Liver health is important. Being the second-largest organ in the body, the liver serves a significant purpose. Its function is associated with digestion, immunity, and metabolism.
Although alcohol abuse is the leading cause of liver damage, it isn’t the only factor that negatively impacts your liver. Things like excess body fat, high cholesterol, and a poor diet put you at risk for liver inflammation.
The good news is that the human body has an incredible capacity to heal itself. Depending on the condition of your liver, it is possible to improve liver health.
Keep reading to learn more about how you can boost the health of your liver.
What Is the Liver’s Function?
Before we get into the pillars of a healthy liver, let’s talk about the functions of this vital organ.
Here’s what you need to know:
- The liver filters the blood in your body and breaks down harmful substances, like drugs and alcohol.
- It produces bile — a fluid that helps digest fats and removes wastes.
- The liver performs over 500 functions — some of them include regulating blood sugar levels and creating essential nutrients.
Ways You Can Optimize Your Liver Health
The best way to keep your liver in the best shape is to take active steps towards a healthy lifestyle.
Here are four steps you can take to increase your liver’s health:
Drink More Coffee
Contrary to belief, having an affinity for coffee can be excellent for your liver health.
A 2020 study found that patients with a history of coffee consumption had lower liver enzyme levels compared to those who did not drink coffee.
The study also revealed that patients who drank coffee daily had significantly better liver histopathology than non-coffee drinkers.
To get the liver health-boosting benefits of coffee, we recommend getting at least three cups a day.
According to a review published in the World Journal of Hepatology, coffee-drinkers who consumed 3 or more cups a day had a 53 percent lower risk of liver disease progression.
Increase Your Fiber Intake
We already know the benefits of fiber on your gut, but it could even improve liver health. Eating a diet high in fiber protects your liver from inflammation.
One 2017 study found that a diet high in fruit fiber reduced android fat mass — an area of the body associated with hepatic steatosis. Additionally, participants of the study reported improvements in the fatty liver index.
The Institute of Medicine recommends a daily target of 25 grams of fiber for women and 38 grams for men.
But many people are falling short of this dietary goal. Only 5 percent of people in the United States get enough fiber.
Don’t know how to add more fiber to your diet? Here are a few ways you can increase your liver health with fiber:
Breakfast: Opt for a high-fiber cereal or oatmeal. Add toppings like berries, nuts, and chia seeds.
Snack: Choose raw vegetables with hummus or raw fruit with almond butter. You can also enjoy popcorn or whole-grain crackers.
Lunch: Have a salad loaded with veggies, or you can have a sandwich with multi-grain bread.
Dinner: Add beans or other legumes to recipes. You can also swap refined rice and pasta for whole-grain variations.
Take Milk Thistle Supplements
Milk thistle has long been considered a powerhouse for liver health. The silymarin extract produced by milk thistle is a powerful antioxidant that can be used as a holistic treatment for hepatic diseases.
According to a review published in Clinical Liver Disease, research suggests that silymarin can protect the liver from further damage. There’s also evidence that it can treat cirrhosis and chronic hepatitis.
To get the benefits of milk thistle, we recommend 420-600 mg per day. Also, ensure that the supplement contains 80 percent silymarin.
Research suggests that there should be improvements in liver health within eight to twelve weeks.
Being active does more than keep your waistline down, but it decreases stress on your liver.
Obesity can cause an accumulation of fat in the liver cells, resulting in inflammation and damage. Maintaining a healthy weight through exercise has a positive impact on liver health.
Numerous clinical trials support that physical activity, specifically resistance and aerobic training, significantly reduces the build-up of fat in the liver.
A 2016 study found that obese individuals who exercised for 30 to 60 minutes, five days a week, saw a 10 percent loss in liver fat. The honest truth is, even 10 minutes of exercise 3 times a week is better than nothing at all. With exercise, consistency trumps the perfect plan. So make it easy on yourself.
Here’s a list of exercises to get you started on a liver health boosting workout plan:
Examples of aerobic exercise:
- Jogging or running
- Brisk walking
Examples of resistance training:
- Free weights — dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells
- Weighted machines
- Medicine balls
Test Your Liver Health With Lab Me
In the early stages of liver inflammation, you won’t feel any symptoms. That’s why it’s crucial to test your liver health before it’s too late.
Our Baseline Health and Crucial Health test are two ways to check the health of your liver. The tests are safe, easy to use, and provide accurate results within 48 hours of the lab receiving your sample.