The importance of the liver has been recognised since ancient Rome, but it's taken us a while as a species to understand what exactly this multi-talented organ does. In the Middle Ages, it was still commonly believed that the liver, rather than the heart, supplied the body with blood. In fact, it wasn't until the 17th century that anatomists began crediting the liver with what we now know to be one of its primary functions: the production of bile, the alkaline compound that aids in the breaking down of fats and the elimination of waste products.
We're still learning what a subtle and multi-purpose organ the liver is. Hepatocytes, the cells of the liver, are believed to assist in over 500 different functions. Needless to say, the liver’s a hard worker, but it’s not indestructible and may benefit from some support. So how can we help our little buddy out?
A healthy diet is a good place to start. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts, can contribute detoxifying enzymes which help ease the liver's load. And there's promising evidence that antioxidant-rich fruits such as blueberries and grapefruit may also assist liver health.
We're still discovering which foods support the liver, but when it comes to which foods we should try to avoid, the picture is much clearer. Yes, it's our old friends - processed and fatty foods. Foods that are high in sugar and fat make it harder for your liver to get on with its job. And we know that the liver's no great fan of alcohol. Excessive consumption can impact the health of your liver over the long term, so limit your drinking: no more than two standard drinks per day.
Exercise is another strong part of a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining a healthy weight eases the strain on your body, so finding time for regular exercise is an important step, along with a balanced diet.
As with most things, the key to maintaining a healthy liver is moderation. Establish a good day-to-day routine, one you can maintain over the longer term. Swap out that packet of chips for nuts or a piece of fruit. Enjoy a couple of drinks with your mates rather than a big bender. Buy fresh food and make time for regular exercise.
We know that long-term, sustainable diet and lifestyle changes are the key to maintaining liver health. If you’re looking for additional support, Life-Space Liver Support Probiotic is a targeted formula specially aimed at those looking to assist the health of the liver. Along with five different probiotic strains to support general digestive system health, Life-Space Liver Support Probiotic contains choline, a compound which assists the metabolism of fat and contributes to maintaining healthy liver function.
When it comes down to it, looking after your liver is about looking after yourself. Work towards maintaining a healthy liver and you're on track to a healthy lifestyle. So, remember, love that liver!
Always read the label. Use only as directed. Supplements should not replace a balanced diet.