The liver is the largest organ inside the human body. Weighing around three pounds, it is located in the upper right part of the abdomen. The liver is the body’s filter and warehouse—everything goes through it. When something goes wrong with the liver, it can have a serious effect on almost every other organ in the body. Here are a few tips on how to take care of your liver:
- Get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B.
- Avoid blood-to-blood contact. Don’t share anything that may have blood on it, even if you can’t see any. This includes injection drug equipment, glucose monitors, razors, nail clippers and toothbrushes. Get tattoos or body piercings from licensed facilities that follow strict safety protocols.
- If you have a liver disease such as hepatitis C, try to avoid alcohol completely. If your liver is healthy, limit alcohol to one drink a day for women, two drinks a day for men. Mixing alcohol and drugs is especially dangerous.
- Check with your doctor before taking prescription medicine, over-the-counter drugs or supplements. Don’t exceed recommended doses of medications or supplements, such as Tylenol (acetaminophen), iron or vitamin A.
- Strive to maintain a healthy weight. You should aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day.
- A healthy liver relies on healthy food. Eat a low-fat, high-fiber, primarily plant-based diet. Limit added sugars to no more than 10 percent of your daily calorie allowance.
- Don’t breathe chemical fumes or swallow, touch or inhale toxins, as many chemicals can have bad effects on the liver.
- Drink caffeinated coffee, unless you have to avoid caffeine because of another medical condition. Studies show that caffeinated coffee may protect the liver. But don’t let caffeine interfere with a good night’s sleep.
- Don’t smoke tobacco or use recreational drugs. Everything we eat, drink, breathe, smoke and inject—even stuff we apply on skin—goes through the liver.
- If you have a liver disease, seek medical advice. Some liver diseases, such as hepatitis C, are curable.
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