By Rebecca McBride, Specialist Dietitian
The liver is a vital organ: if it were to stop functioning for one single day, we would be unable to survive.
Learn some fascinating facts about the liver:
- the liver filters all your blood and breaks down poisonous substances, such as alcohol and drugs. It also filters the blood by removing certain hormones. It is the body’s main detoxifier.
- the liver produces bile, a fluid that helps digest fats and carry away waste.
- the bile produced by the liver also helps in the absorption of fats and certain vitamins.
- other vitamins, minerals, and glycogen (a form of glucose) are stored in the liver.
Six diet and lifestyle tips for a healthy liver:
- focus on a healthy balanced diet that includes lots of fresh vegetables, fruit, wholegrain, carbohydrates and lean protein, such as chicken without the skin.
- cut down on processed foods and snacks that are high in fat and sugar.
- a common cause of fatty liver is being overweight or obese – if you are overweight, losing 10% of you bodyweight can reduce the amount of fat in the liver and help prevent inflammation.
- make exercise a regular part of you daily routine. Aim for 150 minutes (30 minutes five days per week, for example) of moderate-to-intense activity every week, such as running, cycling or brisk walking.
- drink alcohol moderately. Alcohol is broken down by the liver and excessive alcohol intake can cause damage. Men and women in the UK are advised to drink no more than 14 units per week on a regular basis.
- make sure your vaccinations are up to date. The appropriate travel vaccinations against hepatitis A and B, as well as diseases such as malaria and yellow fever, are important to protect your liver.
What about a detox diet?
There is no need to detox if you have a healthy functioning liver. Thanks to this remarkable organ, the body is naturally designed to be able to clear waste materials such as toxins, chemicals and old hormones in order to prevent an accumulation of potentially toxic and harmful by-products building up in our systems.