Take Care of your liver
The liver is the second largest organ of the body and is located right under the rib cage on your right side. It weighs about three pounds and is shaped like a football that is flat on one side.
What are the functions of the liver?
The liver plays a critical role in maintaining the body’s overall health – if the liver fails, the body fails too. Fortunately, the liver can function even when 75% of it is diseased or removed. This is because it has an incredible capacity for regeneration or the ability to grow new liver tissue. The following are some of its major functions:
- Stores vitamins, sugar and iron to help give your body energy.
- Controls the production and removal of cholesterol.
- Clears the blood of waste products and other poisonous substances.
- Makes clotting factors to stop excessive bleeding after cuts or injuries.
- Produces immune factors and removes bacteria from the bloodstream to combat infections
- Release a substance called “bile” to help digest food and absorb important nutrients
How to keep your liver healthy
Take care or your liver by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
- Eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise. A person who eats a lot of fatty foods is at higher risk of being overweight and having non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) – a condition that may lead to cirrhosis, which may be deadly. Drink plenty of water to eliminate toxins from the body.
- Limit the amount of alcohol intake. Heavy alcohol intake may lead to liver injury, the most advanced type of which cirrhosis wherein the healthy liver cells are replaced by scar tissue preventing the liver from functioning properly.
- Manage medications. The liver can be harmed when medicines including over the counter drugs are taken incorrectly – taking too much or the wrong type or by mixing medications. Herbal medicines and dietary or weight loss supplements may also contain components that are harmful to the liver. Always consult a doctor before taking medicines and supplements.
- Avoid breathing in or touching toxins. Cleaning products, aerosol products, insecticide chemicals and additives in cigarettes have chemicals that can damage the liver. Avoid direct contact with them and don’t smoke.
- Get vaccinated against hepatitis. The World Health Organization recommends that all infants receive the hepatitis B vaccine as soon as possible after birth.