The Liver is an important organ in the human body about the size of a football. It is located under the rib cage, on the right side of the abdomen. It can be identified by its reddish-brown color, shaped like a cone, with the small end above the spleen and stomach and the large end above the small intestine.
The liver can weigh between 3 to 3.5 pounds. The main role of the liver in the body is to filter the blood coming from the digestive tract, before passing it to the rest of the body. The liver also detoxifies chemicals and metabolizes drugs making them easy to absorption.
For you to know and understand how to take care of your liver, it is important too, first of all, to understand what role the liver plays in the body.
What are the functions of the liver?
All of the blood circulating through the stomach and intestines passes through the liver. The liver then serves as a filter, controlling chemical levels in the blood, by secreting a clear yellow fluid known as bile, which helps break down fats, balance the chemical levels and create appropriate nutrients for the body to use. Some of the functions of the liver are:
- Bile production: bile helps evacuate waste and break down all the fats in the small intestine during digestion.
- The liver produces adequate proteins for blood plasma.
- The liver produces cholesterol and special proteins that help carry fats through the body.
- When glucose is in excess, the liver converts it into glycogen and stores it. This glycogen can later be transformed back to glucose and used as energy glucose when it is needed by the body.
- It is the role of the liver to process hemoglobin to use its iron content.
- The liver regulates the blood level of amino acids and changes harmful ammonia to urea which is the end product of protein metabolism that is secreted in the urine and passed out as waste.
- The liver purifies the blood and clears it of harmful substances from medicines, food, drinks, etc.
- The liver fights blood-related infections by producing strong immune factors and removing harmful bacteria from the bloodstream.
- When the red blood cells contain excess bilirubin it can cause the skin and eyes to turn yellow so the liver clears this excess bilirubin from the red blood cells.
- The liver regulates blood clotting.
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After looking at the above-mentioned points on the role of the liver in the body, it is however important to know the various ways through which you can take care of your liver in order for it to continue functioning properly. You might not have taken time to think about this, but your liver has a very vital role to play in your digestive system. Whatever you eat or drink goes through your liver for some “scanning” so you need to take proper care of your liver so that it can be healthy and strong enough for its job in your system.
How to take care of the Liver.
1. Avoid Alcohol:
Drinking alcohol increases toxin levels in the blood and damages liver cells which can lead to swelling or scarring of the liver. You may as well talk with your doctor to know what amount of alcohol is right for you, though it’s much better to abstain.
2. Avoid smoking and inhaling toxins:
Toxins like cigarettes, insecticides, additives, detergents, aerosol products are very unsafe for life. They can cause damages like scaring the liver, darkening and swelling up the liver. It is advisable to avoid smoking and to wear a mask when using insecticides, aerosol products, and keep the room ventilated.
3. Avoid Illicit drugs:
When we talk of illicit drugs, we make references to drugs like marijuana (hashish), cocaine (crack), heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, and even some prescribed psychotherapeutic drugs that are supposed to be pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives. The use of any of the listed drugs is very dangerous to the health and proper functioning of the liver.
4. Eat healthy foods and practice physical exercise:
It is important o eat healthy so as to keep your weight under control and practicing and exercise will also help facilitate metabolism and evacuation of waste from the system.
5. Drink enough water:
This might not sound true but drinking enough water daily will greatly contribute to the health of your liver. With more water in your system, blood circulation is made easy and more toxins are carried out through sweet ant urine.
6. Get tested for viral hepatitis:
Viral hepatitis is a serious disease that can damage your liver. It manifests itself in several forms. Hepatitis A can be gotten from eating or drinking unhealthy food or water respectively, hepatitis B and C can be spread through blood and other body fluids. It is possible to get vaccinated for hepatitis A and B but there is no vaccine for hepatitis C as of now.
7. Practice routine blood tests:
It is advisable for you to practice visiting the hospital for a routine checkup which should include urinalysis and a blood test that will help determine bacterial levels in your system. When this is done, in case of any infections or suspected abnormalities, your doctor will know what medications to prescribe and advice to give you.
Conclusively, the best way to live healthily is to make sure that the liver is in check and in a proper functional state. You must make a conscious effort to avoid all that is harmful to your liver and to adopt all the good habits that will promote your health and the proper functioning of your liver.