The liver is one of the largest and most important organs in your body. Everything you eat or drink passes through it.
The liver is about the size of a football and sits underneath your rib cage on the right side. With this sleek organ’s importance, it’s vital that you keep it healthy.
A healthy liver can make a difference in attributes such as skin coloring, water retention, particularly in the extremities, and urine color—just to name a few.
A doctor can test your blood for elevated liver enzymes, which may indicate damaged cells. There are many reasons liver enzymes can be elevated but some common reasons include over-the-counter drugs, alcohol consumption, obesity and certain prescription medications, such as statin drugs used to control cholesterol.
“Caring for your liver comes down to avoiding what’s bad for it rather than consuming what’s good,” said Dr. Nicholas Avgerinos, a family medicine physician with Family Medical Associates of Manchester.
Below are four ways to maintain a healthy liver and a healthy life.
Watch what you drink.
Abusing alcohol, either binge drinking or drinking over long periods of time can damage the liver and lead to irreversible scarring of the organ, called cirrhosis. Guidelines state men should not consume more than two alcoholic beverages daily; women no more than one daily.
Livers love healthy foods.
You can help prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease by loading up on fruits, vegetables and non-processed foods. Avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners as much as possible.
Contamination among dietary supplements and protein powders is common with things such as heavy metals which can put unnecessary stress on the liver.
Exercise is great for liver health.
It helps keep weight down, boost mood and get the blood circulating.
Watch your medications.
The National Institutes of Health keeps a database of pills and the like known to be harmful to liver function.
For more information and ways to keep your liver healthy, speak with your health care provider.