The liver is one of the largest organs in the body and has many important functions. Once food has been digested, aided by a fluid it produces called bile that helps the body break down fats, it then processes the nutrients so that the body can use them. Blood gets cleaned and toxic substances are converted into harmless ones, or the liver makes sure they are removed from the body. Finally, it stores excess sugar, which can be used when blood sugar levels are low.
Because the liver has so many roles to play in our day-to-day functioning, it is vital to take care of it.
Things to watch out for
Certain foods and drinks contain toxins which may be harmful, including refined sugar and high-salt processed foods. Diseases such as hepatitis, can also significantly damage liver function. It is important to know that once your liver is damaged, it will require extra care and may not work as well as it did previously.
Things that may damage liver function:
- Particular herbal remedies
- Large doses of vitamin A
- Certain medicines
- Fatty foods
- High levels of saturated fat
- High calorie intake and obesity
- High salt intake
One of the most common causes of liver problems is fatty liver disease, which occurs when too much fat is present in the liver (5-10%) and is usually caused by poor diet, unhealthy weight, high cholesterol, and diabetes. When fat builds up in the liver it becomes more difficult to break down, affecting liver function and causing inflammation.
Keeping your liver healthy
A low-fat diet combined with regular exercise gives the liver a helping hand by reducing the amount of fat it has to process. Also, check the medicines you are taking as certain medications and supplements can cause damage to your liver.