Maybe the health of your liver is not at the top of your mind but if it were to malfunction, nothing else would be on your mind. A nonfunctioning liver would mean toxins would accumulate, you would not be able to digest food and medications would never leave your body. Not a good scenario, is it? Conditions such as cirrhosis, in which liver cells are replaced with scar tissue, is another situation preventing your liver form doing its critical jobs. People who have developed nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a fast-growing epidemic among obese individual, can lead to cirrhosis.
Since your liver is a vital and critical organ of the body not to ignore, it’s best to adopt healthy behaviors encouraging a well-functioning liver. Here are some of the best ways to protect your liver keeping it working for a long time:
Avoid heavy alcohol use
One of the most damaging habits harming your liver is to over consume alcohol. Alcohol is a major cause of cirrhosis and other liver damage. The liver can only handle a certain amount of alcohol at any given time, so if you drink more than it can deal with by drinking too quickly or too much, your liver cells struggle to process it.
Prevent hepatitis A, B, and C
Talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated against hepatitis A and hepatitis B and being tested for hepatitis C. Though there is no vaccine against hepatitis C, you should get tested for it if you were born between 1945 and 1965, ever injected drugs or used unsterile needles, have HIV, have been on long-term dialysis for kidney disease, received clotting factor that was produced before 1987, or had a blood transfusion before 1992.
Practice safe sex
Hepatitis B and C can develop into chronic conditions that may eventually destroy your liver. They are transmitted by blood and other bodily fluids.
Follow directions for dosing with medications
This is especially true for acetaminophen (Tylenol or generics). The maximum dose for acetaminophen is 4 grams (8 extra-strength tablets) in 24 hours. Because acetaminophen is an ingredient in hundreds of OTC and prescription medications, such as cold remedies, it can be easy to consume too much. To help prevent liver damage, avoid consuming alcohol if you take the drug regularly. If you need a pain reliever on a regular basis, consult your doctor about the safe use of acetaminophen and other pain relievers.
Be careful with toxic chemicals
Take precautions when working with some cleaning solutions, paints and pesticides. Be sure to ventilate the room, wear a mask and gloves with certain products, and avoid contact with skin.
Maintain a healthy body weight
Obesity increases the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and liver cancer. The obesity epidemic helps explain why liver cancer has become the sixth leading cause of U.S. cancer deaths, according to a 2018 CDC report.
Exercise and eat a healthy diet
It’s important for everyone to be physically active and to choose healthy foods. This makes the liver’s jobs so much easier keeping it so it doesn’t have to work quite so hard. Good liver health begins with a good diet. Choose foods that support liver health such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meat, fish, nuts, seeds, and low-fat dairy. Avoid highly processed, fatty foods such as sausage, bacon, bologna, high-fat red meat, sweets such as cakes, pies, cookies, sugary beverages, and other low-nutrient dense foods. Physical activity is also important for liver health. Experts recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise on most days of the week.
User care when using dietary supplements
Many of these substances can be potentially toxic to the liver, especially when taken long term or in high doses. Substances such as body building formulas – particularly those spiked with illegal anabolic steroids – and weight-loss products containing green tea extract, accounted for about half of the cases of liver damage linked to supplements. Other herbal products known to harm the liver include chaparral, comfrey, kava, skullcap, and yohimbe. Many of the supplements contain multiple ingredients, so it’s often impossible to identify the cause of liver damage. Also, do not use supplements promoted to specifically protect the liver.