by Caryl Teh

Here at YTL, we care about your health. 28 July is World Hepatitis Day. And since every case of hepatitis is characterised by inflammation of the liver tissue, we’re taking this opportunity to share some of the best ways to keep your liver healthy, and some liver trivia.

1. Avoid it!

Some substances contain chemicals that can damage your liver, causing it to swell or scar (cirrhosis) which can be deadly!

  • Alcohol 
  • Some cleaning products, aerosol products, and insecticides
  • Additives in cigarettes

2. Fact check it!

Some herbs and dietary supplements claim to restore your liver, but actually either:

  • Cause liver problems: cascara, chaparral, comfrey, kava, and ephedra; or
  • Have never been backed up by any high-quality evidence: milk thistle seed, borotutu bark, and chanca piedra.

3. Listen to your doctor!

If your doctor has given you medication with a specific dosage, there’s a good reason for it!

  • Some cholesterol drugs can occasionally have side effects that cause liver problems if taken in incorrect amounts (whether too much or too little). 
  • For example, the painkiller acetaminophen (Tylenol) can damage your liver if you take too much of it. 

4. Get active! 

  • Exercise regularly! Keeping your weight under control prevents nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition that leads to cirrhosis (scarring of the lung tissue). 
  • One chemical that could cause NAFLD is acetaminophen. And you may be consuming more acetaminophen than you realise because it’s found in hundreds of drugs like, cold medicines and prescription pain medicines.

5.  Eat wisely!

Eat antioxidants – these will protect the liver from damage and fight inflammation:

  • Grapes & grapefruit
  • Coffee
  • Berries like blueberries & cranberries
  • Nuts

Foods that contain natural detoxification enzymes to normalise enzyme & cholesterol levels:

  • Prickly pear
  • Beetroot juice
  • Tea

Don’t skip your healthy oils:

  • Fatty fish like salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acid – fights inflammation, improves insulin resistance.
  • Olive oil – decreases the levels of fat in the liver, increases blood flow, improves liver enzyme levels.

6. Preventing viral hepatitis

  • Hepatitis A – vaccine. 
  • Hepatitis B – vaccine.
  • Hepatitis C – there is no vaccine. Don’t share personal items like toothbrushes, razors, needles, or nail clippers. These can carry microscopic levels of blood or other body fluids that may be contaminated. Get medical care if you are exposed to blood.

7. Get tested! (for viral hepatitis)

Because it often doesn’t cause symptoms, you can have it without knowing it. So especially if you were born between 1945-1965, you are recommended to get tested for hepatitis C. (The baby boomer generation is more likely to have the disease.)

Stay healthy, YTL family!

Sources:
10 Facts about Hepatitis by Mental Floss
Facts about the Liver by Mental Floss, factslegend, medivizor
How to Keep Your Liver Healthy by webmd, liverfoundation, healthline