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Enhancing Liver Health: What Helps and What Hurts?

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Enhance Liver Health: What Helps and What Hurts? abhijith3747/Fotolia

Your liver, when it's working well, eliminates toxins. It breaks down fat from the food you eat, using a liquid called bile. Sugar in the form of glucose is stored in the liver to increase your energy at a moment's notice.

Alcohol should be kept to a minimum to avoid cirrhosis or scarring. WebMD recommends that women drink no more than one alcoholic beverage in a day.

Acetaminophen and cholesterol medications can cause liver damage when taken in excess. Some medications when combined with alcohol can cause problems for your liver. Your doctor or pharmacist can inform you on these.

If you have liver disease, some dietary changes may help your liver.

Proteins may not be processed efficiently which means that waste products could remain in the body and may even affect the brain.

Other dietary changes might include taking some supplements recommended by your doctor such as some vitamins and medications to counteract low blood count, problems with nerves and with absorbing nourishment.

Salt might be decreased. Carbohydrate consumption might be increased. Fat may need to be eaten moderately. The proper ratio of protein, starches and fats may be beneficial to a liver that isn't functioning efficiently.

Medline Plus recommends taking in one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight. A person who weighs 150 pounds would eat about 70 grams of protein daily. Your doctor can help you sort this out.

A person with hepatitis for instance, may benefit their liver by paying more attention to what they eat.

"There's no special diet for hepatitis," Keri Gans, RD, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, was quoted as saying by Everydayhealth.com. "A person with hepatitis just needs to follow a healthy, well-balanced diet."

She recommended including lots of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats. Drink lots of fluids, choosing water over caffeinated drinks. Try to drink 1 ounce of liquid for every 2 pounds of body weight each day. For instance, if you weigh 180 pounds, drink 90 ounces of water a day.

An unhealthy diet can contribute to liver damage. Eating too much fat or sugar can cause weight gain. Fat can accumulate in your liver. "Fatty liver" can contribute to cirrhosis, or scarring, of the liver and can also inhibit drugs for hepatitis.

Avoid saturated fats, fatty meat, fried foods and sugary snacks, excess salt and alcohol.

Milk thistle may be beneficial to liver function in hepatitis and cirrhosis, according to Gans.

Always talk to your doctor about any supplement or herb you're thinking of taking.


How Not to Wreck Your Liver. WebMD.com. Retrieved Sept. 21, 2015.

Diet - liver disease. NLM.NIH.gov. Retrieved Sept. 21, 2015.

Tips to Avoid Liver Damage From Hepatitis

Visit Jody's website at http://www.ncubator.ca and http://ncubator.ca/blogger

Reviewed September 23, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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