The liver is one of the hardest working organs and also one of the easiest to ignore. As a strong and steady machine, it may take a long time for symptoms to appear when your liver is undergoing serious problems. Similarly, our kidneys have the capacity to greatly increase their work load when needed. From the over consumption of alcohol to exposure to everyday toxins, contaminants and disease-causing agents, the liver and kidneys handle it all, but we can help support their function so they healthy.
The primary role of the liver is to cleanse your blood of toxins and wastes that come from the foods you eat, the medicines you take, and the environment. It also regulates the production and function of many hormones, cholesterol and proteins, and also regulates and stores glucose to fuel your body. As one of the most efficient and industrious organs, the liver can continue working even when two-thirds of it has been damaged by scarring due to infection and disease.
The Canadian Liver Foundation suggests three important ways you can take care of your liver. The first is to practice safe sex to prevent becoming infected with viruses such as hepatitis C, which can be sexually transmitted. These viruses can attack and inflame the liver. Additionally, limit the amount of alcohol you drink to one or two drinks at a time and avoid drinking on a daily basis. Do not participate in drinking games or binge drinking. Thirdly, get physical exercise every day as part of a healthy lifestyle. This can help boost your immune system and help you maintain a healthy weight, both of which can reduce your risk of developing fatty liver disease, according to the British Journal of Nutrition.
Like your liver, your kidneys are also responsible for multiple functions. These paired organs help to regulate hormones and water levels, balance blood pressure and remove wastes and toxins. According to the Kidney Foundation of Canada, wastes, such as urea from the breakdown of proteins, and creatinine, the waste product of the muscles, are toxic to your body if the kidneys do not remove them through urination.
The National Health Service recommends several tips to keep your kidneys healthy. They include staying hydrated by increasing your daily water intake, especially during the warm summer months, and during and after strenuous physical activity. It is also important to get your blood pressure checked regularly. High blood pressure can damage your kidneys and lead to other health problems. Additionally, decrease your alcohol consumption and stop smoking to reduce the amount of work your kidneys have to do to remove toxins from your blood.
Nadia Haris is a registered radiation therapist who has been writing about nutrition for more than six years. She is completing her Master of Science in nutrition with a focus on the dietary needs of oncology patients.