January Is Love Your Liver Month!

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Feeling exhausted? That’s probably because your liver has been working overtime the past few weeks, keeping up with all the heavy eating and drinking over the holidays. Our livers break down alcohol at a rate of about one drink per hour, which is why giving our livers a break after an evening of drinking is the best way to sober up.

Thank your liver by being good to it this 2019:

Maintain a healthy, balanced diet
Did you know that the liver is a key player in metabolizing fructose? It’s hard to resist home cooking over the holidays, especially sweets. Add that on to the festive sugary drinks like eggnog and festive cocktails, and you’re putting your liver into overdrive. Try to limit refined sugars and items with high-fructose corn syrup, like sodas, and if you need that sugar fix, grab some natural sources. Not sure what fruits taste best this season or how to curb that sweet tooth? Our RDs would be happy to give you some suggestions.

Keep up that exercise routine
The liver breaks down fat to produce energy that we can store or use in our daily routines. Without enough energy expenditure the fat is stored and over time can build up in the liver. Maintaining a regular exercise schedule can help combat the fat build up. In addition to fat break down, the liver is a key player in blood filtering. Aerobic exercise gets your heart pumping, moving more blood through the body and ultimately your liver for optimal blood flow and filtering. Bored of your regular routine? Not motivated enough? Get energized and inspired with a session form one of our personal trainers.

Medication regulation
Not only does your liver break down alcohol but it also breaks down medication- including all the painkillers you may have taken for those hangover headaches. If you are on medication and have any concerns while your GP is away for the holidays book an appointment with one of our physicians while you recover at home.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
In the cold winter months, it’s easy to be swayed into drinking a cup of hot cocoa over a cold glass of water, leaving many of us dehydrated without realizing. Water is a key ingredient the liver needs to rid the body of the excess toxins and alcohol build up, and without enough water, it makes the liver’s job twice as hard. It also creates competition in the body for where water gets allocated. Water is also a necessary component of our blood. With less of it, our blood becomes thicker and harder to pump throughout the body.

Try adding some fresh fruit to a pitcher of water such as lemon or lime slices, cucumber, strawberries and even grapefruit for a splash of natural flavour. Make a large pitcher ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for easy access.

Take a break from alcohol
This may seem easy enough but after a month of holiday parties, family gatherings and celebrations with close friends, having a glass of wine with dinner or a drink after work may seem like nothing – but for your liver it’s still work. Put down the bottle, at least for a few days, and let your body recover from the internal workout that’s been happening for the past month.

Feels like you can’t avoid drinking? The holiday season brings up memories and frustrations for some people and our social workers are here to talk you through putting down the bottle, or that third helping of cake.

Love your liver in 2019, and for all your healthcare needs, MediSeen providers are there for you every step of the way.

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  1. Cederbaum, Arthur I. “Alcohol metabolism”  Clinics in liver disease vol. 16,4 (2012): 667-85.
  2. Khitan, Zeid and Dong Hyun Kim. “Fructose: a key factor in the development of metabolic syndrome and hypertension”  Journal of nutrition and metabolism vol. 2013 (2013): 682673.
  3. Informed Health Online [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. How does the liver work? 2009 Sep 17 [Updated 2016 Aug 22].Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279393/
  4. Informed Health Online [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. How does the liver work? 2009 Sep 17 [Updated 2016 Aug 22].Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279393/
  5. Merrell, Matthew D and Nathan J Cherrington. “Drug metabolism alterations in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease”  Drug metabolism reviews vol. 43,3 (2011): 317-34.

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