The liver plays a vital role in your body. It manages all the fats, protein, and carbohydrates that you ingest.
The liver also controls the production of numerous other fats and proteins important for bodily functions.
It is therefore, important to practice a healthy lifestyle to avoid harming your liver.
According to health experts, having an unhealthy liver can lead to liver disease and metabolic disorders, adding that although it may be impossible to manage all risk factors, consuming certain foods and drinks may help promote liver health.
These foods and drinks have been identified to include coffee, green tea, garlic, berries, grapes, grapefruit, fatty fish, nuts, olive oil, spinach, plant foods in general and drinking enough water.
Coffee – According to MedicalNewsToday, Coffee appears to be good for the liver, especially because it protects against issues such as fatty liver disease.
A 2014 study has shown that daily coffee intake may help reduce the risk of chronic liver disease and that it may also protect the liver from damaging conditions, such as liver cancer.
Green tea -It is 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.
Garlic – A 2016 study suggests that supplementing the diet with garlic powder capsules can reduce body weight and body fat in people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), with no loss of lean body mass
Berries – A 2013 study in rats suggests that blueberry juice supplements could increase antioxidant capability in the liver. The study also suggests that blueberry juice could help alleviate liver fibrosis. However, more human studies are necessary to verify this benefit.
Grapes – Grape seeds, as well as the skin and pulp, contain a significant amount of antioxidants. These antioxidants seem to be associated with protection from some causes of liver damage.
Grapefruit – Grapefruit contains two primary antioxidants: naringin and naringenin. These may help protect the liver from injury by reducing inflammation and protecting the liver cells.
Fatty fish – Consuming fatty fish and fish oil supplement may help reduce the impact of conditions such as NAFLD.
Fatty fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are the good fats that help reduce inflammation. These fats may be especially helpful in the liver, as they appear to prevent the buildup of excess fats and maintain enzyme levels in the liver.
Nuts – Eating nuts may be another simple way to keep the liver healthy and protect against NAFLD.
Nuts generally contain unsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, and antioxidants. These compounds may help prevent NAFLD and reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.
Olive oil – Eating too much fat is not good for the liver, but some fats may help it. Replacing less healthy fats with olive oil may help reduce oxidative stress and improve liver function. This is due to the high content of unsaturated fatty acids in the oil.
However, the clinical data on olive oil benefits for people with NAFLD are currently scarce.
Spinach – 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.
Plant foods in general – A 2015 study reports that a large number of plant foods may be helpful for the liver. These plant foods include avocados, bananas, barley, beets and beet juice broccoli, carrots, lemons, papayas and watermelons.
It is therefore, advised that you eat these foods, if possible, as part of a whole and balanced diet.
Foods to avoid if you don’t want to harm your heart
Finding balance in your diet will keep the liver healthy. However, there are also some foods and food groups that the liver finds harder to process. These include:
Starchy foods – These include low fiber, highly processed breads, pastas, cakes, and baked goods.
Salt – Some simple ways to reduce salt intake include eating out less often, avoiding canned meats or vegetables, and reducing or avoiding salted deli meats and bacon.
Soft Drinks – Research shows that people who drink a lot of soft drinks are more likely to have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Studies didn’t prove that the drinks were the cause. But if you down a lot of sodas and have been meaning to cut back, this could be a good reason to switch what you sip.
Trans Fats – Trans fats are a man-made fat in some packaged foods and baked goods. (You’ll see them listed as “partially hydrogenated” ingredients). A diet high in trans fats makes you more likely to gain weight. That’s not good for your liver. Check the ingredients list. Even if it says “0” grams of trans fat, it may still have a small amount, and that adds up.
Too much sugar isn’t just bad for your teeth. It can harm your liver, too. The organ uses one type of sugar, called fructose, to make fat. Too much refined sugar and high-fructose corn syrup causes a fatty buildup that can lead to liver disease. Some studies show that sugar can be as damaging to the liver as alcohol, even if you’re not overweight. It’s one more reason to limit foods with added sugars, such as soda, pastries, and candy.
Extra Pounds – The extra fat can build up in your liver cells and lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). As a result, your liver may swell. Over time, it can harden and scar liver tissue (doctors call this cirrhosis). You are more likely to get NAFLD if you are overweight or obese, middle-aged, or have diabetes. You may be able to turn things around. Diet and exercise can stop the disease.
Too much Vitamin A from supplements – Your body needs vitamin A, and it’s fine to get it from plants such as fresh fruits and vegetables, especially those that are red, orange, and yellow. But if you take supplements that have high doses of vitamin A, that can be a problem for your liver. Check with your doctor before you take any extra vitamin A because you probably don’t need it.
Stay away From Fatty Foods
French fries and burgers are a poor choice to keep your liver healthy. Eat too many foods that are high in saturated fat and it can make it harder for your liver to do its job. Over time it may lead to inflammation, which in turn could cause scarring of the liver that’s known as cirrhosis. So next time you’re in the drive-thru line, think about ordering a healthier option.
Be Moderate With Alcohol – Drinking too much can wreak havoc on your liver. Over time it can lead to cirrhosis. Even occasional binge drinking — four drinks in one sitting for women and five for men — can be harmful, too. Try to limit yourself to one drink a day if you’re a woman or two a day if you’re a man.
Limit Packaged Snack Foods – Next time you feel the call of the vending machine, reach for a healthy snack instead. The problem with chips and baked goods is that they’re usually loaded with sugar, salt, and fat. Cutting back is a relatively easy diet tweak with a little planning. One good strategy: Bring a stash of healthy snacks with you to work. Try an apple with a single-serve packet of nut butter, or sugar snap peas with a mini-cup of hummus.
Take Your Medication Right – Though acetaminophen is the most common medication that can harm your liver, other meds can do that, too — especially if you don’t take them as directed. It may also depend on your genes, other prescriptions, and your food. Speak to your doctor if you’re tired, nauseous, or itchy or you notice yellowish skin or eyes (jaundice) after you start a new medicine. Statins for high cholesterol and certain antibiotics (amoxicillin, clindamycin, erythromycin) are some examples.
Skip Herbal Liver Remedies – Common liver remedies like milk thistle, turmeric, and astragalus don’t have much research behind them. Colloidal silver, sometimes used (with little scientific support) for hepatitis C, can cause irreversible side effects like turning your skin blue. Tell your doctor about all pills, herbs, and supplements you take. First, to check on the safety of each item, but also because of how they might interact with each other.
Aside eating healthy, it is also very important to keep a healthy body weigh –
That means working to keep a body mass index (BMI) of between 18 and 25. There are online tools to help you figure out your number. Exercise and a well-balanced diet are the best way to help maintain a good-for-you weight and lower your chances of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Your doctor can help you set a weight goal that will help keep your whole body well over the long term.
Also, you should try as much as possible to avoid toxins – These might be chemicals in cleaning products, spray cans, insecticides, and other household items. They could hurt cells in your liver if you touch, absorb, or breathe in too much of them. You can protect yourself if you wear a mask and goggles and open the windows when you use them.