We have all known through ages that many organs constitute our body and dysfunctional or damaged condition of any organ is enough to be troublesome. Every organ is essential for a smooth and hindrance free lifestyle be it external organs like eyes, skin or internal organs like heart, lungs and liver.
Liver is one such organ in the human body which exists at the right side of one’s belly and weighs around 1200-1500 grams. It is the largest solid organ in the human body as we know it, and is the only organ that has a regenerative power. This means that even if a small part of the liver is in working condition, or is transplanted into a person whose liver has been damaged, it can grow back to the actual size in a few months.
Liver and its Many Hands
The liver performs a variety of functions, most importantly regulation of blood clotting, maintaining blood sugar levels and removal of toxins from the body. It produces bile which is essential for digestion of fats in the food that we consume. Here’s a list of all the things that it does inside the body:
- Production of bile: Bile is a fluid secreted by the liver which is important for fat absorption by the intestine. If bile production is hampered, the body's digestive system is unable to break down food properly.
- Filtration of blood: All of the body’s blood passes through the liver which detoxifies it and removes any impurities.
- Infection eradication: Liver also keeps the body bacteria-free as while filtering out the toxins it also removes bacterial spores.
- Regulation of amino acids: Amino acids determine the protein content of our body. Liver helps to smoothen the production and regulation of amino acids on the body.
- Production of Albumin: A fluid retaining protein produced in the liver that prevents fluid leakage into the tissues. It's essential to maintain stable albumin concentration in the blood.
- Regulation of blood clotting: Clotting of blood can only be achieved using Vitamin K, which is derived from bile.
- Vitamin storage: The liver performs an important function of storing important vitamins like A, D E, K, B12 etc. and minerals namely copper and iron.
- Processing of blood glucose: Liver also performs the task of processing glucose into glycogen for storage, which can then be reconverted into glucose when the body needs energy.
How to Strengthen it Up?
Hence, we see, the liver performs a vast range of functions that maintain and regulate the bodily functions. So, it becomes extremely important to upkeep liver health. In the basic of ways, here are the few things you can use for the same:
- Food: Easiest and the most effective way to regulate liver functions is by making few dietary and lifestyle changes.
- Supplements: Additional vitamin or mineral substitutes can be taken to strengthen the liver functions like Nirogam’s Liver Strengthening Kit. They are completely natural and have no side effects.
- Medications: If none of the above methods works and the liver damage is advanced, it becomes important to take prescribed medications for the same so as to not let the situation get worse.
Nature’s Own Solutions for the Liver
It is always better to rely on natural remedies for improving liver health and boosting metabolism. These simple tricks can go a long way in ensuring that your overall well being is not threatened, while the liver rejuvenates. There are various foods that help with liver strengthening and regulation, namely:
- Grapefruit: It is rich in antioxidants namely naringenin and naringin. It protects the liver in 2 ways, by lessening inflammation and shielding the cells. These antioxidants also help in the reduction of hepatic fibrosis, a condition of the liver in which too many connective tissues build up inside the liver. It also helps in reduction of excess fat in the liver.
- Water: A daily intake of about 8 glasses of water is beneficial for the entire body. It not just helps in flushing out toxins, but also keeps the digestive system healthy. It plays a vital role in managing liver health as well.
- Beetroot: This bright red beautiful veggie is not just high in iron. It provides a nice crunch to daily salad and is highly rich in antioxidants known as betalains which reduce inflammation. It also contributes to increasing enzymes that help in detoxification of the liver.
- Nuts: Rich in Vitamin E that promotes both heart and liver health. A regular consumption of nuts reduces the risk of NAFLD or Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. So, a win win for everyone.
- Olive oil: No less than magic elixir, olive oil has taken up the cooking shows and food industry by a storm as it has emerged as a healthier alternative to normal cooking oils. It increases metabolism, improves heart health and has positive effects on the liver as well. One teaspoon of olive oil intake per day leads to increase in liver enzymes, regulation of fat levels, better blood flow in the liver and insulin sensitivity. So many benefits poured into one bottle.
- Cruciferous vegetables: These are veggies hailing from the mustard family, and include brussels sprouts, mustard greens and broccoli. They are rich in fiber content and prevent cell damage. They also provide protection against tumors and NAFLD.
- Prickly pear: This is an interesting food, from the edible cactus family going by the scientific name Opuntia-Ficus-Indica. It is known to be helpful against wounds, fatigue, liver disease and ulcers. It helps to reduce cholesterol levels and limit oxidative damage on the liver.
- Fatty Fish: Rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, fatty fish have been proven to improve both heart and liver health. For patients suffering from Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis or Nonalcoholic Fatty liver disease, the results have been promising.
- Berries: Berries, like blueberries and cranberries have been known to be rich in antioxidants like anthocyanins. They are also rich in polyphenols which reduce the risk of obesity and high cholesterol levels. Consumption of berries on a regular basis is beneficial for improving liver health. More studies are required to prove its efficacy on humans but still adding a handful of berries in everyday meals is a good option.
- Coffee: One of the best beverages to improve liver health! Coffee is highly beneficial to prevent fat and collagen buildup in the body. It speeds up treatment of liver diseases, including cirrhosis and cancer. It is high in glutathione, which reduces cell damage. Heaven for coffee lovers, like me!!
- Green tea: A beverage enjoyed by many every day, green tea is high in antioxidants with a vast range of benefits especially to the liver. People with NAFLD have been observed to have lower fat deposits in the liver and oxidative stress if they consume about 6-8 cups of green tea per day. It also increases liver enzyme levels. Four cups a day would be a good number to begin with.
- Oatmeal: One of the best breakfast options to start your day with, oatmeal is high in fiber content which is effective to keep weight gain in check and thereby maintain liver health.
- Our body is our greatest asset. It is therefore our responsibility to keep our body healthy and ailments free. Liver, as we know, is an important part of our body, any damage to which can bring on too many adversities. So, it becomes extremely important to keep the liver healthy.