January is celebrated as ‘Love Your Liver’ month, largely in the UK as an effort by the British Liver Trust. The charity spreads awareness about risks to your liver and funds research on all aspects of liver diseases.
In the spirit of this month and of new beginnings, we’re here to help you on your journey to love your liver. But before we begin talking about loving your liver, here are some important questions.
The liver is a large reddish-brown organ, made of two lobes which are further divided into smaller lobules. It is the biggest gland and internal organ in the human body. In most people the liver weighs well over a kg.
Take your hand and place it on the upper right-hand corner of your abdominal cavity. There, located below the diaphragm and on top of the stomach, is your liver.
The liver performs a variety of very important tasks which are necessary for normal functioning of our bodies. Some functions of the liver are listed below:
As you can see, the liver is a vital organ and carries out essential functions needed for optimal functioning of our bodies. This is why this Love Your Liver month we’re listing out 5 ways you can actually show your liver some love:
Control your alcohol intake: Alcohol adversely affects your liver by causing a build up of fat, damaging liver cells, by causing inflammation or scarring. To avoid getting fatty liver disease or cirrhosis, be aware of your alcohol intake.
2. Maintaining a healthy weight: If you are overweight or obese, the chances are you are at a higher risk for liver disease. Hence, maintaining a proper nutritional diet and a regular exercise regimen is of essence when taking care of your liver. Focus on eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains and be mindful of your sugar and sodium intake. Also keep a tab on your saturated fat intake.
3. Stop smoking: Smoking has been found to be associated with a higher probability of liver cancer. The chemicals released whilst smoking are known to cause inflammation and damage the liver cells.
Safe sex: Wear a condom, or be informed about your partner’s hepatitis status. This is important to ensure your liver and ultimately your body’s health.
5. Regular checkups and awareness: Make sure to get regular blood tests so you are updated on how your liver is doing. Despite the advancements made in curing once-fatal viruses like hepatitis C, there is lack of awareness. It is therefore important for you to be aware of and educate yourself on such liver diseases. Get proper vaccination if it is available. Lastly, be careful whilst getting tattooed or pierced and make sure only sterilised needles are used.
These are five fairly simple steps you can incorporate in your life that will make a huge difference to your liver health. After all the love your liver has shown you even after endless wine nights or beers in multiple bars - this January, make an effort and show some love back.