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Are you looking after your liver?

As well as reducing your alcohol intake, eating healthily can also help your liver.  Find out what you can do to support your liver.

Are You Looking After Your Liver?

Are you a regular or heavy drinker? Many people do not keep track of their weekly alcohol intake, and those that decide to log their consumption are usually shocked by the results.

Your liver is particularly at risk from excess alcohol, and modern food, which is full of chemicals, all of which can put a huge strain on your liver. The recent study by Doug Sellman from the National Addiction Centre using the latest diagnostic criteria, showed that 1 in 10 New Zealanders are now considered to be alcoholics. With alcohol consumption such an established part of our society, with its prevalence at many of our social gatherings such as parties, watching sporting events and general socialising, it is no wonder that many people do not consider themselves to be heavy drinkers as they consume the same amount as their peers, which is then considered ‘the norm’ and therefore acceptable.

Facing up to the reality of your alcohol consumption

When is too much too much? Everyone is different, what to one person is acceptable, for another is too much. Knowing your own limits and making decisions based on your circumstances, health and well being must be your own priority. If you feel you have a problem, or that you are worried about the amount of alcohol you are consuming, then seek some advice. A convenient, professional online assessment can help you ascertain whether you're drinking too much.

There is a lot of advice and support online, also organisations such as the AA (Alcoholics Anonymous). Visit your GP, especially if you are worried about health issues concerned with excess alcohol, for example liver disease.  A simple blood test can reveal the present condition of your liver function.

Keeping your liver healthy

As well as reducing your alcohol intake, eating healthily can also help your liver. The liver requires a good supply of vitamin E and B complex vitamins in order to function well. Vitamins such as B12 which is needed to help with the breakdown of fats, carbohydrates and proteins, are found in animal sources such as salmon, chicken, eggs and milk. Vegetarians or vegans would need to take supplements or eat a cereal which has been fortified with these vitamins as they are not found within plants.

Nicola Cutler L.Ac from Liver Support recommends a good multi-vitamin supplement to promote a healthy liver, although those with liver damage may need to avoid certain vitamins and minerals found in some multivitamin tablets. For example, normally vitamin A has several benefits to the liver, but it can also be toxic to the liver in high doses and it is suggested that someone with cirrhosis limit their vitamin A intake to less than 5,000 units per day. Apart from where taken as beta-carotene which is not dangerous and has no set limits.

Garlic is also great for your liver!

If you’re looking for a diet to keep your liver in tip top condition then make sure it includes a healthy dollop of garlic. Garlic, which is related to the Lily, has many sulphur rich compounds which is what also gives it that pungent aroma. These compounds together with selenium, Arginine, and Vitamins B6 and C, mean that it is a great health food with many benefits for the liver and general health also. The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry in October 2013, claim that garlic may be beneficial in protecting against liver cancer.

Natural ways to look after your liver

If you’re looking for some natural ingredients to use that have benefits for your liver then why not try Dandelion root? This can be bought in granule form and promotes liver detoxification. Or Milk Thistle Extract which is bought in tablet form or as a tincture, this detoxifies and also protects against liver damage.

Healthy liver, healthy you

By taking care of your liver, you are allowing it to take care of you. Many people risk causing permanent damage and long term health problems by neglecting this vital organ. With so many toxins in everything, from the food we eat, our water and even the air that we breathe, it is the livers job to remove these chemicals from our bodies before they harm us. Help your liver perform at optimum efficiency by eating healthily and cutting down on your alcohol consumption. Prevention is better than cure, take those first few steps to a healthier lifestyle and make those changes that will benefit not only you, but those who love you too.

Article by Jenni Norman


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The Naturopathic Team
Ideal Health

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered and is intended to be used for educational and general information purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice or as a means to diagnose, treat, cure or prescribe for any particular condition or disease. You assume all responsibility for the treatment which may be undertaken as a result of the information on this site, or treatment recommended by any other party. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.

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