January is Love Your Liver Awareness Month
It’s January and that means it’s Love Your Liver Awareness Month. Our liver is an absolute powerhouse of an organ and is responsible for over 300 functions of the body. Amongst its many important roles, the liver filters, cleanses and breakdowns everything that passes through our body. Quite simply, it is our body’s natural detoxifier. When the liver becomes overwhelmed with toxins, its natural working cycle slows down. This happens when our body becomes overloaded with things such as alcohol, drugs, processed and fatty foods and chemicals (such as pesticides left on produce).
Here are some things you can do to look after your liver
Try not to drink too much alcohol
We all may enjoy having a drink here and there, but when do we know that we’ve consumed too much? If you drink too much alcohol over a long period of time, this can potentially damage your liver and can result in alcohol-related liver disease or cancer. To reduce your risk, try to drink less alcohol. According to the British Liver Trust, “men and women should drink no more than 14 units per week.” It’s also important to give your liver a break by making sure it has 2-3 alcohol-free days every week. Many of us are going even further this month and trying Dry January, the UK’s one month alcohol free challenge!
Do some regular exercise
Another way to make sure you have a healthy liver is to do some exercise on a regular basis. This is because there can be a build-up of fatty deposits over time, which can cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). So, make sure you’re regularly exercising and maintaining a healthy weight. By doing so, you’re reducing your risk of developing this disease.
Make sure you eat a balanced diet
A balanced diet also helps to keep your liver healthy. Try to avoid eating too many meals that are high in calories, saturated fats, sugars and refined carbohydrates. Instead, eat a diet that contains fibre from fruits and vegetables. If you particularly love meat, you can still include it in your diet but try to eat less red meat. In terms of dairy, low-fat milk is preferred. It’s also a good idea to have monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are also known as the ‘good’ fats. You can obtain this from vegetable oils, nuts and fish. Make sure you’re also drinking plenty of water!
Try to avoid toxins
Toxins can range from some cleaning products to chemicals, which can end up damaging your liver cells. So, make sure you try to avoid toxins or lessen your exposure. If you do have to use chemicals, ensure that the room is properly ventilated and consider wearing a mask.
Let’s all make a good start to 2022 by looking after our livers as best we can!
You can find out more about Love Your Liver awareness month and do your own liver health screening online at the British Liver Trust’s website.