Liver is one of the important organs in a human body that cleans, detoxifies the body and synthesises essential proteins and plays an important part in the metabolism of majority of nutrients, hormones and proteins. Without liver, it is impossible to have a healthy blood circulation, good metabolism, balanced hormones and strong digestion. Liver helps in the removal of toxic ingredients in blood and converts them into innocuous material that can be excreted through bile or urine by the kidneys. For a good, healthy circulation and proper functions of brain, kidneys and other vital organs, we need to create a nourishing environment in the body that helps the liver do its job best.
Some of the factors that can lead to severe liver diseases include:
· High alcohol consumption
· Viruses like Hepatitis B and C and water borne Hepatitis E and A
· Uncontrolled diabetes, obesity, lack of physical exercise, all leading to fatty liver
· Some drugs like paracetamol and medications used for treatment of tuberculosis
· Inherited metabolic diseases in children
Most of the symptoms of liver diseases can be seen only when they have progressed significantly. However, some of the common symptoms include weakness, pale complexion, weight loss, nausea and vomiting. If not taken care of at the initial stages, these problems may progress to jaundice, abdominal distension with fluid, blood vomiting, cancer, coma and ultimately, death. Therefore, it is vital to be aware of the signs and symptoms along with the important measures to prevent liver disease and to do regular monitoring of liver functions.
Dr. Lorance Peter, Senior Consultant, Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist, Columbia Asia Hospital Sarjapur Road points out some of the ways to strengthen the liver:
Ø Liver cleansing: The liver is extremely vulnerable to several metabolic, microbial, toxic, circulatory and carcinogenic substances which can harm it if exposed for a long time. Therefore, it is important to include foods containing liver protective nutrients like antioxidants and essential nutrients regularly in diet. Garlic, green leafy vegetables, apples and cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower in diet helps to cleanse liver. People should prefer cooking food in olive oil, use turmeric while cooking and have regular consumption of seasonal fruits.
Ø Exercise regularly: Exercising regularly not only keeps the body weight in check but also ensures proper blood flow to different body organs including liver. Physical exercise makes best use of circulatory capacity of liver, leading to burning of fat, control of diabetes and insulin sensitisation. This helps in reducing fatty liver.
Ø A balanced diet: Eat a balanced diet to ensure proper nutrition to the body. Include foods from all the food groups like grains, proteins, fruits, vegetables, fats and dairy products. Make sure that you have foods rich in fibre such as whole grain breads, rice, cereals and fresh fruits. Adequate antioxidants and proteins in diet is very important for maintaining liver health.
Ø Avoid smoking, alcohol consumption and drug use: Regular consumption of alcohol, smoking or drugs can destroy liver cells. Therefore, abstain from these to protect liver cells from being damaged.
Ø Don’t self-medicate: Consult a doctor before starting any medication. The wrong medicine can often lead to liver damage.
The article is contributed by Dr. Lorance Peter, Senior Consultant Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist, Columbia Asia Hospital Sarjapur Road.
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