World Hepatitis Day (WHD) is among the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) officially mandated worldwide public health days. This day is celebrated each year on 28th July across the world to promote awareness and understanding of hepatitis, which is one of the most fatal and overlooked illnesses, claiming a life every 30 seconds. Hepatitis affects 325 million people worldwide, with hepatitis B and C responsible for taking more than 1.1 million lives each year. As the liver is the body's second largest organ, it plays a pivotal role in processing nutrients, drugs, and toxins, as well as producing hormones and storing vitamins and minerals. Dr. Preet Pal Thakur, Co Founder- Glamyo Health lists out some food items that one should include in the diet to keep the liver healthy.
Since India lacks an HCV (chronic Hepatitis C virus) monitoring system, there is an apparent lack of in-depth information about the actual number of patients living with HCV-related illnesses and those who have died as a result of it. As per WHO estimate, the prevalence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) in India is 3-4.2 per cent, with over 40 million HBV carriers. Annually, over 176,000 Indians die from complications of hepatitis B and C. In response to the crisis, the United Nations established the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, with the objective of eliminating Hepatitis by 2030.(Click here to know how hepatitis damages the liver)
Foods For Liver Health
Cruciferous veggies belongto the family Brassicaceae which include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choy, arugula, Brussels sprouts, and collards. They contain phytonutrients, carotenoids, and flavonoids, which help in the neutralisation of toxins. In addition to improving digestion, they instantly boost the liver’s natural detoxification enzymes, prevent it from damage, and enhance blood levels of liver enzymes.
Munch on Blueberries, Cranberries, Grapes and Apples
It has been reported and scientifically proven that blueberries and cranberries can help keep the liver healthy. Both blueberries and cranberries are high in antioxidants called anthocyanins and can boost the immune cell response and antioxidant enzymes. Grapes too are good for the liver because they contain resveratrol, a plant compound. Grapes have also been shown to reduce inflammation, prevent damage and boost antioxidant levels in the liver. Similarly, polyphenols found in apples regulate serum and lipid levels in the liver.
Squeeze more Lemons
Lemons have an adequate source of Vitamin C, which is known to cleanse the liver and protect it from oxidative damage. According to a recent Chinese study, lemon juice can help to cure liver damage caused by excessive alcohol consumption. Making it a routine to drink lemon water in the morning will yield the best results.
Also Read: Hepatitis C Diet: Foods To Eat And Avoid
A fibre-rich diet, such as oats, beans, chickpeas, lentils, whole grain bread, and cereals, is beneficial to the liver. Fibre-rich foods have been linked to a lower risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). A healthy fibre-rich diet aids the liver’s efficiency and effectiveness. In contrast, an unhealthy diet can cause fatty liver, which is characterised by an excessive accumulation of fat inside liver cells, reducing the liver’s function capacity.
It’s quite ironic but scientifically proven that consuming fatty fish such as salmon, herring sardines, tuna, and trout, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamins A and D can actually lower fat levels in the liver and decrease inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids also maintain normal enzyme levels and improve insulin resistance.
Maintaining a healthy diet is good for the liver but overcoming certain habits is even more crucial. Here are some tips to follow:
- Limit the amount of alcohol consumption.
- Correctly manage medications.
- Avoiding inhaling or touching toxic substances.
- Restrict refined carbs and foods high in sugar or salt.
- Restrict types of food high in saturated fats.
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