Staying away from aerated drinks and adopting an active lifestyle are among the top tips to keep your liver hale and healthy
The liver is one of the most vital organs associated with multiple physiological functions such as cholesterol secretion, detoxification, hormone secretion, and even glucose metabolism. Liver disease has been on the rise during the recent years and it has been attributed to unhealthy diet, excess alcohol consumption, and sedentary lifestyle along with other co-morbid conditions like diabetes.
Hepatologists point out that most liver conditions start showing visible signs and symptoms quite late after their onset. As a result, in the absence of early intervention, recovery from most of these conditions becomes a bit tricky and difficult. They however point out some simple and practical tips for healthy liver that could be adopted as your resolution for 2024.
Tips to have better liver health in 2024
1. Drink in moderation for healthy liver
Excess alcohol consumption is one of the main reasons for liver damage including liver cirrhosis, says Prof Dr Neelamekan Thoppa Kapali, HOD gastroenterology and liver transplant surgeon, Fortis Malar, Chennai. Avoid alcohol or make sure you have it in moderation to avoid the accumulation of fat in the liver causing alcoholic fatty liver disease. Dr Chetan Kalal, program director of liver, pancreas, and intestine transplantation at Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital Mumbai says a definitive no to binge drinking. Alcohol drinkers, especially binge drinkers are at a higher risk of alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and liver failure.
2. Live clean and eat clean
Dr Kalal says that practicing good personal hygiene is extremely important for maintaining liver health. Simple tasks like washing your hands thoroughly would help prevent liver diseases. He adds that washing your hands before and after using the restroom could help prevent viral infections like hepatitis which could infect your liver.
Washing fruits and vegetables before using them is also recommended to wash off the toxins from pesticides and insecticides used which is used to keep them safe till harvest. The residue of these toxins on their outer surface could damage your liver.
3. Go easy on carbs and eat home-cooked food
Excess intake of refined carbs mainly from ultra-processed food and refined grains and cereals get deposited on the liver which could lead to fatty liver. Delhi-based nutritionist Eshita also says that a balanced healthy diet with fruits like papaya and berries with antioxidants could prevent liver inflammation. Consumption of chemical-laced ultra-processed food with preservatives could also adversely affect your liver health since it has to deal with toxins.
4. Drink more water and no aerated drinks
Drinking enough water is recommended to avoid dehydration and to support liver function. “Water helps remove toxins and the liver relies on sufficient fluids to perform its functions effectively,” says Dr Kalal. Experts also point out that aerated sugary beverages lead to the early onset of fatty liver disease.
5. Adopt an active lifestyle for healthy liver
“Engaging in regular physical activity can help support liver function,” says Dr Kapali. One of the other crucial factors is sleep. Therefore, try to get seven hours of good sleep each night along with routine health checkups.
6. Don’t miss your hepatitis vaccination
Dr Kalal suggests vaccinations as a preventive measure against potentially harmful viruses like Hepatitis B, which can help prevent liver disease. Being vaccinated can significantly reduce the risk of contracting an infection and reduce the severity of illness caused by certain viruses, such as Hepatitis A and B.
7. Do not self-medicate
Dr Kapali cautions against taking medications and supplements without medical supervision to protect your liver — be it for any specific health condition. The liver is at higher risk in such instances since it is responsible for removing excess toxins and chemicals from your body.
8. Do not stress
Dr Kapali points out that there is a direct link between stress and liver health. He points out that high levels of stress negatively impact liver health since it triggers excess cortisol secretion. Cortisol in excess levels could lead to inflammation in the liver that could lead to multiple liver conditions like fatty liver which could be a precursor to liver failure if left unaddressed.