The liver functions by producing substances that break down fats; converting glucose to glycogen; producing urea, which is the main substance of urine; creating amino acids; filtering harmful substances from the blood; storing vitamins and minerals; and maintaining a proper level or glucose in the blood. With the liver working to do all of these things, it is important that you take care of your liver, so that it is able to function properly and help prevent many diseases.
Things You Can Take
Drinking at least 8 oz. of water a day helps to cleanse the liver. Eat organically grown fresh fruits and vegetables because these have fewer chemical residues, which can be toxic to your liver. Eat products that are made with natural ingredients and avoid packaged and processed foods. These contain artificial food colors and flavorings, artificial sweeteners and preservatives that your liver may have a hard time filtering.
Eat fresh or raw nuts, as they are rich in unsaturated fat. Although fish, chicken and eggs are good sources of protein, so are legumes, grains, cereals, nuts and seeds. Soya beans, kidney beans, peas, linseed, sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds and lentils provide protein, essential fatty acids, fiber, plant hormones, minerals and B vitamins to help your liver to function properly. Eating plenty of fresh vegetables is good because they contain antioxidants that can help heal and cleanse your liver.
For something sweet, eat fresh or sun-dried fruits instead of cakes and pastries that are high in sugar content. The fat that comes from sugar being converted causes fatty degeneration of organs, which may put you at risk of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, artificial sweeteners may be toxic to the liver and can cause fatigue.
Things You Can Do
Avoid overeating and try to avoid eating when you're not hungry, even if it's mealtime. Eating regular meals when you're not hungry will force your liver to work harder and to suffer from excessive wear and tear.
Your liver filters out and destroys bacteria and viruses present in food. Avoid regular reheating of food as bacteria breed in stored cooked foods. Avoid excessive saturated fats because they can cause liver damage, much like the liver damage from drinking alcohol. Although scientific studies show mixed results, milk thistle is a supplement that is often suggested as a treatment for liver disease from alcohol.
The kind of fat you eat will have the most influence on your liver function and weight. A fat-free diet, however, isn't good for your liver because it could lead to dry, itchy skin, eczema, hair loss, joint pains, reduced fertility, increased rate of miscarriage, depression, poor memory, slow metabolic rate, reduced immune function, hormonal imbalances, fatigue and circulatory problems.
Some prescription and over-the-counter medications, recreational drugs, herbal remedies, and vitamin and mineral supplements can be toxic to the liver. Take caution when using these, especially when taken in high doses or in combination with other medications. Because the liver processes toxins, you shouldn't expose yourself to toxic liquids and fumes such as solvents and paint thinners.
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