As one of the largest and busiest organs in the body, the liver doesn’t get near the amount of attention it deserves. For many people, the importance of a healthy liver tends to go unnoticed until serious health problems start to take shape. Interestingly enough, more than a few common health problems can be key risk factors for liver problems. Keep reading to see all the different tasks the liver performs, ways your liver health can fail, what foods are good for the liver, and steps you can take to maintain a healthy liver.
Major Functions of a Healthy LiverThe liver is no slouch when it comes to keeping your body running smoothly. Classified as both an organ and a gland, the liver carries out over 500 essential tasks on a non-stop basis. Just a few of the liver’s major roles include:
- Secretes bile to metabolize fats
- Secretes bile to metabolize proteins
- Stores carbohydrates and converts them to glucose
- Helps maintain stable blood-glucose levels
- Detoxifies the blood
- Synthesizes protein materials
- Stores essential vitamins and minerals
- Assists with blood clotting processes
- Secretes hormones
Just from this short list of tasks, it’s easy to see the importance of a healthy liver on the body’s overall health. When your liver health starts to suffer, so does your digestive system, your circulatory system, immune system functions, and blood sugar levels, as well as with many other vital functions. Ultimately, a healthy liver makes for a healthy body.
Fatty Liver Disease – A Common Liver Condition
While alcoholism may be well known for its damaging effects on the liver, people who don’t drink or who hardly drink at all can also develop serious liver problems. A condition known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD can cause serious, progressive liver damage when left to its own devices. As one of the most common forms of liver disease, NAFLD affects an estimated 100 million Americans. Nonalcoholic liver disease takes shape when the cells that make up the liver store too much fat. In effect, this inflammation of the liver disrupts its ability to function normally. NAFLD takes hold once fatty materials exceed five to 10 percent of the liver’s weight. The scary thing about NAFLD is there are no symptoms to watch for, so most people don’t know they have it until it’s already developed.
Causes & Risk Factors Associated with Liver ProblemsThe importance of a healthy liver can be seen in the range of conditions that develop when liver problems arise. Causes of liver problems can be inherited but a good majority of cases result from other chronic conditions like obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and insulin resistance. Considering the types of conditions that place a person at risk of liver problems, it’s no surprise that these risks run higher for people in their 40s and 50s. When left untreated, severe scarring in the liver (cirrhosis) and eventual liver failure can result. Other risk factors to keep in mind include:
- High cholesterol levels
- Underactive pituitary gland
- Underactive thyroid
- Eating a low fiber, high fat diet
- Drinking a lot of sugar-sweetened beverages
Steps You Can Take to Promote Healthy Liver Function
The foods you eat every day have a tremendous impact on the body’s health, including the health of your liver. Many of the risk factors associated with fatty liver disease can be prevented by eating a plant-based diet. In some instances, liver damage can be reversed by eating right, if it’s caught early on. Plant-based diets contain high levels of fiber and low amounts of fat, and they are nutrient-packed, providing almost every essential vitamin and mineral the body needs to function at its best. Plants also contain high levels of antioxidants and phytonutrients, and both help to protect the body against sickness and chronic disease. This range of benefits naturally promotes healthy liver function.
Liver Support SupplementNot unlike food, anything that supports the systems that promotes healthy liver functioning can help protect this vital organ. Professional Strength Curcumin, one of our many Hallelujah Diet products, contains curcumin, a biologically active plant extract. Professional Strength Curcumin promotes healthy liver functions in the following ways:
- Protects liver cells from developing damage
- Targets and blocks genetic pathways of inflammation in the body
- Contains a host of nutrients that attack free radical materials