pain relievers and most drugs are processed by your liver. Overuse or prolonged usage of these medications can cause serious liver damage. Hence, it’s crucial to use medications judiciously.

Additionally, there are extra measures you can take to keep your liver healthy, such as getting vaccinated against hepatitis A and B, taking preventive measures against contracting hepatitis C, and avoiding toxins, including cigarette smoke.

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