January is Love Your Liver Month, which means it's time to focus on your liver health. One key component to maintaining a healthy liver is controlling what you eat. In addition to regular exercise, there are certain foods that protect this vital organ from damage and others that should be avoided.
Foods to avoid
Food that is high in fat can have negative effects on your liver when consumed regularly over an extended period of time, as excess fat builds up in the liver cells, often resulting in fatty liver disease. According to the British Liver Trust, fatty products, such as butter, full-cream milk and high-fat meat products like pies and sausages, should be avoided, especially if you have a history of liver problems. Cooking oils also contain a large amount of hidden fat, so it's important to use these as sparingly as possible.
"Consuming too much junk food can lead to serious liver conditions."
Avoiding too much junk food, such as pastries, cakes, crisps and biscuits, will ensure your liver doesn't have too much excess fat stored. The NHS says consuming high amounts of these snack foods on a regular basis can lead to serious liver conditions like non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Cutting down on alcoholic drinks - the NHS recommends 2-3 units per day for women and 3-4 for men - is highly advised, as too much alcohol can cause a lack of thiamine, which is a B vitamin that assists the body in turning carbohydrates into energy. New advice proposed by the Chief Medical Officers of the UK, published earlier this month, recommends reducing the level to a maximum of 14 units per week.
Nutrients for a cleaner liver
There are certain foods that work well at cleansing the liver so that it can function properly. The Global Healing Center suggests eating foods, such as grapefruit, leafy greens, carrots, beets and apples to detox your liver. These foods contain compounds and nutrients, such as pectin, vitamin C and antioxidants, which not only cleanse the liver, but can improve its overall function.
Add a few brassicas to your diet to help you meet your Five A Day. These include broccoli, kale, cauliflower and sprouts. They increase the levels of glucosinolate in your body, which helps with the liver's enzyme production. The sulphur they contain also aids the body in cleansing the liver.
Staying hydrated with plenty of water helps the liver flush out toxins. When you become dehydrated, the liver has to work harder to do its job. The NHS suggests drinking about eight cups of water per day to stay fully hydrated.
At Gracewell care homes, we offer residents an extensive menu for every meal consisting of nutritious foods to help make it easier for residents to maintain their overall health. To find a location near you, contact us today.