As we know the liver is an organ which detoxifies various metabolites, synthesizes proteins and produces biochemicals necessary for digestion and growth.
The liver with other organs work together to digest, absorb and process the food we eat.
And the primary functions of the liver are . . . bile production and excretion, metabolizing fats, proteins and carbohydrates, enzyme activation, storage of glycogen, vitamins and minerals, synthesising of plasma proteins and clotting factors.
But its main job is to filter the blood coming from the digestive tract, before passing it to the rest of the body.
The liver performs essential life-sustaining functions and while you can't live without a liver completely . . . you can live with only part of one. Many people can function very well with just under half of their liver.
And guess what . . . the liver can actually grow back to full size within a matter of months.
How amazing is that????
The liver filters toxins through channels which are lined with immune cells. These cells engulf the toxins, digest them and excrete them. This process is called phagocytosis.
Now . . . the 3 most common causes for the liver to become damaged are a virus, bacteria and alcohol.
The viruses that cause liver damage can be spread through blood or semen, contaminated food or water or close contact with a person who is infected. The most common types of liver infections are hepatitis viruses.
Now . . . with alcohol . . . when the liver tries to break it down . . . the chemical reaction can damage its cells. This damage can lead to inflammation and scarring as the liver tries to repair itself.
Okay . . . and finally "bad" bacteria . . . you know the one I'm always talking about.
"Bad" bacteria from the gut (the intestines) can actually get into the liver when the immune system is weak. Remember above we found that the liver is lined with immune cells. If they're weak . . . we're in trouble.
So what are the signs and symptoms we should be looking for?
Well . . . that would be . . . skin and eyes that appear yellowish, abdominal pain and swelling, swelling in the legs and ankles, itchy skin, dark urine color, pale stool color, chronic fatigue and nausea or vomiting
So how do we maintain a healthy liver???
Avoid . . . alcohol (which is the major cause of fatty liver disease), added sugars, fried foods, salt, white bread and pastas, and red meat to mention just a few.
And add into your diet . . . blueberries, cranberries, grapes, pears, beetroot juice, cruciferous vegetables, nuts and olive oil.
But . . . one of the best elements to add back into the diet is . . . "parsley". Parsley is a powerful antioxidant that regulates immune function by reducing inflammation and preventing cellular damage. And can enhances liver health.
So next time you see a little sprig of parsley on your plate.
Don't waste it . . . eat it up for a healthier liver.
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