With proper care and feeding, your liver can last you a lifetime. Follow these 5 tips to make your liver work a little easier:
1. Take The Load Off
It’s time to start counting belt holes. If you’re overweight or obese, shedding kilos can reduce inflammation and improve insulin resistance, markers linked to a greater risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Your Goal: Make sure your body mass index never exceeds 23, the number that researchers in Taiwan say are ideal for avoiding NAFLD. That’s 72.5 kg for a 1.8m guy, but a muscular man can safely weigh more.
2. Modify Your Menu
Your liver breaks down fats and carbs and filters toxins out of your blood. In other words, it has the difficult task of dealing with all the crap you put into your body. You can make its job infinitely easier by eating a cleaner diet.
Your Goal: Fill up on nuts, seeds, green vegetables and fatty fish. In a South Korean study, men who ate the most nuts and seeds and foods rich in vitamin K, folate and omega-3 fatty acids had the lowest risk of NAFLD.
3. Use The Rule Of Three
Regular workouts can aid your liver by improving insulin sensitivity and burning up fat in your bloodstream before it makes its way to your liver. Plus, exercise can help you lose weight, which has its own benefits (see #1).
Your Goal: Hit the gym at least three times a week, studies from South Korea and the UK found that meeting or exceeding this frequency can be key to reducing signs of NAFLD, regardless of the type of training.
4. Cut Yourself Off
Your liver does a masterful job of metabolising alcohol-until you decide to knock back more booze back more than it can handle. The result: the by-products of alcohol metabolism can damage your liver’s cells, impairing its function.
Your Goal: Stick to no more than two drinks a day. Staying under this limit can halve your risk of non-alcoholic steatohepatits, a study in the Journal of Hepatology suggests. That’s 295ml of wine or 710ml of regular beer.
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5. Watch What You Pop
A little acetaminophen can erase aches, but too much can wipe out your liver. (Your body makes toxic by-products as it breaks down the drug.) In fact, acetaminophen overdoses are a top cause of acute liver failure in the US
Your Goal: Stay under 4 000mg a day. And remember, acetaminophen lurks in more than just OTC painkillers– it’s an ingredient in over 600 medications – so accidentally ingesting too much can be easy to do.