The liver performs more than 500 important functions for the body. From protein synthesis to metabolizing fat, the liver is the seat of various biochemical reactions. The body’s detoxification process happens in the liver and it is here that vitamins and minerals are stored. Since the organ is important for the day to day functioning of the body, it can get affected with many activities that we indulge in. so the food we eat, things we drink, habits that we follow all influence the health of our liver. Let us look at some surprising things that hurt this organ.
12 Causes of Liver Damage
Drinking Less Water
Water helps to detoxify the body. Dehydration affects the body as our bodies are 75% water. The liver needs ample amounts of fluids to stay efficient and drinking less than the requisite amount will lead to liver problems. Water consumption helps the liver to maintain its reserves and dehydration leads to increased risk of illness.
You needn’t drink excessive amounts of alcohol to see its damaging effects on the body. Each body has a different reaction and threshold to alcohol and what may be overuse for one person could cause no reaction in the other. A lot of it depends on who much inflammation is already present and how overworked the liver already is. An excessive amount of inflammation can initiate cirrhosis and liver diseases. It is best to drink in moderation and to limit the frequency of alcohol consumption.
Not just lung cancer, but even liver cancer is related to smoking. Smoke inhaled because of tobacco burning affects the liver. The oxidative stress that cigarette smoke causes are immense and it pressurizes the liver to detoxify the blood. This releases harmful chemicals in the body and ultimately leads to liver cancer.
Weighing More Than Needed
Being heavier than the ideal weight means there is too much adipose tissue or fat cells. These release toxic proteins that harm the liver tissue. Obesity can damage the liver much like alcohol consumption and even lead to liver cancer.
A High-Sugar Diet
Too much sugar is bad for the system. Since the liver is the sea for glucose metabolism, too much sugar causes a fat buildup on the liver. While all the cells in the body can take care of glucose molecules, only liver cells can handle fructose. Fructose is part of all colas and most junk and processed food items. Frequent and sustained fructose consumption can lead to irreversible liver damage. Turn to natural sugars for sweet tooth cravings and avoid processed food.
Eating Heavy Dinners
The liver does a majority of its work at night. Eating rich and heavy food just before bedtime puts extra pressure on the liver leading to damage over a period of time. So meals rich in canola oil, shortening, and margarine are especially harmful to the body. To protect your liver, you could eat carrots and beetroots in the evening which have impressive liver cleansing properties. They clean up the organ and even help rebuild it.
A Trans Fat Heavy Diet
Almost all packed and processed foods have Trans fats. These are responsible for raising the bad cholesterol levels in the body and leading to heart trouble. Another harmful effect of Trans fats is that they reduce the levels of good cholesterol. Found in baked goods, microwave popcorn, and pre-packaged and fried foods, Trans fats also find their way in our diet when we go out to eat as some restaurants sneak in those in the oil so as to avoid changing it too frequently.
Practicing Unsafe Sex
Those who indulge in unsafe sex practices stand at a higher risk of liver damage than their counterparts who practice safe sex. The biggest culprit is hepatitis– a potentially fatal liver disease that is contracted sexually. To protect your liver, use condoms and latex protection and always practice safe sex whether you have steady or multiple partners.
Whether it is over the counter medicines or the prescribed ones or even herbal supplements, each medicine is broken down by the liver and thus has an effect on the liver’s health. In most cases, there is no effect on the liver but if medications are taken in high doses or too many drugs are mixed with each other, it can harm the liver.
A Stressful Lifestyle
Feeling stressed for a long period of time over the years can result in liver damage. Research has linked this organ to the emotion of anger and feeling stressed or angry too often can lead to permanent damage. Studies have found a connection between psychological stress and deaths due to liver problems.
A Sedentary Lifestyle
Exercising is related to better overall health but it also helps the liver specifically. Burning calories leads to perspiration which helps the body detoxify itself thus providing a helping hand to the liver. Exercise at least three to four times a week and even half an hour of walking is sufficient to keep your body in good shape.
Skipping Regular Medical Checkup
While most people get regular checkups done for their cholesterol, blood pressure and their heart, many skip the liver function test that checks the liver’s health. Even those who don’t consume alcohol must get their liver checked regularly as many liver conditions are not related to alcohol and do not show symptoms of damage until it is too late. Talk to your doctor on how to get the liver function test conducted.
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Whether or not you consume alcohol, you must be watchful of what you eat or drink to keep your liver in good shape. Get yourself regularly checked to avoid serious complications. Reduce alcohol consumption, quit smoking and exercise regularly to boost your hepatic health. Hydrate yourself by drinking sufficient quantities of water.