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Liver health 101: How to maintain a happy and healthy liver

Most people don't give their liver the credit it deserves. It is one of the most important organs in the body. However, many of us tend to abuse our livers with poor food choices and consumption of alcohol, among other things.

Even though much of the damage you do to your liver is reversible because of its resilient nature, prolonged abuse could lead to permanent damage that even a liver cleanse cannot fix.

Did you know that there are more than 100 forms of liver disease? Liver diseases are caused by different factors, from viruses to poor nutrition, toxins and genetics. Perhaps it’s time to give liver health a second thought.

What does the liver do?

“Your liver, like your heart, brain and skin, is a living organ. Located just under the diaphragm, the liver’s job is to act as something of a processor for much of our food, not to mention any alcohol, medications and supplements we consume,” says Jennifer Sygo, a registered dietitian and sports nutritionist at Cleveland Clinic Canada, in the National Post.

According to the Canadian Liver Foundation, “the liver performs over 500 different functions including fighting off infection, neutralizing toxins, manufacturing proteins and hormones, controlling blood sugar and helping to clot the blood,” making it the largest internal and most complex organ in the human body.

Here is a list of some other common functions of the liver:

  • Cleanses the blood
  • Regulates the balance of hormones
  • Regulates the levels of cholesterol
  • Regulates the supply of energy in the body
  • Regulates the supply of vitamins and minerals

Tips for maintaining a healthy liver

Thankfully, your liver is a very forgiving organ, and many forms of liver disease can be prevented by taking precautions and making healthy choices.

  1. Make healthy food choices
  2. Drink alcohol in moderation
  3. Do not mix medications with alcohol
  4. Never exceed the maximum recommended dosage of a medication, or as prescribed by your doctor
  5. Keep your home well ventilated while using cleaning products
  6. Get recommended vaccines before travelling abroad
  7. Know the health risks of the destination you will be visiting
  8. Practise safe sex to avoid contracting hepatitis
  9. Exercise regularly
  10. Be safe with tattooing, piercing, aesthetic treatments and permanent cosmetic procedures

Dealing with a liver disease can also put financial stress on your family. Consider private health insurance coverage with Blue Cross to help offset the medical costs that your provincial health plan does not cover. Get a free health insurance quote online now.