The key to great health is to be a lover and not a hater – a Liver Lover, that is! Find out more about how to look after your liver from Dr Cris Beer.
Our liver really is the health gateway to the rest of our body. If we can maintain our liver health by living out the ‘liver loving lifestyle’ suggestions below then good health will be our reward.
1. Liver Loving Lifestyles
A lifestyle that favours liver health is one based on moderation. As with anything, a total avoidance of any particular substance can lead to cravings and bingeing. A better approach is to include those things that you just can’t give up in small amounts. The exception, of course, being cigarette smoking and illicit drug use. Those substances are too harmful to the body to have in any amount. Smoking is extremely challenging to give up due to its addictive element. Do seek help and guidance from your local doctor, who can offer the best quitting strategy for you.
2. 80:20 Rule
When it comes to food think 80:20. Eighty per cent of your diet should be made up of fresh, unprocessed foods such as wholegrains, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, eggs and lean meats. The other twenty per cent of you diet can be all the other things you love to eat but in moderation. This includes sweets, cheeses and processed foods.
3. Listen to Your Hunger Cues
Many of us overeat and therefore place an extra load on our livers. This can easily lead to liver disease without us ever actually eating anything ‘bad’. The result is that we end up with poor health. Learn to listen to your hunger cues and try not to allow yourself to become ravenously hungry. This will help to prevent gorging, which can happen when you try to raise blood sugar levels that have dropped.
Similarly, avoid eating when you are not hungry. We can eat for a variety of reasons with hunger usually being the least obvious. Sometimes we eat because we are tired, bored, stressed, angry, lonely, feeling low or because we are procrastinating. Learn to recognise when you are eating as a result of your emotions rather than actual hunger and try to reduce the times that you eat when you are not hungry.
4. Hydrate Well
One of the easiest things you can do to love your liver is to drink plenty of water. Ideally aim for filtered water and drink?at least 2 litres per day, more if it is hot?or if you are doing heavy exercise and sweating a lot. To check you are drinking enough water look at the colour of your urine; it should be light straw-coloured or clear. The exception of course being if you are taking B vitamins or vitamin C, which can discolour your urine for a few hours afterwards. Keep in mind that liquid in the form of tea, coffee, alcohol, soft drinks, juice and ice blocks does not count. Herbal teas, which do not contain caffeine can be counted as a cup of water.
5. Sweat Regularly
Sweating not only helps the body release toxins through the pores but also boosts metabolism, blood flow, and energy levels. It helps to keep our happy hormone levels high and our body fat stores low including liver fat stores, reducing the risk of fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Aim to do thirty minutes of moderate intensity exercise most days per week. This can include, for example, fast-paced walking, swimming, weight training, cycling, yoga, and Pilates.
6. Be Consistent
Consistency with following a living loving lifestyle is imperative to maintain good health. Daily decisions driven by what is optimal for your liver health, and thus overall health, is key to maintaining youthfulness, vibrancy, and a comfortable body weight for your frame. This may involve some daily sacrifices and effort which over time becomes your norm. Like anything, practice makes perfect and so keeping consistent with your healthy lifestyle choices is so important.
Dr Cris Beer is the author of Healthy Liver (Rockpool Publishing $29.99), now available at all good book stores and online at rockpoolpublishing.com.au