Love your liver
The liver is one of the body’s largest and most important organs, performing over 500 vital functions that include cleansing blood, eliminating toxins, transforming nutrients into energy and storing vitamins and minerals. To keep this all-important organ in tip-top shape, here’s what you should cut out for a healthy liver.
Drinking too much alcohol
We’re all well aware of the damaging effects alcohol can have on the body, especially when it comes to the liver. But what’s surprising for some is that it doesn’t always take excessive amounts of alcohol to cause severe damage. “Overuse of alcohol can differ from patient to patient, but however much is ‘too much’ for you can result in ongoing inflammation and overwork,” says John Iskander, MD, a gastroenterologist at the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. “Years and decades of ongoing inflammation can ultimately lead to the development of scar tissue and cirrhosis, or end-stage liver disease, which is the leading cause of liver failure in the United States.” If you’re a healthy adult, it’s safe to drink in moderation, but if you have a family history of alcoholism or alcohol-related liver diseases, limit regular use.
Not drinking enough water
You’ve heard before that you’re supposed to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. While it might seem like a lot, our bodies are composed of approximately 65 percent of the stuff – meaning we need all the H2O we can get. “Dehydration can have a direct effect on our liver’s ability to properly detoxify our body,” says Michele Neil-Sherwood, DO, of the Functional Medical Institute and co-author of The Quest for Wellness. “So as the liver loses hydration, it also loses its organ reserve, or what it uses to take care of the rest of the body.” And when this happens, your risk of illness increases.