Healthy Tips to Help Take Care of Your Liver
Following healthy tips to take of your liver and your health can help reduce your risk for liver damage and associated health complications. Take care of your liver so your liver can take care of you.
Here are some tips to consider, based on my own experiences with hepatitis C. As always, your doctor is the best source of information for managing your health and hepatitis C.
- Get tested for hepatitis C. If diagnosed with hepatitis C, seek care with a liver specialist like a hepatologist, gastroenterologist, or infectious disease specialist. Seek treatment for hepatitis C.
- Your doctor may recommend not drinking alcohol of any type, not using recreational drugs, and not smoking.
- Do not exceed the recommended daily amount of acetaminophen or other over-the-counter medications. Talk to your doctor about all over-the-counter medications, prescriptions, vitamins, and supplements before taking them.
- Do not take any herbal supplements or products that claim to cleanse the liver or treat hepatitis. These products are not regulated and have not undergone medical clinical studies with evidence validating their claims. Some herbal supplements have been proved to harm the liver and interfere with medications.
- Be proactive and get vaccinated for hepatitis A and hepatitis B. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. If you have hepatitis C, talk to your doctor about getting an annual flu shot, and if you are of age to receive a shot to protect you from pneumonia.
- Talk to your doctor about your liver condition and other medical conditions you may have. Other medical conditions such as cirrhosis (severe scarring), fatty liver disease, diabetes, heart or kidney disease, or high blood pressure may put you at risk for liver-related complications and affect your treatment for hepatitis C.
- If you are overweight, lose weight by eating a liver healthy diet and exercise. Reducing your weight by even 10% can have significant health and liver benefits. Consult with a registered dietitian and your liver specialist who can tailor a diet best suited for your liver and medical condition.
- Eat a liver healthy diet. I try to stick to fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, whole grains and high fiber foods, nuts/seeds, poultry, fish, low-fat dairy, and healthy fats. You may also want to reduce or eliminate high sugary foods, high sodium, and the amount of red meat you consume each month. Remember fresh is best and liver-friendly. Eat organic if possible, to avoid pesticides and toxins. I also try to avoid all processed food (a good rule of thumb, avoid eating anything that comes from a box, bag, or can) and avoid all fast foods (majority is processed and high in sodium and unhealthy fats).
- Exercise 5 days a week, if possible. Mild exercises like walking, bike riding, swimming, or yoga provide tremendous health benefits that help you lose weight, keep fit, and boost your immune health.
- Drink at least 64 ounces of pure water daily or water infused with fresh lemon or citrus. Water helps keep you hydrated and flushes your body and liver of toxins.
Have you been diagnosed with cirrhosis?