Foods to eat & not to eat for a Healthy Liver by Dr Harold Gunatillake
How can you keep your liver healthy?
Some dietary ingredients may harm your liver
That is what we are going to discuss today
This is an important topic to discuss, as we take our liver health for granted, and focus more on heart-health, as the days go
Liver is an immense factory, essential organ, that has many functions in the body, including making proteins and blood clotting factors, manufacturing triglycerides and cholesterol, glycogen synthesis, bile production and many others.Your liver also serves to eliminate harmful biochemical waste products and detoxify alcohol, certain drugs and environmental toxins.’
We take lots of toxic chemicals in foods, fruit juices with added preservatives, herbal medicines, some unauthorized drugs, and so on. Thanks to our liver which detoxifies them all, for another fresh day.
From the GI tract, including the pancreas and the spleen the venous blood containing nutrients, toxins, and pathogens are first processed in the liver.The liver then processes the nutrients and others and regulates the amount of nutrients that can enter the blood stream through the hepatic veins.
At this stage, I want to emphasis the important functions played by the bile secreted in the liver cells. In addition, to the part it plays in absorption and metabolism of fatty acids from dietary fat, it also has a role as a portal for the exit of biotransformed toxins. Theoretically, an individual with an increased toxic burden due to elevated environmental exposures
would need to ensure that they had efficient bile flow to effectively remove conjugated toxins from the liver.
All dietary foods and electrolytes you consume, after digestion in your gut goes through the portal veins primarily into the liver. Fatty acids from the digestion of dietary fat seem to take a different pathway through the lacteal system, and thoracic duct to drain into a big vein at the junction of the left jugular and subclavian veins.
Our discussion today, is more on foods that have a beneficial effect, and others that have a bad effect on the health and functions of the liver.
Eating too much of carbs and fats can cause liver damage. The extra fat can build up in your liver cells and lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Sri Lankan’s daily staple food seems to be rice and curry. Most people eat more than a cupful of boiled rice per meal. Each such cup contains approximately 50 grams of carbs, having 200 cals.
Fatty liver is quite common among Sri Lankans living in Sri Lanka and other countries. It becomes an obsession for some, and keeps on telling friends that, “I have a fatty liver”, without realizing the seriousness of the disease, taking no basic remedial measures.
All processed foods, carbs with high glycemic index, such as white bread and white rice, on daily consumption will give you a non-alcoholic type of fatty liver. Mind you frequent heavy consumption of spirits also give you an alcohol type of fatty liver disease.
Eating more than a cupful of boiled white rice is a qualification to get a fatty liver.
Unprocessed brown rice and whole meal bread seems to be a better choice, if you have a fatty liver.
Fruits we must eat daily for the high fiber content, antioxidants, and vitamins. But, if you have a fatty liver you need to restrict eating fruits, naturally derived sugars as in fruit juices, and honey. Corn syrup seems to be one of the worst culprits for fatty liver. Fructose can only be metabolized in the liver, but daily excessive consumption of such sugar derivatives tends to accumulate in the liver as fructose.
The liver uses fructose in corn syrup added by the manufacturers to many food items, and the label boasts that there is no added sugar. The liver stores fructose and makes fat, and that fat tends to build up in the liver cells.
Studies have shown that sugar can be as damaging to the liver as alcohol, even if you are not overweight.
This is one more reason to limit foods with added sugars, such as soda, pastries, and candy.
In Sri Lanka, especially in the main cities, there are convenient pastry shops everywhere, especially near schools. Most children, travelling from far in vans, without home cooked breakfast, dart into these pastry shops for a quick meal. Even for lunch they eat these foods before travelling back home which may take hours.
This is the main reason why young adults also suffer from fatty livers in Sri Lanka.
Research reveals that people who drink a lot of soft drinks are more likely to have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Increased liver triglyceride accumulation contributes to fatty liver. Remember triglycerides are really a fat that is used to store the dietary fatty acids.
Regular soft drinks have high fructose corn syrup which contains basic sugar building blocks, fructose 55% and glucose 45%. Soft drinks are the leading source of added sugar worldwide, and have been linked to obesity, diabetes, and metabolic Syndrome in addition to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is a common clinical condition associated with metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is a collection of a group of health conditions such as increased serum cholesterol and triglycerides, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist Inappropriate dietary fat intake, excessive intake of soft drinks, insulin resistance and increased oxidative stress combine to
increase free fatty acid delivery to the liver and increased hepatic triglyceride accumulation contributes to fatty liver.
Always keep your serum triglyceride levels within the normal range of 150 mg/deciliter.
Fructose causes increased lipogenesis-meaning fat accumulation. In diet soft drinks by additional contribution of aspartame sweetener and caramel colorant which are rich in advanced glycation end products that potentially increase insulin resistance and inflammation, leads to fatty liver A low fat diet recommended
A low-fat, reduced-calorie diet can help you lose weight and reduce the risk of fatty liver disease.
Trans fats are man-made fats used in packaged foods and baked goods for added shelf life also affects your liver.
A better way through which you can protect your liver is by choosing brown rice, and whole grain, as mentioned earlier.
Eat foods like beets, cabbages, cauliflower, pears, legumes, apples improve the functionality of the liver. Broccoli is shown to help prevent the buildup of fat in the liver trusted source in mice. Eating more greens, like spinach, Brussels sprouts, and kale, can also help with general weight loss.
With fatty liver you may lose your appetite early, suffers from abdominal pain, development of weakness and mentally
Fatty liver can expect to lead to cirrhosis and liver failure.
The early symptoms of cirrhosis are:
Reduction in brain functionality
Excessive development of confusion
Heavy bleeding from minor bruises
Accumulation of fluid in abdomen.
Coffee lowers abnormal liver enzymes
Studies have shown that coffee drinkers with fatty liver disease have less liver damage than those who don’t drink this
caffeinated beverage. Caffeine appears to lower the amount of abnormal liver enzymes of people at risk for liver diseases.
Hope this video talk was useful.
Stay safe and Good- Bye.
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