Love Your Liver

Now that the Christmas and New Year celebrations are over I think it’s always a good time for everyone to have a look at their lifestyle and take more responsibility for their health and wellbeing by making small changes that can lead to a healthier, happier life.

January is ‘Love your liver’ month, a national campaign carried out by the British Liver Trust promoting awareness of good liver health.

Did you know your liver is the largest organ performing hundreds of essential jobs from fighting infection and disease to cleaning the blood to destroying poisons and drugs!

It works hard and can take a lot of abuse. But it can only take so much before it breaks and causes lasting damage. Liver disease is now the fifth largest cause of death in the UK.

We only have one liver which is why I strongly recommend that everyone knows how to look after it. With a few simple changes you can make a real difference.

Drink less

Know your limits and stick to them. Men shouldn’t drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol a day and women shouldn’t drink more than 2-3 units a day.  Try to take 3 days off alcohol every week to give your liver a chance to repair itself.
Not only that there are many more benefits to cutting down on alcohol, including weight loss, improved mood and better immune health.

Eat less

Your liver processes most of the nutrients and fats in the food you eat. If you are overweight you increase your risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease which over time can cause lasting liver damage. Help your liver to work properly by eating a healthy, balanced diet and drinking plenty of water. 95% of weight loss is achieved by simply reducing intake so start by eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, reducing portion sizes and cutting down on your fat and sugar intake.

Exercise more

Take up regular exercise. This increases your heart rate as well as increasing the amount of oxygen you breathe in, and deliver to your vital organs like your liver.  Walking is an underrated form of exercise, but one that can easily be included in your daily routine.  I would recommend you aim for 30 minutes a day if you can.

Look after yourself

Blood-borne viruses such as hepatitis B and C can cause permanent liver damage and increase the risk of liver cancer. Hepatitis A and E are spread by faecal-oral transmission (usually contaminated food or water). You can avoid these viruses by:

• Getting vaccinated against hepatitis A and B when travelling abroad
• Never sharing personal items like toothbrushes, razors, nail scissors or tweezers
• Practising safe sex
• Using only licensed tattoo and piercing parlours and making sure all equipment used has been sterilised
• Always using clean needles, syringes and other equipment if using drugs

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