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The Functions Of The Liver: 3 Things To Know

Thanks to its endocrine function, the liver is a gland with a vital role in the balance of the human organism. It is located to the upper right of the abdomen, near the diaphragm, transverse colon, and stomach, and varies in length between 24 and 28 cm. We often underestimate his health, which is primary in a healthy body: liver disease can cause various problems to other vital organs, such as the kidneys and the heart itself, affecting the overall well-being of the person.

For this reason, knowing its functions helps us to take care of it and to grasp any alarm bells to communicate to the general practitioner or specialist (hepatologist or gastroenterologist), who will advise us on the tests to be carried out, for example, the fibro scan, and any therapies to follow. So let’s see what the largest gland in our body is for and its primary functions.

The Liver Facilitates The Digestion Of Fats

Through the production of bile — a yellowish liquid composed of water, cholesterol, lecithin, bilirubin, bile salts, and taurine —the liver emulsifies the fats acquired through food, simplifying their absorption in the intestine. The natural pathway of bile then carries fats to the gallbladder, which in turn carries them to the small intestine. A daily overload of unhealthy fats can put excessive strain on the liver, weakening over time because it is too overloaded, as in the case of steatosis, more commonly called fatty liver.

What To Eat So As Not To Burden The Liver 

Following a balanced diet is essential both in case you enjoy excellent health and in case of general problems. Specifically, the foods that are good for the liver are lemon, apples, blueberries, oranges, melon, garlic, onions, artichokes, salmon, mackerel, cod, and tuna.

Among the foods to avoid, we find: alcohol, drinks rich in sugars, fries, fatty cheeses, chocolate, and sweets in general. For a complete picture of the liver diet, we remind you that it is essential to consult your trusted doctor.

The Liver Helps Metabolize Sugars

Another essential function of the liver lies in its ability to filter sugars, transforming them into glycogen, i.e., energy reserves for the body to be exploited when the metabolism requires it.

It is also good to know that sugar comprises two monosaccharides: glucose and fructose. Fructose, present above all in fruit, is metabolized more quickly by the liver and has a low glycemic index, unlike glucose, which is not absorbed by the liver and is deposited in the form of triglycerides directly in the fat tissue. Eating large amounts of foods high in glucose every day can lead to high blood sugar and the onset of diabetes.

The Liver Cleanses The Body Of Toxins

The liver is a natural filter for our body. When it works properly, it blocks and eliminates all the potentially harmful substances we take, such as alcohol, drugs, or saturated fats. It also transforms substances that have outlived their usefulness, such as hemoglobin and ammonia, into less harmful substances, such as urea. Its purifying effect also makes it more exposed to the effects of these substances, compromising its functioning in the long run. 

How To Cleanse The Liver

Even if we don’t know it, the liver takes care of us daily. But are we good at reciprocating it? In most cases, the answer is no. Some suggestions are:

  1. Avoid binges and heavy meals every day; 
  2. Use spices such as turmeric, which have a natural anti-inflammatory ability; 
  3. Limit the intake of sugars and complex carbohydrates; 
  4. Eat chicory, which promotes bile production and digestion.
  5. Before any change in diet, it is always better to carry out the necessary clinical checks and consult a specialist who knows how to indicate the most suitable actions to guarantee the balance of our body.


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