Improving your liver health

liverYour liver is an essential organ; responsible for an enormous number of metabolic activities, and you need an endless supply of nutrients, through your diet in order for your liver to be optimally healthy. It is the largest organ in our body and its main function is to remove toxins and process food nutrients.

Fatty liver disease is a build-up of excess fat in the liver cells. In some cases, fatty liver disease can cause damage the liver and lead to serious complications such as cirrhosis. The main risk factors for fatty liver disease include being overweight and obese, diabetes and elevated triglyceride levels, also in some cases malnutrition and alcohol abuse.

The main reason is people develop Fatty Liver disease is through their diet. People tend to eat too many carbohydrates, not enough protein and fresh fruits and vegetables. Another possible cause, mainly for older people is an over prescription of medications (like pain killers, anti-inflammatories, blood pressure or cholesterol tablets, the list goes on).  There is also a slight indication that exposure to certain toxic chemicals in our environment can cause this too. However, don’t stress because the damage caused by fatty liver disease can often be halted or reversed through simple lifestyle changes.

These may include losing weight safely, avoid alcohol, soft drinks and caffeine, reduce your carbohydrate intake (sugars, processed foods) opt for low GI alternatives. This is due to the effect carbohydrates have on raising your insulin levels, which can lead to fat storage. You should be increasing your intake of high-fibre foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables (garlic, onions and cruciferous vegetables are the best) and with every meal include some low fat protein (either meats/fish or dairy products), which is full of amino acids and has no effect on your insulin levels. Now some people believe that you can get a fatty liver by eating too much fat. This is not entirely true; you need to eat some healthy fats, like those found in olive oil, eggs, seafood, raw nuts and seeds, for your body to function. What you do need to consider is eliminating fried foods and other high-fat foods (like processed foods containing hydrogenated oils). Also it is important to reduce the amount of medication you are taking (under your doctor’s supervision) as this is placing a great stress on your liver.

There are also some natural supplements you may want to consider taking with modifications to your diet, like folic acid, B-group vitamins, St Mary’s Thistle, dandelion and globe artichoke, selenium and sulphur containing amino acids. Also increasing your physical activity will help you lose some weight, improve your metabolism and regulate your blood sugar levels. As well as making your look and feel great.

Overall, this is a common issue in many people that goes undetected. If you have any concerns, please consult your doctor. As with many other health concerns, modifying your diet and increasing your physical activity can have a great impact on your health.

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