An all-rounder, the liver is one of the hardest working organs in our body. Located in the upper-right part of the abdomen, it is a silent multitasker that breaks down food for nutrients and inspects our blood for irregularities. Additionally, it churns out waste from our blood and produces necessary biochemicals, easing our bodily functions.
A major function of the liver is bile production. Although a conglomerate of waste products, it breaks down fats for further digestion in the small intestine.
A healthy liver is a strict monitor of our blood. It produces specific proteins for blood plasma and regulates blood levels of amino acids, thus assisting protein development. It actively sustains our defense systems by avoiding blood clotting and removes unwanted bacteria from our system. Teaming up with the pancreas, it keeps the sugar levels in check.
Additionally, the liver metabolizes alcohol by converting the components into less harmful by-products. It processes hemoglobin to extract the iron and converts excess glucose into glycogen. Furthermore, the liver also clears the blood of narcotics and other harmful chemicals by converting toxic ammonia to urea.
Importance of Liver Health
The liver is a metabolically hyperactive organ, with 1500 ml blood flowing through it every minute. A large blood supply in comparison to its weight (approximately 2.5 percent of body weight), an undisturbed blood circulation in the liver is crucial for a healthy living.
You might be unknowingly damaging your liver
Our lifestyle is a key contributor to our liver’s health. An unhealthy liver equals lowered immunity and an increased risk of contracting viruses. It can also trigger hereditary health problems and overtime, develop reactions to generic drugs. Interestingly, the liver can regenerate and repair itself. It is, however, a steady process and long-term malpractices may impact its speed. Hence, knowing the potential threats in advance is crucial.
Alcohol consumption is a major threat to liver health. Since the amount and time duration of the consumption matter, a physician can inform you the amount fit for consumption based on your medical history. Long-term unregulated alcohol intake can cause liver inflammation, also known as Alcoholic Hepatitis. Obesity can further aggravate the effects of liver-damage. Unconscionable junk food consumption can also cause alcoholic/non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. In fact, "Fatty liver" is considered the earliest stage of alcoholic liver disease. If stopped in time, the liver can heal itself. But if ignored, one may develop Cirrhosis, causing permanent damage to the liver cells.
Binge Out, Health In- A balanced lifestyle
Unhealthy lifestyle practices like binge drinking and overeating is counter-productive for a healthy liver. One should limit sugary drinks and processed foods, as the latter is rich in salts and saturated fats, incessantly challenges liver functioning. Instead, a fruit and vegetable diet, rich with high-fiber content, must be adopted. Regular exercises, consumption of nutritious foods and sufficient hydration, adds to our overall wellness.