Not only is the liver the second largest organ in your body (second only to skin), it does plenty. In fact, the liver is responsible for processing virtually everything we eat — protein, fat or carbohydrate — and turning it into glucose that our body uses for fuel. That’s why it’s so important to treat your liver with TLC.
Here’s how to do it:
Eat Organic Foods
Yes, there’s controversy about just how beneficial organic foods are but there’s no denying certified organic foods have fewer pesticides, growth hormones and chemical additives, all of which put a burden on your liver. By opting for organic you’re eating the purest foods available.
Limit Other dietary No-No’s
That includes fructose, fried foods and processed foods containing trans fats or hydrogenated oils. According to a study in the journal Hepatology, a diet high in fructose and trans fats can lead to fatty liver disease.
Bump Up Veggies
Sulfur-rich foods, such as onions, garlic and all the veggies in the cruciferous family (broccoli, kale, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, etc.) are known to help your liver detoxify environmental toxins. Vegetables are also an excellent source of fiber, which helps toxins to move through your digestive tract, reducing stress on your liver.
Drink Alcohol Moderately
Booze can destroy liver cells and lead to liver damage that causes a fatty liver, inflammation, alcoholic hepatitis or cirrhosis. If you already have liver disease, drinking even a small amount of alcohol can make it worse.
Opt for Natural Products
The more chemicals you are exposed to, the harder your liver has to work to keep you healthy. You can reduce stress on your liver by using natural personal care products for your body and for cleaning your home. You’ll also want to avoid spraying pesticides in or around your home.
Watch Your Meds
Acetaminophen (brand name Tylenol) is notorious for its potential danger to your liver, as overdose of this drug is actually the leading cause of acute liver failure in the United States. Prescription medications, especially if taken with alcohol also stresses out your liver.
Eat Dark Chocolate
One study shows that some of the very same properties of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate responsible for protecting the heart and blood vessels may also be working to protect patients suffering from cirrhosis of the liver.
One study published in Hepatology found that staying active for at least 150 minutes a week improved liver enzymes and other indications of liver function. Plus, when you exercise you help to maintain a healthy body weight. Obesity increases the risk of fatty liver disease.