Activities such as travelling, taking medications including pain killers, getting a tattoo or a pedicure, having drinks and chicken wings with friends, smoking, sexual relations, and even cleaning your home and gardening, could all have a significant impact on the overall functioning of your liver. Being aware of how your behaviour affects your liver can go a long way in helping prevent liver issues. Have a chat with a physician, if you have concerns.
Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants, which are vital for overall liver health. Be sure to wash them well right before use to remove pesticides. Your liver particularly loves “stinky” raw vegetables with high sulphur content (i.e., broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic and onions)! High intakes of sugar and fried fatty foods have been associated with an increased risk for developing a fatty liver. Start by incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet, increasing your water intake, and moderating refined sugars to help improve the health of your liver.
We all live busy lives and may not have the time and funds to go to a gym. Physically moving to maintain a healthy weight and excess fat around your middle can help towards prevention of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (the most common liver disease affecting 20% of Canadians).Whenever you can, try to add movement, such as parking far away from the store entrance, ride your bike to work, or take the stairs instead of an escalator or elevator when possible. Add some extra steps by going the long way from your workspace to the lunchroom or washroom.Aim to gradually increase your physical activity to 30-60 minutes a day, whether it’s by a walk around the neighbourhood after dinner or getting off at the bus or subway stop prior to your usual one.
Depending on what your job is, it might be difficult to completely steer clear of toxins, but if you are working with pesticides and other toxins, read the warning labels on the packages of chemicals that you use and wear a mask and make sure to properly ventilate your space when they are being used. Reduce your liver’s exposure to toxins by choosing environmentally friendly products or baking soda or vinegar. Exposure to toxins and pesticides have been strongly linked to liver disease.
Help prevent liver disease by getting vaccinated for hepatitis A and B, practicing safe sex, and washing your hands often. It’s a hard-working organ that doesn’t complain early on, but when it’s feeling tired and overworked, you may or may not be aware of any symptoms, so it’s important to ask your doctor to request liver enzyme tests to be performed. Basic liver tests are not a part of annual healthcare check-ups.Incorporating these easy everyday tips on nutrition, activity, toxin exposure and prevention can help decrease your risk of liver disease and increase your chances of feeling more energized and less tressed!