For a happy, healthy liver

Everything from a high-fat diet to irregular sleeping habits to excessive alcohol consumption can damage your precious liver.

For a happy, healthy liver

Did you know that the toxins that enter our body are handed over to our liver for processing and eliminating?  This simple process makes our liver essential for our existence. So, it makes sense to avoid all kinds of liver-unfriendly habits and take good care of it, doesn’t it?

The liver is not just the largest internal organ in our body, but is also one of the most important and delicate organs. Right from filtering toxins to producing bile and transforming carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, and vitamins, liver performs all the vital functions of our body. Which is why sometimes our wrong lifestyle habits can lead to damaging consequences for the liver.

What not to do
So, here are certain things that you need to do for a healthy, happy liver:

Ditch high-cholesterol diet: For detoxification of our liver, we should have a fat-free diet. Cholesterol, as we know, is a type of fat that the liver synthesises and then our body uses it as a source of energy. So, even though it is an important component of our diet, we should make sure not to indulge in a cholesterol-rich diet in excess. This includes red meats, foods rich in fats, sugars, salt, etc. High cholesterol very often causes many liver diseases like the fatty liver, which is also one of the most common diseases in the world, according to the World Health Organization. One may substitute high-cholesterol foods with fibre-rich vegetables, whole grains, etc.

Stop skipping breakfast: Many of us ditch our daily breakfast — either due to the lack of time in the mornings or for the sake of losing weight — but this is a very unhealthy practice. When we wake up, our energy reserves of glucose are very low, and this tends to affect the proper functioning of our liver. Hence, having daily morning breakfast is essential not just for proper functioning of our liver, but also for our brain and body.

Early to bed & early to rise: These days, it’s a common practice among youngsters to sleep and wake up late. This is another unhealthy lifestyle habit that we need to avoid. Early to bed and early to rise makes us healthy, wealthy and wise. Also, our body is designed in a way that at certain times in the night, it carries out certain detoxification processes important for our well-being. For example, lymphatic system carries out detoxification first. Liver detoxifies in the early morning hours and these processes are carried out properly only when we are in deep sleep. If we break these natural cycles of the body, it affects the repairing of these organs.

Have a balanced diet: Bad food habits show their adverse effects in the long run. However, eating a balanced diet ensures our liver is in good health. For instance, patients who suffer from liver cirrhosis need to have a protein-rich diet so that the liver can repair itself and prevent any further damage. It’s important to remember that most of the time, liver dysfunction is a consequence of a poor diet that lacks nutrients and is rich in fats only.

Cut down on alcohol: It is a common fact that excess alcohol consumption proves harmful for the health of our liver. In fact, consuming excess of alcohol or alcohol-based drinks can cause severe alcohol-induced liver diseases such as alcoholic hepatitis and alcoholic cirrhosis (condition where the liver becomes severely scarred and deformed).

Say no to processed foods: As our liver is very sensitive to bad diets, the fat buildup in the liver induced by a sugar overload can lead to the formation of scar tissue, one of the common causes of cirrhosis. Unnaturally sweetened and processed foods are full of sugar and almost no dietary fibre, which is not good for the health of our liver, and it should therefore be avoided as often as possible. Besides, all the excess fat that we consume gets stored in the abdomen but also creeps into our liver. In fact, that’s one of the reasons why obesity and fatty liver diseases are interlinked.

Don’t resist that urge: Resisting that urge to urinate is a very unhealthy habit as it can not only damage your liver, but also your kidneys.

(The author director & HOD-Center for Liver & Kidney Transplant & Gastro Sciences, Healthy Human Clinic, New Delhi.)

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