Your liver is a huge organ which sits just above your stomach, tucked into the bottom of your ribcage. It’s a very impressive piece of biological kit - it’s the only organ which can regenerate itself, and it’s absolutely essential for a great many bodily functions. The ancient Babylonians even thought that the liver was where the human soul was located. However, it’s not indestructible. With party season approaching, here are some ways to get your liver in good shape for the onslaught of Halloween and Christmas.
Cut down on booze
Everyone knows that alcohol is bad for your liver, so we won’t dwell on it. The majority of liver problems dealt with by the NHS are alcohol-related. If you don’t want your liver to get scarred and diseased, it’s best to moderate your alcohol intake
Eat cruciferous vegetables
There are no foods which will directly strengthen your liver. Livers are robust organs, which will strengthen themselves extremely well if left to their own devices. However, cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts) can lessen your liver’s workload by leaching toxins from your blood before they hit your liver.
Until relatively recently, dandelion leaves and roots were staples of the British diet. It’s a shame we stopped eating them, as dandelions have massively high nutritional value. They’re chock full of vitamins and minerals which will do you a world of good whatever the state of your liver. However, a 2017 study also showed that the polysaccharides within dandelions can be beneficial for liver function. Dandelion has a sharp, bitter taste, but the leaves and roots can easily be incorporated into stir fries or salads, or steeped in hot water to make a nutritious tea.
Maintain a healthy weight
Obesity and health issues associated with a sedentary lifestyle are known to contribute to liver disease. A healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise will prevent your liver from getting clogged and inflamed with fat.
Be careful around chemicals
Drugs (medical and recreational) are processed by the liver and can cause damage. Speak to your doctor about your medicines and how to use them in a way that’s safe for your liver. And, of course, avoid illegal substances. There are also other chemicals we ingest which aren’t always obvious but can hit our livers hard. Cleaning chemicals, particularly those which come in aerosol cans, can be breathed in and cause liver damage. If you’re using chemicals like these, be sure to do so in a well-ventilated room. Perhaps even wear a facemask to protect yourself from airborne toxins.
Give your liver time to recover
The liver is an amazing organ. If as much as 75% of the liver is removed, it can regrow the missing tissue and be back to full size within just a few weeks. That’s quite a feat! It can only work its magic, however, if it’s given time to do so. Constantly drenching your liver in toxins will keep it occupied with keeping your blood clean and prevent it from fixing itself. Over time, constant pressure on your liver will cause its cells to warp and scar, after which point it can’t regrow them. So, to get your liver in tip-top shape, cut the booze and live healthily for sustained periods. Give your liver time to repair itself.
Practice safe sex
Liver diseases like hepatitis can be sexually transmitted. Practise safe sex to avoid this.