What does your body do with the toxins that enter it? It hands them off to your liver for processing, that’s what.
Your liver is essential to your existence. So treat it with extra care! Try to avoid the following 10 liver-unfriendly habits whenever possible.
You already know it, but excessive consumption of alcohol (1) is your liver’s worst enemy.
Drinking too much alcohol can lead to alcoholic liver disease. This is often the precursor to more severe stages of alcohol-induced liver disease.
In fact, alcoholic hepatitis can be diagnosed based on the presence of fat in liver cells combined with mild scarring and inflammation.
Even more serious is alcoholic cirrhosis, in which the liver becomes severely scarred and deformed.
2. Eating Too Much
As you might imagine, the excess fat (2) that you store in your abdomen when you’re overweight also creeps into your liver.
That’s why obesity can contribute to fatty liver disease. Often times, there are no perceptible symptoms until it’s too late. When symptoms do manifest, your liver is already so badly damaged that it is barely functioning.
As time goes on, often years or even decades, you can get problems like:
- Feeling tired
- Confusion or trouble concentrating
3. Avoiding Protein-Rich Foods
Eating a balanced diet will let your liver rejuvenate itself. Focus on getting enough calories, carbs, fats and proteins (3) to provide as much support to your liver as possible.
Cirrhosis patients need a diet particularly rich in protein and calories to help their livers repair themselves.
One particular amino acid called cysteine helps the body make glutathione, a key antioxidant that helps protect the liver from damage.
4. Binging on Processed Foods
The fat buildup in the liver induced by a sugar overload(4) can lead to the formation of scar tissue, one of the causes of cirrhosis.
The natural sugars in fruits and vegetables are fine because they usually come with dietary fiber and therefore metabolize slowly.
Unnaturally sweetened and processed foods, however, are full of sugar and almost no dietary fiber, which is not good for your liver (or any part of your body) and should be avoided as often as possible.
Research has suggested that sleeping poorly is associated with increased fatty liver disease risk(5).
Inadequate time spent asleep can lead to plethora of health problems. If you have trouble sleeping at night, try this natural syrup.
6. Taking Too Many Pills
The most common drug in this category is acetaminophen(6), which is found in Tylenol.
It’s generally a safe chemical to consume, even for people with fatty liver disease—but continuous and prolonged consumption can lead to liver damage.
Healthy individuals should limit their intake to 1000 mg per dose and 3000 mg per day.
Among the many adverse aspects of smoking cigarettes is its effect on the human liver. It can both aggravate existing liver disease and cause liver damage.
One study(7) examined biopsies from over 300 patients with chronic hepatitis C and found that the cigarette smokers among them had sustained more liver damage than the non-smokers.
Another study, conducted in 2011, found a strong link between smoking and liver cancer.
8. Not Getting Enough B Vitamins
B-complex vitamins can’t reverse the effects of cirrhosis, but they can help lessen symptoms such as nerve damage and memory loss.
For some, vitamin B12 can be difficult to get except through supplements or treatments—but it’s important in your liver’s detoxification process.
It’s especially important for vegans to pay attention to their levels of B12, because the vitamin is found almost exclusively in animal products.
9. Holding It In
Make it a habit: as soon as you get up, urinate(9). Keeping your urine shut in your body means exposing your body to waste for longer than you need to.
When you urinate, you flush out toxins from your body, which promotes good liver and overall body health.
Toxins accumulate overnight, so by the time morning comes your body is well overdue for a session on the toilet.
10. Not Eating Breakfast
Holding off on that morning boost is just plain bad for your health. This practice is well-reputed to cause weight gain in the long-run—and weight gain, as we’ve already established, is no good for your liver.
Another reason to pack in a hearty breakfast(10) every morning is to make sure you set a non-toxic, non-processed, nutrient rich standard for the rest of your day. Your liver will definitely thank you one day.
Your liver keeps your body toxin-free. Treat it with care by avoiding processed foods and poisons of all sorts.