Do you know that there is a factory, crucial for your survival, producing the essential goods necessary for your wellbeing, weighs just around 1.4 kg, and is constantly operational 24 x 7? We are not talking about something outside your body, but this amazing factory is inside your body, well protected under your rib cage. It is your liver, the heaviest organ in your body. This factory acts as a manufacturing hub, cleaning facility, and storage facility with countless essential subfunctions. Its role is so important that even a slight effect on its health can seriously impact your life. In order to understand the importance of the liver, one must understand its functions which are well explained in this blog.
The Major Functions Of Liver Are:
- Filtering Blood
The liver filters the blood coming from two major parts of the body- the heart and the intestines. The blood from the intestines is filled with consumed elements like nutrients, vitamins, complex elements like carbohydrates. The liver makes sure that everything necessary stays and anything unnecessary is either converted into something useful or discarded.
- Breaking Down Complex Elements
The liver also breaks down complex elements coming from the intestine into something far more simple that can be easily processed by other cells of the body. For example, it breaks down carbohydrates into simple sugar and releases it into the bloodstream which can be used by body cells for energy.
- Storing Nutrients
The liver is the storage facility of our body. It stores excess glucose as glycogen for later use. It also stores lipid-soluble vitamins like Vitamin D, K, E, A, B12 which are very important for various functions of the body. It stores minerals like Iron in it for future use. Hence we can easily call it the storage facility of our body.
- Filtering Toxins
The Liver filters the toxins coming from the intestine and makes sure nothing harmful is being mixed into the blood. It either breaks these toxins down into something useful or completely eliminates them through the kidneys and the intestines.
- Bile Production
One of the most important functions of the liver is bile production. Bile is the greenish-yellow fluid that is collected in the gallbladder and helps in carrying waste after filtration out of the liver and also helps in further breaking down fats present in the intestine. It also neutralizes the gut acid and kills unnecessary bacteria.
- Manufacturing Essential Elements
The Liver is responsible for the production of various extremely essential elements like blood plasma proteins useful for clotting of blood. It also produces cholesterol needed for hormone production. It also manufactures Vitamin D.
Why Is Taking Care Of Your Liver Necessary?
As it is evident from the above-mentioned functions, the liver is your lifeline. So it is your responsibility to build some habits focused on the well-being of your liver.
Tips For Enhancing The Health Of Your Liver
Here are some of the best science-backed tips for taking care of your liver-
- Eat food that is good for your liver
Beverages like coffee and tea increase antioxidant levels and reduce liver damage. Grapefruit and blueberries help in increasing the protective mechanism of the liver by reducing inflammation. Prickly pear decreases the effects of alcohol consumption. Beetroot juice also reduces inflammation caused by oxidative damage. Including nuts in your daily food intake improves liver enzyme levels.
- Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol can be processed by our liver in small quantities, but even then liver cells die. The liver regenerates these cells over time but if alcohol is consumed regularly and in very large quantities then the damage in liver cells permanently. So to ensure your liver health make sure you keep your alcohol consumption in check.
- Exercise regularly
Exercising regularly helps in ensuring a healthy liver. Exercise increases the energy needs of the body forcing the liver to give up stored glycogen. This helps in releasing the stress of the liver cells and reduces inflammation. Regular exercise has science-backed positive results in improving fatty liver conditions.
- Give up processed food
Processed food is rich in saturated fats and bad cholesterol. Both of these are the major causes of fatty liver disease. The liver has the tendency to store excess fats in the form of glycogen which eventually sabotages its own health. Instead, try eating a home-cooked fibre-rich diet which has a great impact on your liver health.
- Maintain a healthy BMI
Keep a check on your body weight. Information regarding your ideal weight is easily available online or you can also refer to a nutritionist. Obesity is never beneficial, especially if you are experiencing increasing fat in the abdominal region. This will eventually lead to fatty liver diseases and other liver-related complications.
- Give up smoking
Studies have shown that smoking increases the toxic effects of certain medicines like Paracetamol on the liver. It can also cause liver cancer if done for a prolonged period of time.
- Take certain medications very carefully
Certain medicines are very rich in heavy metals, especially traditional medicines. If taken without proper supervision they can adversely affect the liver. Also, studies have shown that taking antibiotics for a prolonged period of time also damages the liver.
- Get Vaccinated
Vaccination against common viral liver infections hepatitis A and B is available. Make sure you get vaccinated and protect your liver from these fatal infections. Also, avoid certain foods which can cause such diseases. Foods like raw seafood, shellfish, etc.