A Healthy Liver: Man's Best Friend
Guys, a healthy liver is most definitely your best friend, at least when it comes to organs of the body, yet it gets so little recognition in comparison to those "big name" organs.
According to an ABC News Health article, liver disease affects twice as many men as women and is more likely to kill you guys than high blood pressure!! (Of course, if you have a healthy liver then you very likely won't have high blood pressure.)
It's possible that you are damaging your liver on a daily basis, and you don't even realize it....down a few too many drinks on the weekends, pop a few too many acetaminophen, 2 or 3 sodas on a daily basis, and....
well, let's just say the liver works really hard all of the time. Even getting that tattoo can be risky for your liver!
Stress to your liver contributes to poor immunity to illness, weight problems, lower energy levels, and sexual health issues, all of which affect your quality of life on a daily basis.
So what's a fella to do?
Here's a little information to get you started toward maintaining a healthy liver (or improving your liver health)....
A Healthy Liver Means More Energy!
If you want consistently higher energy levels without constant fatigue, healthy liver maintenance and reducing toxin overload in the liver are essential.
Digestion and elimination require a huge portion of your daily energy leaving less for everything else.
Eating the right foods for energy and a healthy liver is important also, but remember that no matter how healthy the food is that you are eating, it won't do your liver any good if you eat too much, which leads us to........
Weight Issues and Liver Health!
Being overweight stresses you liver which zaps your energy.
A fat belly (or some refer to it as a "beer gut") can lead to a fatty liver, so if you are wearing a ring of fat around your mid-section you may already have this condition.
Yes, there is a disease called "fatty liver disease". This disease can lead to more serious problems such as cancer, heart disease, and other degenerative diseases.
If your liver is full of fat, it can't do it's most important job of filtering your blood before it goes out into the body, and this is very serious.
Lose 10 pounds! Once you see how much better you feel, and the increase in your energy level, you may want to lose a few more.
Your goal should be to reach a healthy weight at which you feel good both physically and mentally. One thing to remember, that will help you lose that ten pounds, is to stop overeating!
The other part of your weight loss plan should be some form of daily physical activity. Just 30 to 60 minutes, at least 4 to 5 days weekly of exercise will do!
An easy and inexpensive work out that you can do most anywhere is running. Think about it!
And hey....another benefit of weight loss and exercise is less digestive problems like heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux, and bloating.
You might also be happy to know that losing those extra pounds will improve your.....
Your weight and your liver function will affect your sexual health.....
The more fat cells a man has, the more estrogen his body produces, and, testosterone levels will decline!
All of this may lead a man to consider a prescription medication for erectile dysfunction which just may be adding fuel to the fire!
I'm not saying you need to stop taking it....I'm just saying that if you will work on losing some weight and following a regular exercise program to strengthen your liver function, you may not need that prescription pretty soon!
Reducing your weight will increase your levels of testosterone, which are regulated by the liver.
By the way, if you're taking certain anti-depressants, they can also adversely affect your sex drive (and your liver).
Think about it....the liver filters your blood which goes out into the body. If your blood is full of artery-clogging sludge, due to an overworked liver, then your blood isn't going to flow as it should and then you've got problems.
Keep in mind also, that there are other things that influence erectile dysfunction such as stress, anxiety, depression, and energy level which are all linked to.....
your liver health.
If you want to know what foods to eat to boost your libido, nourish your prostate, and benefit your liver as well, click here.
The good news is that all of the positive changes you make to improve your liver health and sexual health will also prevent....
So many health issues are related to poor liver function. Digestive problems, weight problems, allergies, sleep disorders.....
and degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease (and all that goes with it), diabetes, arthritis, thyroid disease, lung disease, and the many diseases that attack your immune system.
the more medications you take to feel better, the more damage you do to your healthy liver function!
You are treating the symptoms, but not taking care of the actual problem.
Building and maintaining a healthy liver will help with the problem.
One over-the-counter medication that harms your liver, and that you may use frequently is acetaminophen. Your body can handle small amounts, but large quantities all at once can do some real liver damage.
According to an article on an ABCNews website, a hepatologist at the University of Texas Southwestern, by the name of William M. Lee, M.D., states, "The problem with acetaminophen is that the toxic dose level is very close to the therapeutic dose level."
Now if something like acetaminophen is doing such serious damage to your liver, just imagine what those prescription drugs are doing!!
Don't get me wrong, prescription drugs definitely have their place, but if you are taking a prescription medication over an extended period of time, discuss scheduling a liver-function test with your doctor.
And now, what about taking....
Supplements for Men and Healthy Liver Function
Certain supplements can be life changing for some men.
All men should be consuming a high quality multivitamin daily for a healthy liver and total body health. For more information on multivitamins be sure to check out the supplementation page.
Fish Oil is also extremely important for men. A high quality fish oil supplement can improve healthy liver function, help relieve aching joints, improve eyesight, and put you in a good mood.
My husband first noticed the eyesight improvement when he was deer hunting one season. He had been on the fish oil for about five months. His eye doctor said the improved vision was because of the increase in moisture in his eyes, due to the fish oil supplement.
A couple of other supplements that are showing alot of promise for men's health are saw palmetto and lycopene.
Considerable clinical research has shown that about 80 to 90 percent of men using saw palmetto show a positive correlation between saw palmetto and prostate health.
Many men have turned to using using saw palmetto because it is usually much cheaper than its synthetic medication counterparts and may act faster. Unlike some synthetic drugs, saw palmetto also does not seem to cause impotence nor diminish sex drive.
Saw palmetto is popularly used for helping treat everything from persistent coughs to digestive problems. It has also long been used to relieve BPH or benign prostatic hyperplasia by helping treat blocked urine exit, frequent urination, and other BPH symptoms.
Lycopene is the most abundant carotenoid found in the prostate and may play a role in supporting a healthy prostate by enhancing immune function and providing antioxidant protection. It seems that lycopene is beneficial for human health in various ways.
Studies have suggested that a diet rich in lycopene is good for preventing cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and more.
Lycopene may be effective in preventing cancer, especially, that of the lungs, stomach, and prostate gland but there is no conclusive evidence and research is still ongoing.
It is also said to reduce the incidence of macular degeneration and cataract, and researchers are investigating its use in reducing fertility problems in men.
Keep in mind that lycopene is found in certain foods. Tomato products, grapefruit, and watermelon are all good sources of lycopene. Consuming foods like salsa, spaghetti sauce, tomato juice, and other tomato dishes are excellent ways to get more lycopene in your diet.
When buying any vitamins, saw palmetto supplements, lycopene supplements, or fish oil look for GMP compliance. Keep in mind that the FDA does not regulate supplements, so they may contain potentially harmful additives, and may not have all the nutrients they claim to have causing extra work for your healthy liver.
Supplements from pharmaceutical GMP-compliant manufacturers are of very high quality.
Your Stress Level Affects Your Healthy Liver
Stress is a serious problem when it comes to maintaining a healthy liver.
Most symptoms of stress are also signs that your liver isn't functioning as it should be which proves that stress will prevent a healthy liver from functioning smoothly.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine the most important function of the liver is to ensure the smooth flow of energy throughout the body, maintaining the health of all the body’s systems. When the liver becomes congested, pain, distress or diseases result.
Stress, poor diet, lack of physical activity or anything else that increases congestion within the liver allows toxins to spend more time there, increasing the potential for damage.
Since emotional stress is a prime factor in liver congestion, it is very important for all of us, and especially those with liver disease, to avoid stress whenever possible.
Stress can lead to more severe emotional health issues such as anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. As the liver becomes weaker from more stress, anxiety, and depression we add prescription drugs to help us deal with our emotional problems. This weakens the liver even more.
Often we drink more alcohol, smoke more cigarettes, eat more unhealthy foods, and stop exercising because we are so depressed or anxious.
As our liver becomes more congested and overworked, from all the damage we are doing, serious illnesses and disease can easily take over.
So....you see why it is so extremely important to a healthy liver to stop stressing and learn ways to relax when life seems to become so overwhelming.
And now you ask, "How in the world am I going to do that!?!?"
Here is a list of ideas and relaxation techniques to incorporate into your life to help your healthy liver overcome the health-robbing effects of stress:
- Be more assertive. Deal with problems head on.
Learn how to say “no” – Know your limits and stick to them in both your personal and professional life.
Express your feelings instead of bottling them up. If something or someone is bothering you, communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way. If you don’t voice your feelings, resentment will build and the situation will likely remain the same.
- Avoid certain situations such as being around people who stress you, and topics that stress you.
If someone consistently causes stress in your life, limit the amount of time you spend with that person or end the relationship entirely.
If you get upset over religion or politics, cross them off your conversation list. When it's obvious that a topic is difficult for you to discuss without getting upset, stop bringing it up or excuse yourself when it’s the topic of discussion.
- Learn to forgive and be willing to compromise.
Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world and that people make mistakes. Let go of anger and resentments.
Free yourself from negative energy by forgiving and moving on.
Learn the art of compromise. When you ask someone to change their behavior, be willing to do the same.
- Take control of your environment, manage your time better and shorten your to-do list.
If the evening news makes you anxious, like it does me, turn the TV off.
Poor time management can cause a lot of stress. Plan ahead so you aren't always running late and don't overextend yourself.
Reorganize your to-do list. If you’ve got too much on your plate, drop tasks that aren’t truly necessary to the bottom of the list or eliminate them entirely.
- Make sure you are happy in your career. Is it time for a change? Many people are stressed because they aren't happy going to work at a job that they don't enjoy.
If you have a hobby or passion you would like to turn into
a business you can work from home or elsewhere, start researching and go for it. I did just that, and this website is the result!
My commute to work each morning consist of walking from the bed, to the coffeemaker, and on to my desk. And because I'm working at a job I enjoy, my stress level has gone way down.
- You can’t prevent or change stressors such as the death of a loved one, a serious illness, or a national recession.
Sometimes the best way to cope with stress is to accept things as they are.
Look for the upside. As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” When facing major challenges, try to look at them as opportunities for personal growth.
Share your feelings. Talk to a trusted friend or make an appointment with a therapist. Talking about what you’re going through with someone can help even if there’s nothing you can do to alter the stressful situation.
- Don’t get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that you forget to take care of your own needs.
Set aside relaxation time; spend time with the positive people in your life who support and encourage you; do something that you enjoy each day no matter how insignificant it may seem; and most importantly, keep your sense of humor.
Laugh at yourself and the crazy situations that arise in your life. Laughter is one of your best ways to combat stress. A healthy liver loves laughter.
- Increase your resistance to stress by strengthening your physical health.
Be sure to exercise regularly. Make time for at least 30 minutes of exercise, three times per week. Nothing beats aerobic exercise for releasing pent-up stress and tension. Personally, running releases some serious stress for me.
Eat a healthy diet. Fresh fruits and veggies; nuts and seeds; whole grains; fish and seafood; and other foods high in omega 3 fats are excellent choices.
Reduce caffeine and sugar. The temporary "highs" caffeine and sugar provide often end in with a crash in mood and energy.
Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. Self-medicating with alcohol or drugs may provide an easy escape from stress, but the relief is only temporary.
Get enough sleep. Adequate sleep fuels your mind, as well as your body. Feeling tired will increase your stress by causing you to think irrationally.
- Relaxation for stress relief. Some forms of relaxation techniques you may want to check into are:
- Deep breathing
- Tai Chi
- Massage therapy
So, what are some simple ways to unwind, keep your wits about you, and maintain a healthy liver? Here are a few of my favorites!
- Go for a walk or a run.
- Spend time in nature hiking, picnicking, or just relaxing.
- Call or visit a good friend.
- Sweat out tension with a good workout.
- Write in your journal.
- Take a long bath, with scented candles and soft relaxing music.
- Light scented candles around the room
- Savor a warm cup of coffee or green or herbal tea.
- Play with a pet.
- Work in your garden.
- Get a massage, a manicure, a pedicure, or all three.
- Curl up in a quiet place with a good book, or these days, curl up with your Kindle.
- Listen to relaxing music.
- Spend time on your favorite hobby.
- Watch a comedy or an inspirational or spiritual movie.
Tattoos and a Healthy Liver!
My husband and I each have a tattoo, and so does my oldest son.
It's a fun way to express yourself, (and I thought quite painful)! But you should be aware of the risk to your liver health.
First of all, you need to be sober.
Now, if you're sober and you really want that tattoo, be aware that researchers have found that patronizing a tattoo parlor greatly increases your risk to contract the liver disease Hepatitis C.
You will probably find that tattoo parlors claim to sterilize all of their equipment in an autoclave. Even so, there is still a chance that the needle will become re-infected by the time the artist is ready to begin.
I'm just saying.......check out your tattoo parlor.
Please continue exploring Liverguru.com to learn more about the benefits of a healthy liver and how to get one, or maintain the one you have.
Be sure to check out the recipe section for healthy recipes to nourish your healthy liver!
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