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World Liver Day
Every year on 19th April World Liver Day is celebrated to bring awareness to liver health. The liver is one of the most important organs of the body. It is also known as the chemical factory of the body. It has many functions and if it doesn’t function properly, it directly affects body health in many ways. It removes toxins from the body, and purifies the blood. What we eat has a direct connection with the liver. So some foods are not safe for the health of the liver. If such kinds of foods are regularly consumed, the liver may get damaged.
On the occasion of World Liver Day 2022 let’s discuss some information about the liver and the best and worst foods for liver health.
Common functions of the liver
• Liver is also known as the chemical factory of the body as many helpful chemical processes occur within it.
• It purifies, balances, and detoxifies nutrients and other chemicals absorbed in the blood from the intestine.
• Liver cells produce bile which is helpful in the digestion of fat in the intestine.
• It produces certain proteins like albumin and regulates amino acids which are basic units of protein.
• It converts unused glucose into glycogen and stores it in the body. Vice versa it converts glycogen into glucose when the body requires energy.
• It stores important vitamins like vitamin A, D, E, K, B12 and minerals like copper and iron.
• It plays important role in blood clotting. If its functions are tempered, the blood clotting process may also get affected.
• It removes harmful substances, toxins including infectious agents from the body.
Common symptoms when the liver is affected
Many liver diseases and other diseases also affect the functions of the liver. When the liver is affected, a person may experience some common symptoms such as…
• Loss of appetite: It is the most commonly experienced symptom whenever liver functions are affected.
• Nausea and vomiting
• Abdominal pain and swelling including digestion problems
• Yellow eyes and urine: This sign is known as jaundice and is common in hepatitis that is inflammation of the liver.
• Itching of skin
• Generalized weakness
Common liver diseases
• Hepatitis: It is a viral disease causing inflammation of the liver. Common types of hepatitis are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and Hepatitis E.
• Cirrhosis of the liver: Cirrhosis is an end-stage disease in which the liver is permanently damaged. Chronic alcoholism and Hepatitis B are one of the most common causes of the disease.
• Liver cancer
• Fatty liver disease
• Genetic liver diseases like Hemochromatosis (storage of excess iron in the liver) and Wilson’s disease (storage of excess copper in the liver)
5 Foods to avoid for better liver health
(1) Red Meat
Red meat is high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and protein. Consuming a very high protein diet without adequate carbohydrates can troublesome for liver health.
Cooking red meat at high temperatures leading to certain chemical reactions and produces some harmful compounds that the liver needs to clear. Thus, regular overloading work for the liver can affect it in a long term. So avoid processed meats such as salami, smoked ham, hot dogs, etc.
(2) Fast foods
Fast and junk foods like pizza, french fries, burger, etc. are usually fried and contains more amount of saturated fat and salt. It also uses heavy fat and other harmful chemicals to cook it. If you consume these kinds of fast foods regularly, you may have to face liver cirrhosis and other liver problems.
(3) Soft and packed drinks
Packed drinks, soda, and other soft drinks are high in calories and sugar. It may also contain preservatives to store packed drinks for a long time. This kind of high calories drink can increase fat in your body and cause obesity if regularly consumed. When storing capacity of fat cells is out, extra fats are stored in the liver. This may damage the liver and cause fatty liver. It may also lead to heart problems, cancer, etc.
(4) Readymade foods
Ready to eat food products usually high in sodium including high-fat amounts and preservatives also. Consuming extra sodium can retain extra fluid and can cause electrolyte imbalance in the body. This affects the functions of the liver adversely and damages the overall health of the liver.
You all know that consuming more amount of alcohol regularly definitely damages liver cells. Its efficiency is reduced and it cannot eliminate toxins out of the body properly due to regular use of alcohol.
Studies also show that consuming three or more packs per day regularly can increase the chance of liver cancer. So, completely avoid alcohol if possible. It is not a good choice not only for the liver but also for the overall health of the body.
5 foods to consume for better liver health
Beetroot is a good source of nutrients including nitrates and antioxidants called betalains. It helps to prevent the liver from oxidative damage, reduces inflammation, and improves natural detoxifying enzymes. It is also good for heart health.
(2) Walnut and Omega 3 fatty acid
Omega 3 fatty acid-rich foods such as walnut, fishes such as salmon, sardine, tuna, trout, etc. are good for liver health. It improves the functions of the liver, prevents inflammation, and good for a person with fatty liver.
(3) Berries and cranberry
Blueberry and cranberry are rich in antioxidants anthocyanin which is helpful in better liver health. According to a study published in NCBI, it prevents liver damage if it is consumed for 21 days. It is also beneficial in boosting antioxidant enzymes and immune cells.
(4) Tea and coffee
Green tea and black coffee if taken in moderate amounts can be helpful in liver health by improving enzymatic activity which reduces fat, aids digestion, and prevents oxidative stress.
(5) Green leafy vegetables
Spinach, sprouts, kale, broccoli, and many other green leafy vegetables are helpful for liver health by avoiding the collection of excess fat in the liver. It aids fat loss and provides nutrients to the body.
Is it bad or good for health if the patient’s liver is working only 40 percent?
If your liver health condition is well, it is well and good for your body. But if it is damaged, it still functions for you. I think, you may very well know Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan, whose liver is 75% damaged due to a Hepatitis B infection. He is still in healthy condition and can work at the age of 78 years. So, there’s nothing bad if your liver is in 40% working condition. But you must need to take care of the liver and whole body properly. Otherwise, it may be completely damaged.
What is the effect of increasing SGOT on liver function?
SGPT and SGOT are the tests done to evaluate the functions of liver and liver health. In many diseases, it is increased and indicates that the liver is affected by those diseases. Common diseases in which SGOT and SGPT may increase are malaria, dengue fever, and many viral infections, and the most common is Hepatitis, alcoholic liver disease, cirrhosis of the liver, etc.
Why liver function test is done in an unconscious patient?
The causes for unconsciousness in a patient may be many. Hepatic coma is one of those conditions which leads to unconsciousness. In such cases, liver function tests are must be done to evaluate the patient’s condition.
When World Liver Day is celebrated?
On 19th April every year.