Your liver is important if you want to live a long and vigorous lifestyle.
Liver health is vital for your overall well-being, yet, unfortunately, it is one of the most neglected organs in the human body. The liver is responsible for removing toxins from your blood supply, which you need during these dangerous times.
This article will touch on essential foods for liver health, but before that, you need to understand liver wellness and why you should pay more attention to your liver.
Your Liver is a Powerhouse Organ
Did you know that the liver is in charge of filtering and converting toxic substances in your body into harmless things released by your kidney and gallbladder? It also maintains a healthy blood sugar level in your body and regulates blood clotting.
You need to take care of your liver if you want it to function properly. Without the right nutrients, your liver will break down, leading you to experience health issues such as liver cancer, obesity, and more.
Signs and symptoms of a bad liver
There are telltale signs of a malfunctioning liver, and some might be severe while others are mild. Either way, the one way to know if you are at risk of having fatty liver disease or liver cancer is by consulting your doctor. But here are some signs you can personally look out for:
1. Obesity and fatty liver disease
Obesity and fatty liver disease are inextricably linked. Fatty liver disease is an excessive accumulation of fat in the liver. This disease is called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) without alcohol. Fatty liver disease can seriously impair the functioning of your liver and lead to obesity, diabetes, and hypertension, to name a few.
Here are some of the signs you should look out for if you think you may have fatty liver disease or NAFLD:
- Abdominal pain or an enlarged abdomen
- Nausea, loss of appetite, or rapid weight loss
- Swollen abdomen, legs, or jaundice (skin and whites of the eyes turn yellow)
- Extreme tiredness, weakness, or mental confusion
To reduce fatty liver, you must protect your liver by embarking on a healthier lifestyle. Choose a healthier diet (avoid foods with added sugars), lose weight, lower your cholesterol and be more active.
2. Liver cancer
One major cause of liver cancer is excessive alcohol consumption and tobacco smoking. These alone can lead to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Liver cancer is also caused by the Hepatitis B or C viruses and obesity. Liver cancer patients exhibit the following symptoms:
- Fever and a loss of appetite
- Pain and swelling in the abdomen
How do you prevent this from happening? You can start by reducing your alcohol intake, cutting down on how much tobacco you smoke, practicing proper hygiene and eating healthy foods will drastically reduce your risk of developing liver cancer.
How to take care of your liver
Your choices concerning what you eat and proper hygiene are crucial for your liver’s longevity and effectiveness. A healthy liver allows you to keep your body healthy, and to achieve this, you need to eat healthier.
If you’d like to know how to keep your liver healthy but don’t know how to start, these are some science-backed and doctor-recommended local foods and fruits for better liver health. Incorporating some of these into your diet will ensure your liver gets the proper nutrients it needs to function properly.
You can’t go wrong with these. Bananas are equipped with fiber, potassium, antioxidants (Vitamin C), and folate. These nutrients boost heart health, reduce cancer risk, lower blood pressure, and are good for digestion. The good news is that these are inexpensive and can be found in any market or local grocery store at a very low price.
This fruit is native to the Filipino people and packs a nutrient punch. It has been scientifically proven to be extremely high in antioxidants like vitamin C, phytosterols, tannins, flavonoids, vitamin B1, B2, B3, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, and other essential nutrients.
It is no surprise that guyabano boosts your immune system, lowers fever, blood pressure, and provides relief from pain, inflammation, and asthma.
You may find garlic breath tolerable after reading this. A 2016 medical study found that adding garlic powder to your diet can reduce body weight.
Not only does garlic act as a natural flavoring agent, but it is also rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, and manganese. It supports immune function, helps lower cholesterol, quells inflammation.
4. Green vegetables
You don’t have to become a vegan or a vegetarian, but you sure can incorporate some veggies into your diet.
Green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, kale, mustard greens, brussels sprouts, and more contain vitamin E and natural detoxification enzymes, phytonutrients, carotenoids, and flavonoids that will protect your liver from damage, neutralize toxins, aid in digestion, and improve blood levels of liver enzymes.
You may not like it, but your liver will thank and reward you by performing optimally in the long run.
Nuts may not be as common as other healthy food entries, but they can help you when taken in the right amount. Nuts are high in healthy fats – they boost cardiovascular health and reduce any chance of liver diseases.
Additionally, nuts are good for liver repair and liver regeneration. Walnuts especially have omega-3 fatty acids (improved insulin sensitivity) and polyphenol antioxidants.Our Nutrition Unit can attest to that — Either way, you’re in good hands with the cardiovascular services and liver wellness service at The Hospital at Maayo.
Another everyday consumable, coffee protects against liver disease. A liver healthy study in 2014 found that coffee influences liver enzymes, and that bodes well for you coffee drinkers.
Moderate coffee drinking can lower the risk of chronic liver disease, fatty liver disease, liver cancer, and death from chronic liver disease. But this has to be taken in proportion, don’t go gung-ho on the coffee, that can have the opposite effect.
Other foods & fruits for better liver health
You can add other fruits and foods to your diet to prevent falling foul of liver cancer, obesity, and fatter liver diseases. These contain antioxidants, which are vital in promoting liver health. They include oatmeal, carrots, grapefruit, avocados, egg whites, olive oil, fatty fish, tea, and melons.
A word of advice, don’t stop at changing your diet. Change your lifestyle. Maintain a healthy body weight, exercise regularly, drink responsibly, wash your hands, and get a regular medical checkup.
It is time to start taking better care of your liver today.
Poor hygiene and bad eating habits are major causes of liver cancer, obesity, and fatty liver disease.
Cut down on your alcohol intake, exercise more, and most importantly, incorporate some of the fruits and foods listed above to ensure that you feed your liver with the nutrients it needs to perform optimally.
But if you experience any of the symptoms listed in this article, please reach out to The Hospital at Maayo right away. Set an appointment today to ensure you get the best healthcare.