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Liver Health: Better And Worst Foods

Lifestyle And Liver Health

The liver is the largest organ (gland) in our body: it measures about 30 cm in length and can weigh from 1.2 to 1.6 kilograms. It is situated in the upper right quadrant of the mid-region, underneath the stomach. It is formed by hepatic lobules, which, in turn, are created by hepatocytes, natural ” chemical laboratories ” of the liver. The liver also produces bile, which is essential for the digestion of fats and many other functions vital to our health. Due to its activity, the liver is exposed to damage due to food and an improper lifestyle. Some foods can promote their efficiency, while others can damage it.

Liver Functions

Metabolic Function

  1. The liver produces most blood proteins, including albumin and clotting factors.
  2. The liver stores sugars in the form of glycogen, the primary energy reserve of our body. When we need energy, the liver “breaks down” the glycogen molecules and releases the sugars into the blood.
  3. Fats are used, processed and partly eliminated by the liver.
  4. The liver produces the proteins necessary for transporting hormones in the blood and can modulate their activity by activating or inactivating them.
  5. Bile allows the intestinal absorption of fats taken with food and vitamins, including B12 and fat-soluble ones such as vitamins A, D, E and K, which the liver must first metabolize. 

Detoxifying Function

The liver can be defined as a real anti-toxin “filter”. It is a natural organ for the immune system because some cells specialize in recognizing pathogens. The liver is, therefore, able to:

  1. Eliminate numerous toxic substances, such as the toxins of the chemicals we ingest (drugs, food additives, pollutants of various kinds).
  2. Dispose of the alcohol consumed. 
  3. Eliminate damaged red blood cells.
  4. Reduce excess cholesterol.
  5. Improve digestion and promote good bowel function.

Symptoms Of Liver Disease

The primary liver diseases are hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver cancer (including hepatocarcinoma) and fatty liver (also known as fatty liver ). Liver disease can manifest itself in several ways. The most typical symptoms are:

  1. Nausea and dizziness, which can cause vomiting and loss of appetite resulting in weight loss
  2. Mild fever
  3. Itchy skin
  4. Fatigue
  5. Hypocholic (light) stools and hyperchromic (dark) urine
  6. The easy appearance of bruises, hematomas and bleeding
  7. Jaundice (yellowish pigmentation of the skin and opaque outer part of the eye)
  8. Cholestasis (reduced or stopped bile flow)
  9. Hepatomegaly (enlarged liver)
  10. Portal hypertension (excessively high pressure in the veins that carry blood from the gut to the liver)
  11. Hepatic encephalopathy (deterioration of brain function due to the accumulation of toxic substances usually removed by the liver)
  12. Hepatic insufficiency

Remember that the manifestations of liver disease are often not evident or recognized immediately, especially in the early stages, as they can be easily confused with symptoms of other conditions. This is why it is essential to conduct blood tests periodically and monitor liver values. Contact your doctor.

Foods That Are Enemies Of The Liver

The Alcohol Is Contained In Spirits 

Such as liqueurs, grappas, bitters, fruit cocktails, wine and beer. After ingestion, ethyl alcohol is absorbed into the body at a rate that can be influenced by various factors such as the amount, strength, filling level of the stomach, etc. Once absorbed, ethanol is metabolized mainly by the liver (90% -98% – the remainder is eliminated through the lungs, kidneys and skin): for this reason, it is the organ most affected by excessive alcohol consumption. . In fact, alcohol has a toxic action on hepatocytes, which determines their death. Excessive alcohol consumption should not be understood as what leads to drunkenness: it is enough to introduce more than 40 grams of alcohol per day (about two glasses of wine per meal), 30 grams in women, to run the risk that chronic hepatitis and liver cirrhosis develop over time. In agreement with your doctor, after age 65, it is possible to drink a glass of wine or a small beer a day (male and female).

Too Fatty Foods 

Fast-food foods, often referred to as junk foods, such as french fries, thick melted cheese croquettes, crispy bacon, etc., usually contain a lot of hydrogenated (trans) fats which, when consumed in excess, are not suitable for health and in particular to the liver, which has to work twice as much to dispose of them. Trans fats are also present in many industrially or artisanally prepared products and ready-made dishes. 

Other foods rich in fats that should be consumed in moderation in order not to weigh down the liver are butter, lard, lard, cream, animal offal (liver, brain, kidney, kidney, heart), sausages with a high content of saturated fats(salami, sausage, mortadella, etc.) and all the fatty parts of meats, fried foods. Eating high-fat foods often, over time, could lead to steatosis (fatty liver) and later to liver cirrhosis. Prefer simple cooking methods such as steaming, microwave cooking, grilling or grilling, pressure cooker, etc., instead of frying, cooking in a pan with abundant quantities of oil or butter and boiled meat.


A sodium-rich diet can lead to liver fibrosis, the first stage of liver scarring due to cirrhosis. Salt should be added sparingly at the table and in dishes; if possible, avoid foods that naturally contain significant amounts, such as salted, smoked, soy sauce, etc. Always choose fresh vegetables and legumes instead of canned ones, as they are often preserved with salt.

Foods Are Rich In Simple Sugars 

Excessive consumption of foods rich in simple sugars (e.g. sugar of all kinds for sweetening, honey, candies, chewing gum, fruit juices, sugary drinks, industrial biscuits, snacks, chocolate snacks, etc.) is strongly discouraged for liver health, as excess sugars increase the storage of fat in the liver and strain the organ. Do you want to know how much sugar your children or grandchildren consume daily and how much they should eat instead? 

Mussels Of Dubious Origin Are Eaten Raw

There are viruses that, when they infect the human organism, choose to nest and replicate in the liver, causing more or less severe inflammation of the organ, which can, alone or in association with pre-existing liver disease, over time, determine a progressive deterioration of liver function. There are five types of hepatitis viruses. Among them, hepatitis A is a disease that spreads mainly through contaminated water and food such as raw mussels. The hepatitis E virus is also transmitted via the fecal-oral route. It causes acute hepatitis, which can be very dangerous only if acquired during pregnancy. Finally, hepatitis C (caused by the HCV virus) is transmitted through direct contact with an infected person’s blood.

Liver Friendly Foods


Drink at least 1.5 L of liquids daily, preferring natural low-mineral content water. Drinking is essential to keep fit, purify the body, and counteract water retention. Before breakfast, a glass of water on an empty stomach can help detoxify and cleanse your body. 

Raw And Cooked Vegetables 

Eat as many seasonal vegetables as you like! Vegetables guarantee you a correct supply of vitamins, mineral salts, antioxidants and fibers: try to vary often the colors and the type of vegetables you choose. Some vegetables, in particular, have a tonic and detoxifying action on the liver: artichokes, Catalonia, bitter herbs and chicory.

Fresh Fruit 

Consuming two servings a day of fresh fruit, possibly in season and with the peel (if edible and well washed), ensures a good supply of mineral salts, vitamins, antioxidants and fibers. But remember not to overdo it because fruit naturally contains sugar ( fructose ), the excess of which is not suitable for the liver. Limit sugary fruits such as bananas, tangerines, grapes, figs, persimmons, dates, etc., to occasional consumption. 

Foods Were Rich In Proteins

Prefer blue fish (e.g. herring, sardine, mackerel, anchovies or anchovies, etc.) for the high content of “good” omega three fats, legumes 2 to 4 times a week, fresh or dried. The red and white meat should come from lean cuts and be deprived of visible fat. Cold cuts such as cooked ham, raw ham, speck, bresaola or sliced ​​turkey and chicken should be eaten no more than 1 or 2 times a week. 

Cheeses have the same frequency of consumption: you can alternate, as the main course, 100 g of fresh cheeses (mozzarella, stracchino, crescenza, etc.) with 50 g of mature ones, preferring partially decimated cheeses such as Grana Padano DOP. This cheese, thanks to this processing technique, loses about 50% of the fat of the whole milk with which it is made. You can use a spoonful of grated Grana Padano PDO daily to season first courses, soups and vegetable purees instead of salt.

Whole Grains, Yogurt Or Fermented Milk

The intestine and intestinal bacterial flora play a fundamental role in our organism’s well-being. In the liver purification process, proper intestinal function is also essential, possible with adequate daily hydration and abundant consumption of vegetables, whole grains, yogurt and fermented milk.

Simple Toppings

Spices, aromatic herbs or grated Grana Padano PDO can be used to season dishes and flavor instead of salt. Among the oils, I prefer polyunsaturated or monounsaturated ones such as extra virgin olive oil, rice oil or single-seed oils (soy, sunflower, corn, peanut) and try to replace them as a habit with animal fats.

What To Do For A Healthy Liver

  1. Maintain an appropriate weight for your height and age: here, you can find your BMI (Body Mass Index) and calculate your fat and lean mass for free. Your daily diet must always satisfy an adequate intake of calories (provided by sugars and fats). Still, proteins, vitamins, minerals and water because excess weight and malnutrition are risk factors for liver health. Sign up for the Anti-Aging Diet for free and receive four menus, one for each season, customized to your daily calories and rich in antioxidant foods that help you fight premature aging.
  2. Avoid periods of prolonged fasting, and eat regular meals. Eat three meals and two snacks daily to control hunger-satiety and reduce blood sugar spikes.
  3. Practice regular physical activity.
  4. Don’t smoke.
  5. Always check the hygiene of the foods you intend to consume and prefer well-cooked ones, especially if you travel abroad. 


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