Liver is the largest and the most important organ of our body. It is metabolically the most complex organ in humans. Located in right upper quadrant of the abdominal cavity just below the rib cage, this organ is important because it has ability to regenerate its entire mass from just 25% of its original healthy part. Liver detoxifies the body, cleanses the body, eliminates toxins by continuously filtering the blood. Liver produces bile, another form of detoxification that is necessary to break and assimilate fats and protein during metabolism. ‘Bile’ is a digestive juice produced by liver that helps the body absorb fat into the blood. During Carbohydrate metabolism, glucose is produced which is stored in liver in the form of glycogen and thus during need of energy this glycogen again gets converted to glucose giving energy. Even a medicine that you pop in during headache breaks up in liver and produce the desired effect.
Summarising Liver functions :
- Filters or detoxifies blood.
- Synthesize proteins and blood clotting factors
- Stores Vitamins, Sugars, Fats and other nutrients
- Regulates hormones
- Produces bile that aids digestion
- Synthesize cholesterol
- Stores glucose as glycogen
- Produces plasma proteins
- Maintains healthy immune system
- Fights off Infections
In short, proper functioning of Eyes, Heart, Brain, Gonads, Kidneys and joints depend on health of Liver. Diet, Exercise and Lifestle plays a very important role in maintaining a healthy Liver. Some times due to certain causes or reasons the liver gets overburdened or stressed out. This may result into accumulation of toxins and entire system may get off balance.
Causes for Liver Ailments or causes that damage liver :
- Food : Increased intake of sugar or salt containing foods, junk foods, processed foods etc are difficult to break down and contain toxins or foreign compounds that may make our body inactive and lifestyle unhealthy. Unhealthy snacking may result in damaging liver cells and hinder its proper digestion resulting into rise in cholesterol, B.P, sugar leading to heart diseases, diabetes, stroke etc.
- Increased alcohol consumption : May result into fatty liver, Hepatitis or Cirrhosis of Liver.
- Viruses (Hepatitis).
- Overweight or Obese.
- Lack of exercise : Activity level affects liver functioning. Increased heart rate during exercise pumps more blood into the body enabling liver to clean or flush out the toxins from blood.
- Certain medicines and drugs.
- Industrial chemicals exposure like cleaning solvents, paint thinners etc.
Following Simple Natural Tips may keep the liver ailments at bay and maintaing a healthy Liver always. We are sharing those liver healthy tips below :
- Eat Healthy Diet : Eat foods rich in folate, magnesium, sulphates, selenium, Vitamin B. Salads, Beans, fishes fruit juices, nuts should be a part of daily diet. Foods that helps the Liver to function properly are Garlic, Onions, Cruciferous Vegetables (Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Beet root),Turmeric, Grapes, Walnut, Spinach, lettuce etc. These foods helps the fiver to function normal, eliminate toxins from blood. Regular consumption of lemonade is good. Cut off Junk foods and Soft drinks.
- Go Organic : Organic foods contains 40% more antioxidants, increased amount of vitamins and minerals and devoid of harsh pesticides that may damage liver. If going organic is expensive then remember medicines and hospital bills have never been cheap. Care for your health, prioritise your needs, Eat what is healthy, never eat just to fill your tummy..
- Avoid Alcohol and Smoking , Cut beverages, Drink water : Alcohol causes a long term damage to liver and detoriates overall health so better avoid it. Cut Tea/Coffee. Drink plenty of water.
- Get protected against Hepatitis B and C – Get vaccinated against Hepatitis B. Avoid unprotected sex. Avoid tattoos, injecting drugs, sharing needles and personal items like razor, toothbrushes etc.
- Always follow Food and safety guidelines. Make sure you eat and drink clean. Chew your food well.
- Avoid self medications. Long use of paracetamol, antacids and antibiotics may damage liver cells.
- Keep a routine Blood Test : Regular Blood Sugar, Lipid profile. If suffering from any liver problems, Liver function test should be done..
- Maintain a healthy body weight. Plan your plate. Give your digestive system a break by fasting once a month or eating a fruit meal once a week. This will help the liver to normalize its functions. Increased weight puts risk of fatty liver, liver failure, liver cirrhosis etc.
- Exercise regularly.
- Use chemical free personal and cleaning products.
Liver diseases is resposible for lots of death globally. In India, Hepatitis B alone accounts for an estimated 50 million chronic carriers who are at high risk of progressing towards a permanently damaged liver : This includes cancer .
Not having a guaranteed cure for hepatitis B is only one issue. There is tremendous psycho social burden impacting overall quality of life and coping with the illness as liver patients with prolonged disease are usually physically and man families and professionals who support patients living with a lifelong liver disease. It is all a part of a continuous commitment to care. Hope these simple tips may motivated you to care for your liver. Remember health counts first. In the next article we shall discuss about the foods and herbs used for treatment of Liver ailments.