In the UK, we love socialising and it is very common to meet up with friends over some food, and a glass of wine or two. However, it is important to keep an eye on our alcohol intake levels and make sure to give our livers a well-deserved break once in a while. The recommended intake of alcohol over one week is 14 units. This equates to six pints of beer, six (175ml) glasses of 13% wine or 14 (25ml) glasses of 40% spirits. Government guidelines also recommend spreading this amount over three or more days which are not consecutive.
Drinking alcohol in excess causes oxidative stress. Our livers need to work hard to break down alcohol and this can damage the cells in your liver. The toxins in alcohol damage our intestines and liver. This damage from alcohol can lead to acute or chronic liver disease or hepatitis. However, it is not all doom and gloom – the good news is that even if you have been drinking in excess and are concerned about the state of your liver, all is not lost, and you can reverse a huge amount of damage to your liver caused by alcohol. If you are seriously concerned about the state of your liver and health caused by drinking, it is important to visit your local GP for advice and guidance on how to repair damage and they can also give you advice and support to cut down on your drinking habits.
Fatty foods and an unhealthy diet can also contribute to liver disease. Non-alcohol related fatty liver disease is a term for a wide range of conditions caused by a build-up of fat in the liver cells. The inflammation cause by a fatty liver can lead to NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis) which is increasingly becoming a serious issue in the UK. You are more likely to develop a fatty liver if you are overweight or obese and you have high blood cholesterol, diabetes or been diagnosed with insulin resistance.
This is something to be aware of, however, if you are concerned, all is not lost – your liver is a surprisingly resilient organ! You can still improve the state of your health and your liver at any point and by making a few changes, you could seriously improve the state of your liver and your overall health.
So here are a few ideas on how you could improve the health of your liver and keep it in tip top conditions for years to come! You do not have to do them all however by trying a few you may unknowingly stop future damage or allow your liver some much needed healing time!
Whether it’s taking the stairs, getting off the bus a stop early, joining a new gym class or signing up for a marathon! No change is too small just try and do something to get you up and moving more. Aerobic exercise aids blood flow and will help eliminate toxins collected in the body. The recommended guidelines are to partake in exercise for 30 minutes, five times a week.
Have a break from alcohol
If you can’t remember the last weekend that you didn’t have a drink, then it may be time to give your liver some much needed time to regenerate. Try cutting out alcohol for a month. By cutting out alcohol you are helping to reduce further inflammation.
If cutting out alcohol entirely is difficult, particularly in the summer if you have a full social calendar, then try to stick to the recommended guidelines outlined above.
Improve the quality of your food and eat regularly with a balanced diet
It is the age-old message we present time and time again however the key to being healthy is getting the basics right in your diet. If the quality of the ingredients you are eating are poor, then there will be less nutrients available to feed your body and make you feel great. Eating regularly keeps your blood sugar levels stable throughout the day, enabling you to get on with your day without having peaks and dips of energy, resulting in tiredness and cravings. You need a healthy balance of carbohydrates, fats and protein to nourish and nurture your body and mind. Good fats are really important as your brain is nearly 60% fat. At The Pure Package, we believe in providing our clients with good quality, healthy balanced diets, why not try one of our packages.
Swap your hot drinks for Dandelion Coffee/Tea
Dandelion is renowned for its healing properties towards your liver. It improves liver congestion and toxicity levels. Replace your usual tea/coffee with dandelion coffee to help reduce your caffeine intake (another stressor for your liver) and improve liver function.
Drink lots of water
Water is needed to flush out toxins from the liver and it is important to hydrate from the inside out. Adding lemon to water can be beneficial – the white pith of the lemon contains limonen which is good for your gall bladder and increases liver enzyme levels helping reduce toxicity levels.
Eat anti-inflammatory foods
Lots of fruit and vegetables are needed to nourish your body with a variety of essential vitamins and minerals. Vegetables and fruit that are particularly good for your liver include garlic and onions, broccoli, turmeric, grapefruit, artichoke, berries, cranberries, pineapple, oranges and papaya.
Cut out refined carbohydrates and sugar
Refined (white) carbohydrates and sugar have little or no nutritional value and can cause inflammation in the body. Even a small amount of sugar can have a negative effect on your immune system. Swap white breads and pastas for the wholegrain alternative to add nutritional value to your food. A toxic liver can contribute to cravings of these types of food so by making a change such as this one, you will find over time that any cravings will subside.
Eat protein with each meal
Protein is essential for growth and repair of your muscles. Particularly when trying to lose weight, it is important to eat protein with every meal. This will help you feel satisfied with every meal and ensure that when in a kilocalorie deficit, fat is being burned for energy and not muscle. By consuming protein, you will also find it much easier to curb your cravings for white breads and sugary snacks.
Don’t eat when you feel stressed
When we are feeling stressed, our sympathetic nervous system is switched on. This means that our blood is directed to our skin, lungs and heart ready to fight or flight. This moves blood away from the abdomen and digestive system thus making digestion less effective.
When we are calm, our parasympathetic nervous system is switched on and our bodies are focused on producing digestive enzymes. If you are feeling stressed, trying to take a few moments and deep breaths and take in what you are about to eat. Be mindful of your food- this will also help you enjoy your meal more and make you feel more satisfied.