Habits can Help or Harm Your Liver
Last updated: February 2021
Habits are choices we make every day that profoundly affect the quality of our lives. For those with hepatitis C and liver disease, our habits can either help or harm our liver. A habit is an action that is repeated on a consistent basis. We need to be mindful of our daily choices and habits of what we allow into our bodies that are healthy or harmful to our liver.
How the liver functions
Everything we are exposed to and consume affects our liver. The liver processes everything down to a cellular level. Chemicals, substances, food, medications, and even stress can all affect the health of our liver.
The liver is the body’s powerhouse. Everything must pass through and be processed by the liver. It’s an amazing organ that can regenerate healthy liver tissue when damaged, up to a point. When damage (scarring) becomes severe like in the case of cirrhosis, the liver cannot regenerate new tissue, and liver function is compromised. Fortunately, we can change harmful habits and improve our liver health.
The following habits can hurt our liver health:
- Drinking alcohol of any type
- Exposure to harmful chemicals and toxins
- Processed foods and diets high in sugar and/or fatty foods
- Consistent high levels of stress
- Some over-the-counter meds, herbs, and supplements
The following habits can help promote liver health:
- Drinking at least 64 ounces of pure water daily or water infused with lemon or citrus. This helps keep your body hydrated, while flushing toxins from the body.
- Quit smoking: Even consistent exposure to secondhand smoke can be harmful to your liver. Eliminate exposure to toxins and chemicals. Use latex gloves when handling cleaning products and chemicals of any type.
- Eating a healthy diet of fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Eating quality protein, mostly of vegetable-based protein, poultry, or fish. Eating red meat only occasionally.
- Exercising: Moderate exercise, like walking, cycling, stretching, and weight resistance, helps reduce weight and strengthens the body while increasing endorphins and other helpful chemicals in the brain. Exercise also helps reduce harmful chemicals related to stress.
- Talk to your doctor before taking any over the counter medication, herbs or supplements. Don’t rely on claims from herbs and supplements. Many herbs and supplements are not regulated and have not gone through clinical medical trials to prove their claim. Be cautious, Be safe. Talk to your doctor first.
Daily habits can either help or harm your liver. Choose wisely. Talk to your doctor about your habits and what you need to change to help your liver condition. You’re worth it!