It is so important that March in Canada is a month dedicated to liver health. The Canadian Liver Foundation, established in 1969, is the first organization worldwide to provide support in research and education for liver disease.
The misconception that only alcohol impacts the liver is not limited to Canada, Gary Fagan, the president of the Canadian Liver Foundations says:
but your choices of what to eat, how to treat illness, or even your extra-curricular activities can help or hurt your long-term liver health. The liver plays a critical role in nurturing and protecting your body so it only makes sense to learn what you can do to look after it. Some of the most prevalent forms of liver disease ( fatty liver disease, hepatitis A and B and toxic hepatitis) can often be prevented through lifestyle changes or simple precautions. The more you know, better prepared you can be.
The following is a Healthy Liver Home Checklist prepared by the Foundation:
In your kitchen
- Stock with low fat, high fibre foods and keep salty and sugary snacks to a minimum.
- Check the date of all products, discard those that are past the date. This is cheaper than being ill.
In the living room
- If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation. No more than one or two drinks at a time.
- Women process alcohol slower than men and they tend to be more susceptible to alcohol related liver damage.
Going on a journey
- Be sure to get immunized against hepatitis A and B. Hepatitis A can be contracted through contaminated food and water. Hepatitis B is spread by direct contact with blood or body fluids.
- Wash your hands after going to the bathroom, wherever you are! Hepatitis A is a liver disease that can spread when someone does not wash their hands properly after going to the bathroom and then touches something you eat.
In the Bathroom
- Store medications and vitamins out of the reach of children or in child-proof containers.
- Do not mix medications and/or herbal supplements without talking to your doctor or your chemist. If not used correctly they can damage your liver. Never mix medicines with alcohol. Combining alcohol and acetaminophen, for instance, can lead to acute liver failure!
In the Laundry Room
- When cleaning or painting, ensure the room is well-ventilated and/or wear a mask. Since the liver has to de-toxify everything you breathe in, exposure to airborne chemicals can damage your liver.
In the Garden
- Avoid exposure when using weed control chemicals or spraying for bugs, take precautions. Or, look for more organic ways to maintain your lawn and gardens.
To maintain a healthy liver, take every opportunity to get outside and enjoy some exercise. Eat healthy food, stop smoking and drink not so much alcohol. Should you feel tired and run down ask for a check up to include your liver but do not worry, the liver is one of the organs that repair themselves quickly.