Tips for good liver health

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The largest internal organ in your body—liver– helps you digest food through bile production, removes toxins from your blood and provides you with energy. A healthy liver ensures that you get the nutrients you need with every meal while filtering out any substances that could be harmful to your body. Want to

to keep yours in shape

for the coming years?

Follow these five simple tips for good liver health:

1. Watch your weight

There are countless

benefits of regular exercise

and maintaining a healthy body weight and good liver health is another. Being overweight can increase the risk of developing

non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
, an accumulation of fat which can cause a feeling of tiredness and abdominal pain. Exercise can help reduce the buildup of fat in the liver (like anywhere else in the body), keeping it healthy and ready to do its job.

2. Put the right things in your body

Because so much of the liver’s function involves processing the foods and drinks you ingest, putting the right things in your body makes a huge difference when it comes to liver health. Alcohol, in particular, can have serious consequences on the liver (in addition to other health problems). Excessive alcohol consumption can cause

fatty liver disease

on its own, resulting in bigger problems over time. Do your liver a favor by recalling alcohol, increasing your water intake, and maintaining

diet that promotes liver health
. Coffee, oatmeal, green tea, garlic, berries, grapes, and grapefruit are just a few of the foods and drinks that can benefit your liver.

3. Avoid toxins

The liver works hard to flush out all the toxins that enter your body – not just alcohol. Some

chemical products

– such as dry cleaning solvents, herbicides and industrial chemicals – can have harmful effects on the liver because it works to prevent them from entering your bloodstream. Even prescription drugs can be dangerous if instructions are not followed, as it is your liver’s job to process them. Heroin use (as well as the abuse of drugs like dextromethorphan, inhalants and steroids) can damage the liver. And sharing needles for illicit drug use can transmit Hepatitis C, a virus that can cause chronic liver problems.

4. Practice safe sex

Hepatitis C, and more often Hepatitis B, can be spread through sexual intercourse. Both are contracted through direct contact with the blood of an infected person, and hepatitis B can also be spread through semen and other bodily fluids. Practicing safe sex can help protect your liver and prevent the spread of many

other diseases
.

5. Get vaccinated!

There are hepatitis vaccines A and B. Both viruses can cause flu-like symptoms that last for months, and although they are both preventable (Hepatitis A spread through direct contact with the stool of an infected person), why take the risk? Most people receive these vaccines as

children
, but if you haven’t, you can still get the vaccine. If you are

traveling
, make sure you are up to date with your injections – there are places where both conditions are common. Untreated water has also been linked to hepatitis.

Following these five steps can help prevent a number of serious liver diseases, including hepatitis A, B or C and fatty liver disease. Any of these conditions, especially when combined with obesity or high alcoholism, can lead to cirrhosis– scarring of the liver which prevents it from performing its vital work. And all of these things can evolve in some cases up to liver cancer.

One final tip: Even if you follow the five steps above, be sure to see your doctor if you think there is

something is wrong with your liver
. Common symptoms include bruising, jaundice, and changes in the color of stool and urine. As the largest internal organ, your liver is one of the most important, so it’s always best to play it safe if you think something is wrong.

The information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not intended to replace advice provided by your own physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information in this document to diagnose or treat any health problem or disease, or to prescribe medication. If you have or think you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly.


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