Prevent Liver Disease With 3 Easy Steps
Did you know that 5 million Americans have hepatitis? And a whopping 20 percent of Americans have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Liver disease is the sort of thing that many men don’t think about until they have it. But taking simple steps can help to prevent liver disease in the first place.
In today’s article I share with you ways in which you can protect your liver health. By doing these things you can ensure that your liver is at optimal performance. That will greatly reduce your risk of developing liver disease.
A Liver Primer
Your liver is one of the hardest working organs in your body. It produces important hormones. It plays an important role in digestion. It is a major detoxification organ. Plus it is a storage site of crucial nutrients in your body. With all of these essential functions, the organ is incredibly important.
Because the liver is so important and also because it comes into contact with so many toxins, it is always rebuilding itself. It has one of the fastest turnover rates of cells of the entire body. Amazingly, if you take care of it, your liver can complete regenerate itself.
What Not To Do
First off, there are some things that you should not do. Since the liver is one of the major organs of detoxification, when you consume toxins, you hurt your liver.
One of the most notorious liver toxins is alcohol. The dose determines how toxic it is, however, Many men are able to consume small amounts of alcohol - one drink per day - without a problem. However, anything more than that will be toxic to the liver. And some men cannot even safely handle that much. So minimizing alcohol consumption is important for protecting the liver.
Many drugs are also harmful for the liver. That includes both prescription and over the counter drugs. Acetaminophen is one of the worst offenders. Even small overdoses of acetaminophen have caused liver failure in men.
If you use any drugs, find out what the risks are. If the drugs are associated with liver damage, find alternatives if at all possible. And if not possible, then take extra care to protect your liver otherwise.
The Role Of Protein
Because the liver is rebuilding itself all the time, it has a huge demand for protein. And so a shortfall in dietary protein can harm the liver in the long run. Those on low protein diets will have a hard time keeping their livers healthy.
So rule number one for keeping your liver healthy is to make sure that you eat enough high quality protein regularly. You need 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of weight per day in order to prevent a deficiency according to the World Health Organization. So, for example, if you weigh 150 pounds, that means you need 60 grams of quality protein every day. Less than that, and you won’t be supporting your liver.
But you don’t want to just meet the minimum requirements. You want to provide enough quality protein for optimal liver health. For that you can multiply your weight in kilograms by 1.3. So for a 150 pound man, that’s a little over 90 grams of protein per day.
Just because enough protein is needed, that doesn’t mean that more is always better, however. You can safely double the minimum protein requirements. But when you start to eat very large amounts of protein, you can disturb the balance in your body. That can create more things for the liver to detoxify. In other words, while enough protein is necessary, very high protein diets can actually tax the liver.
When it comes to protein, the type of protein also matters. In particular, an amino acid called glycine is essential for liver health. Shortfalls in dietary glycine can harm the liver. Unfortunately, many men are deficient in glycine. The best source of glycine, by far, is gelatin. Other decent sources are pork rinds and scallops. Most cuts of meat are low in glycine, but traditional cuts such as oxtail or chicken soup made with the whole chicken (including skin and feet) are good sources.
Another amino acid that is important for liver health is taurine. Taurine, like glycine, is not found in many modern foods. However, there are a few foods that do contain substantial amounts. In particular, cheese is a good sources. That includes both hard cheese as well as cottage cheese. Eggs are also decent sources.
The Choline Connection
The nutrient choline is one of the most important nutrients for liver health. Deficiencies have been shown to cause nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. The good news is that correcting the deficiencies can reverse the condition. Choline is the ultimate superfood for your liver.
The very best sources of choline are egg yolks and liver. Egg yolks are good for you for many reasons. But for the choline alone, it is good to eat them every day.
Another nutrient called betaine can be converted into choline in the body. So eating foods containing betaine is good for your liver as well. Foods rich in betaine include beets, spinach, chard, and quinoa.
A Plan For Success
With some simple steps you can protect your liver for life. You don’t need to do any expensive or dangerous “cleanses”. All you need to do is follow the guidelines outlined in this article.
First, minimize your exposure to liver toxins such as alcohol and select drugs. Second, eat the right amounts of the right kinds of proteins regularly. And lastly, eat enough choline (and betaine) on a daily basis. Do these things, and your liver will thank you.