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How to support your liver health.
You’ll find your liver to the upper right of your abdomen, below your right breast or pectoral. It weighs about 3kg, or about the size of a small baby.
A healthy lifestyle supports the liver, so the usual advice about diet, exercise and responsible drinking applies here too.
Manage your weight and fitness
Being overweight or obese puts extra stress on your liver. You can lighten its load, and yours, by maintaining a healthy weight. Get into the habit of exercising regularly. Even incidental exercise, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work or the shops, can be beneficial.
Eat the best foods for your liver
The best foods for your liver are also the best foods for general health and wellbeing. Limit high-fat, high-sugar foods and swap white foods, such as bread, pasta and rice, for their brown versions. Enjoy some lean meat and dairy and focus on increasing your fibre from fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Choline is an important nutrient that can assist with healthy liver function. Choline is found in cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts, while it’s also found in potatoes, whole grains, meat, poultry, dairy, eggs and fish.
Be careful with alcohol
Remember that your liver can only handle a certain amount of alcohol at any given time. If you overload it by drinking too fast or too much, your liver may become overwhelmed. Regular, heavy drinking over time is also known to hurt your liver.
When you decide to have some alcohol, there are ways you can help to reduce your intake. Alternating an alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic one (your liver needs water too), diluting your drinks, and by avoiding situations where there’s pressure to drink more than you intend, such as buying in rounds with a group of people, are ways to avoid overconsumption. It could be as simple as meeting your mates in the park rather than the pub!
A healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and more care with your consumption of alcohol will help to maintain your liver health. It may have been a forgotten friend in the past, but hopefully you’ll be its best buddy from now on.
Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. Supplements should not replace a balanced diet.