MEDAHUMAN Love your liver – Tips on protecting your liver over the festive season
We often think about the heart and brain as our major organs, but the liver is one of the most important processing hubs we have in the body, that helps us to break down substances, remove toxins and help keep us alive – we couldn’t live without our livers!
Over the festive season, the liver can take a bit of a beating – increased alcohol, sugar and less movement are a cocktail of liver stressors.
So what can we do to offset some of the festive fun on our livers?
Read on below for nutritionists Clarissa Lenherr’s top liver health tips.
WHAT ROLE DOES THE LIVER PLAY?
The liver is responsible for breaking down substances and toxins in the body so that they can be removed and “detoxified”, producing bile salts to help with food digestion, fighting infections, and hormone balance and plays a role in the conversion of our glucose and glycogen for energy and fat storage. It’s a pretty important organ!
WHY MIGHT THE LIVER NEED SUPPORT DURING THE FESTIVE SEASON?
The festive season is a time of overindulgence – alcohol, fatty foods, sugar – some of the best tasting things around. Whilst occasional consumption is unlikely to impact your liver, frequent or high consumption can put stress on your liver health.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO SUPPORT OUR LIVER?
Be mindful of alcohol. Our liver is the site where we break down alcohol, and during this process, harmful substances are created that can damage liver cells. We are not talking about one or two occasional tipples, heavy drinking is linked to significant liver stress. Aim for no more than 14 units per week of alcohol, avoid binge drinking and consider trying MEDA HUMANS no and low alcohol options.
Hydrate. The liver needs water to help it act as our body’s filter. Aim for 1.5-2L of plain water each day.
Keep sugar to a minimum. When we consume foods high in sugar, our bodies break this down into glucose. If we don’t use this glucose as energy it is stored as fat. One of the primary places this fat is stored is in our liver, which can lead to non-alcohol fatty liver disease. Keep to no more than 30g of added sugar per day and opt for lower sugar alternatives.
Increase your intake of cruciferous vegetables. This family of vegetables includes rocket, brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower – to name a few. Studies have found that compounds found in these vegetables may help to fight fatty liver disease. Consume one portion of these vegetables per day.
Get in your exercise. Regular movement can help to reduce stress on the liver, fat storage and fatty acid oxidation. Moving in any shape or form is great, but aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate activity per week (bike ride, brisk walking) or 75 minutes of high intensity per week (dancing, spinning).
Reduce exposure to toxins in the home. Chemicals used in the home are processed by the liver and any toxins can put increased stress on this major organ. Opt for natural or lower chemical cleaning products, skincare, make up and cooking utensils.