Health Matters: The Liver

When people get a headache or a sore stomach they know straight away where the problem lies, however when it comes to the liver it’s not quite as easy. Unlike a sore stomach, the liver never lets us know directly when it needs some special attention. From weight gain and skin irritation to poor memory and weak eyesight, these are just a few of the many symptoms that can be related to poor liver function.

Whilst the liver is the second largest organ in the body, it is often forgotten about and underappreciated. When a liver stops working, the affected person will live no longer than a day. With the responsibility of purifying your blood and recycling antioxidants, there are several things you can do to help maintain a healthy and happy liver.

Reducing Alcohol Consumption

Every single thing that you consume will have a direct impact on your liver – breaking down alcohol is just one of the liver’s almost 500 functions. This means it can only handle so much alcohol at once and if you happen to drink just that little bit too much, the excess alcohol will end up circulating in your bloodstream. If this happens, you’ll not only end up completely intoxicated but your brain, heart and other tissues will also be affected.

The government advises that people shouldn’t regularly drink more than the daily unit guidelines of 3-4 units of alcohol for men and 2-3 units of alcohol for women. A healthy meal before you begin drinking is extremely beneficial as it helps to slow down the absorption of alcohol.

Drink Water

The drinking of liquids like water and herbal tea improves the flow of nutrients to, and the flow of waste products from, the liver. By drinking lots of water every day you keep yourself hydrated and energetic. The liver is able to filter out more toxins and cell regeneration is speeded up.

Avoid takeaways

Processed foods that contain high amounts of fats and cholesterol can cause the liver to become all clogged up with fat residue. By avoiding these foods, the liver can clean out and regenerate itself. The liver can rebuild itself even when as little as 20 per cent of it is working properly.

Foods like berries, apples and lemons help the liver regenerate quickly as they contain d-glucaric acid as well as other phytochemicals which help in cleaning up fatty deposits. There are also several herbal supplements that can be taken to help rid the body of toxins. Herbs like milk thistle and dandelion root are all said to protect the liver cells and promote healthy liver function.


When a person gets stressed the body releases hormones and endorphins in the bloodstream which results in the depositing of toxins in the liver. By eliminating as much stress as possible the releasing of these hormones is reduced which results in a much happier and healthier liver.

It’s important to remember that a healthy and strong liver is one of the best defences against harmful toxins that invade your body daily. A healthy and active lifestyle that helps keep these toxins away will keep your liver in top order and give you a better quality of life all round.

Caoimhe Ni Loinsigh

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