Your liver may not be functioning at its optimal level if you have constant fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, and yellowing of skin and whites in the eyes. To improve the health of your liver, you need to give your diet and lifestyle an overhaul.
A healthy liver keeps your bodys regulatory, detoxification and metabolic functions in tip top condition. Fortunately, most liver problems are reversible if discovered early.
The liver is an amazing organ which can rejuvenate itself. Liver failure develops over time. You can stop a fatty liver condition from deteriorating into more serious liver cirrhosis and liver cancer by making significant changes to your diet and lifestyle, says Dr Victor Lee Tswen Wen, Consultant, Department of General Surgery at Singapore General Hospital (SGH).
The liver is the bodys major cleaning and clearing house.
A healthy liver regulates blood glucose levels and removes bilirubin from the bloodstream. Bilirubin is a byproduct from the normal breakdown of red blood cells.
In addition, the liver processes food, extracting nutrients, and produces bile to digest fatty foods. Any excess nutrients are stored in the liver.
The liver also detoxifies. It removes toxins that are ingested through alcohol, medications and contaminated food, from the bloodstream.
8 tips for a healthy liver
1. Moderate your alcohol intakeThe liver can only process or break down a small amount of alcohol every hour. For this reason, men should limit their alcohol intake to two drinks a day while women should only have one. A standard drink is equivalent to one ordinary beer or one small glass of wine.
2. Cut down on fatty foodsReduce the amount of saturated fats, trans fats and hydrogenated fats in your diet. Saturated fats are found in deep fried foods, red meats and dairy products. Trans and hydrogenated fats are found in processed foods. The liver stores excess dietary fat, and fat buildup can eventually bring on fatty liver disease.
3. Reduce body weightObesity, particularly, abdominal or central obesity, is a major risk factor for developing fatty liver disease. Eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly to maintain a healthy weight. A fatty liver slows down the digestion of fats. Do aim for the ideal body mass index (BMI) target. The healthy cut-off values recommended by MOH and HPB Singapore are between 18.5 and 22.9.
4. Avoid over-supplementation with traditional medicines & remediesOver-supplementation may cause liver inflammation. As the liver detoxifies, supplementation with certain traditional medicines or remedies can lead to liver damage or even failure. This is because some of these remedies contain heavy metals. Taken in large quantities they can result in liver toxicity or they can affect the regular functioning of your liver.
5. Eat more fibre Eat more high-fibre foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables. For proteins, choose more fish, beans and nuts, and cut down on red meats.
6. Get vaccinatedGet vaccinated against hepatitis A and B, both viral liver infections. Hepatitis A is contracted from contaminated foodand water and hepatitis B, from sexual contact, contaminated blood and needles.
7. Get regular exerciseRegular exercise is key to a healthy liver. Exercise increases energy levels, decreases stress on the liver, and helps to prevent obesity a high risk factor for liver disease. Aim for a total of 150 minutes of exercise, such as brisk walking, per week.
8. Be careful of weight loss pillsOver-the-counter weight loss pills which are available without a prescription may contain ingredients such as Ephedra (ma huang in Chinese) which are harmful to the liver.
The Hepatopancreatobiliary (HPB) and Transplant Service at the Department of General Surgery, Singapore General Hospital (SGH) has an experienced team of surgeons who are adept at and perform a high volume of complex cases annually. The Service is a regional referral centre as well as a leading centre of clinical research. Over the past decade, SGH surgeons have performed more than a thousand complex liver and pancreatic operations more than any institution in Singapore with surgical outcomes on par with the very best centres worldwide.
Article contributed by the Dept of General Surgeryat:
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- ^ Dr Victor Lee Tswen Wen (www.sgh.com.sg)
- ^ Department of General Surgery (www.sgh.com.sg)
- ^ Singapore General Hospital (SGH) (www.sgh.com.sg)
- ^ Singapore General Hospital (SGH) (www.sgh.com.sg)
- ^ Dept of General Surgery (www.sgh.com.sg)
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