Take care of your Liver

You probably know that too much alcohol on a regular basis and over a certain period of time, can damage your liver, but what about too much sugar?  Let’s have a look at habits that can easily damage your liver and cause irreparable damage to your health.

Your liver is a key player in your body’s digestive system. Everything you eat or drink, including medicine, passes through it. You need to treat it right so it can stay healthy and do its job. It’s an organ you could easily damage if you don’t take good care of it and once it’s damaged, you cannot repair it. Your liver is about the size of a Rugby Ball and sits under your lower rib cage on the right side. It has several important things to do. It helps clean your blood by getting rid of harmful chemicals that your body makes. It makes liquid called bile, which helps you break down fat from food. And it also stores sugar called glucose, which gives you a quick energy boost when you need it. You probably know that too much alcohol on a regular basis and over a certain period of time, can damage your liver, but what about too much sugar?  Let’s have a look at habits that can easily damage your liver and cause irreparable damage to your health.

Sugar Too much sugar isn’t just bad for your teeth. It can harm your liver, too. The organ uses one type of sugar, called fructose, to create fat. Too much refined sugar and high-fructose corn syrup cause a fatty buildup that can lead to liver disease. Some studies show that sugar can be as damaging to the liver as alcohol, even if you’re not overweight. What is one more reason for you to limit foods with added sugars, like soda, pastries, and candy.

MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) MSG enhances the flavor of many packaged and prepared foods, from chips to diet drinks. (You might see it on a food label as “hydrolyzed vegetable protein,” “yeast extract,” or “soy extract.”) Still, some studies of animals suggest that the chemical may make the liver fatty and inflamed, which can lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and liver cancer.

Some Herbal Supplements Just because the label says “natural” doesn’t mean it’s safe. One serious danger is kava kava, a herb that can relieve menopause symptoms and help you relax. Studies show it can keep the liver from working, causing hepatitis and liver failure. Some countries have banned or restricted the herb, but it’s still available in the U.S. You should always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before you take any herbs on a regular basis.

Too Much Vitamin A You can find vitamin A in eggs and milk as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, especially those that are red, orange, and yellow. There is a rare chance of consuming to much Vitamins  with whole foods, but many supplements also include it since it helps improve vision, strengthen bones, and give a boost to your immune system.  In very high doses, vitamin A is toxic to the liver. To stay safe, never take more than 5,000 IU a day with a supplement.

Soft Drinks Scientists studied the diets of a group of people with NAFLD (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. What stood out was that: 80% of them drank 2 or more soft drinks a day. It didn’t matter if the beverage was calorie-free or a regular soda, which means an ingredient besides regular sugar, like artificial sweeteners are to blame. Previous research with other conditions did show, that artificial sweetener has over time of consumption the same impact on a human body (or worse) than real sugar.

Trans Fats Trans fats are a man-made fat common in packaged foods and baked goods.  You’ll see them listed in the ingredients as “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” or “vegetable shortening.” A diet high in trans fats not only boosts your chances of gaining weight, it makes severe liver disease with scar tissue more likely and your body can’t metabolize the trans fats what can lead to high blood pressure, strokes or heart attacks in the long run. The United States just published new rules for the food industry in regards to trans fats, banning the usage of it in processed foods over the next couple of years.

Unsterile Tattoos With the raising tattoo and body art mania it is important to be aware of possible infection risks. When you get a tattoo or body piercing in a licensed, clean shop that sterilizes its equipment after each customer, the chances you’ll get a serious infection like hepatitis C are low. But if tools aren’t properly cleaned, your risk of hepatitis C shoots up. The virus spreads through contact with the blood of an infected person and causes serious, sometimes lifelong liver illness. Check out the shop and its safety record and ask questions before you get inked.

Obesity If you’re carrying around extra weight, fat can also build up in your liver cells, which can lead to NAFLD. It can make the liver swell. Over time, hardened scar tissue can replace healthy tissue, a condition called cirrhosis. People who are overweight or obese, middle-aged, or have diabetes are at highest risk of NAFLD. There’s no drug based cure, but eating well and exercise can reverse the disease.

Antidepressants It’s rare, but some antidepressants can harm your liver, even if you take them for only a few days. In some cases, the damage can be deadly. Older people or anyone taking a lot of other medications at the same time, are at higher risk because their liver may be damaged already. If you’re taking antidepressants, talk with your doctor to make sure you’re on the smallest dose you need. Make sure you know the symptoms of liver illness to watch for.

My health and wellness recommendations are always based on international medical research or international accredited guidelines. But they may not apply to everyone, depending on their individual health status, age, sex, gender, genetic, tradition and religion. Nutrition is never an exact Science, because no human being is the same as the other. Judith Coulson is a Medical Nutritionist & Lifestyle Consultant working with Individuals, Groups, Schools and Executive Teams. Reflect on your diet or manage your Weight or Chronic Disease in booking your individual, insurance deductible, Nutrition Consulting and contact Judith@lifestylefoodclinic.com

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