Your liver is the largest gland in your body and also, the great detoxifier. Everything that you eat or drink passes through the liver before reaching any other part of the body. The liver is about the size of a football and sits under your lower ribcage on the right side. It has several important things to do. It helps clean your blood by getting rid of harmful chemicals that your body makes. 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.
Taking care of your liver basically involves avoiding food that would harm your liver. Here’s what you need to say a big NO to:
Alcohol in moderation is okay with your liver. But anything beyond moderation is going to cause damage to your liver cells, leading to the scarring of liver, also known as liver cirrhosis. According to studies, men should drink no more than two drinks per day and women should have only one.
- Overweight or Obesity
Your liver will thank you if you keep a trim and fit body. If you keep your weight under control, you can avoid chances of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which leads to cirrhosis.
Certain medications such as cholesterol drugs have side effects leading to liver damage over time. Drugs containing acetaminophen, such as Paracetamol, Tylenol etc. can cause progressive liver damage. Certain drugs also interact with alcohol to cause major liver disorders.
However, there are certain foods that you need to include in your diet to ensure the healthy functioning of your liver. Read on to know more:
Food rich in fiber content helps in treating your liver right at its best. Want one that's a great way to start your day? Try oatmeal. Research shows it can help you shed some extra pounds and belly fat, which is a good way to keep away liver disease.
To keep your liver healthy in working condition, you definitely need to add a lot of veggies into your diet. The best one to go into your diet first is broccoli. It helps you protect your liver from NAFLD. Though the taste of this crunchy vegetable may seem a little on the blah side, to spice things up, you can shred it into a salad and and a splash of balsamic vinegar and get it roasted along with some garlic.
Studies reveal that coffee has lasting effects in maintaining your liver in good working condition. Drinking two to three cups of coffee a day can protect your liver from damage caused to it by fatty foods and alcohol. It is also believed to lower your chances of liver cancer.
- Green Tea
It's brimming with a type of antioxidant called catechins. Research suggests it may protect against some forms of cancer, including liver. You'll get more catechins if you brew tea yourself and drink it hot. Iced tea and ready-to-drink green teas have much lower levels.
One of the best things you can do for your liver is keep a healthy weight. Get in the habit of drinking water instead of sweetened drinks like sodas or sports drinks. You'd be amazed at how many calories it will save you each day.
Nuts - especially these - are good sources of vitamin E, a nutrient that research suggests may help protect against fatty liver disease. Almonds are good for your heart, too, so grab a handful the next time you feel like snacking. Or try them in salads, where they add a nice crunch.
Leafy greens have a powerful antioxidant called glutathione, which can help keep your liver working right. And spinach couldn't be easier to prepare. It makes a great base for a dinner salad, and it's also delicious sauteed with garlic and olive oil. When it's wilted, top it with a dusting of fresh parmesan.
They've got nutrients in them called polyphenols that may help protect you against nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which often goes hand in hand with obesity and high cholesterol. If blueberries aren't your thing, other foods rich in polyphenols include dark chocolate, olives, and plums.
- Herbs and Spices
Want to protect your liver and your heart at the same time? Sprinkle on some oregano, sage, or rosemary. They're a good source of healthy polyphenols. An extra benefit: they help you cut back on salt in many recipes. Cinnamon, curry powder, and cumin are good ones to try, too.