The liver plays a vital role in keeping us alive and healthy, yet it is often taken for granted and even mistreated. In this article, we take a closer look at the liver and offer some tips for keeping yours in tip-top shape.
The liver has multiple metabolic functions. The main ones are to remove toxins from the blood, and to process food and drink into important nutrients. It also produces bile that is used for digestion and proteins for blood clotting. It breaks down fats and produces energy, as well as ensuring blood glucose levels remain constant. In short, we cannot live without our livers!
The following tips may seem a bit familiar, as taking care of your liver really involves the same steps as taking care of your whole body.
Help your liver do its job by eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease can become serious, so it’s important to take steps to reduce your liver fat. Cut down on saturated fats and refined carbohydrate and make sure you eat plenty of fibre. If you need to kickstart a wellness regime, you might like to consider a break at a health spa.
Regular overconsumption of alcohol can have lots of negative consequences for the whole body, not least the liver. Alcohol destroys liver cells and creates a risk of developing alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD), which can progress to cirrhosis of the liver. It can be easy to overdo it, and even a few days of overconsumption can lead to a build up of fat in the liver (the first stage of ARLD), so it’s worth keeping an alcohol diary to find out if you are exceeding the recommended limits. You can find more information here: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/alcohol-support/calculating-alcohol-units/
We are exposed to lots of toxins on a daily basis, many of which are outside our control. However, we can help to protect our livers by not smoking and by limiting our direct contact with chemicals and other toxic nasties. It’s also important to drink plenty of water. As well as keeping you hydrated, it also works to flush out the liver.
Hepatitis A, B and C all inflame the liver. They can be caused by alcohol or drug consumption but are most commonly caused by a virus. Hepatitis A is often spread through contaminated food and water. Hepatitis B is caused by contact with the body or bodily fluids, so by sharing a razor or toothbrush with an infected person, for example, or through unsafe sexual activity. Hepatitis C is spread through contact with infected blood. Vaccines are available for A and B (but not C), and are often recommend for those travelling abroad.
Nowadays, detoxing is big business. However, the jury remains out as to whether it has specific advantages for the liver. A healthy liver is a resilient organ that is capable of regenerating itself. It works as an efficient processing system that we can help do its job by taking some simple lifestyle-related steps, such as giving our livers a regular break from alcohol. There are lots of products on the market that claim to detox the liver, but it is possible to do more harm than good. Always talk to a doctor before you undertake any liver cleansing or detoxing regime. That being said, your whole body can benefit from a more general detox that promotes wellness and relaxation.
If you’re ready to give your health a boost, contact our spa experts today to discuss starting off your new regime in style with a spa day or break.