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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Diet and your liver

Liver "sluggishness" is often blamed for poor appetite, listlessness, poor digestion and bad health. In fact, only in a minority of instances, is the liver to blame in these situations.
Specifically, only in liver disease which may take the form of hepatitis or cirrhosis will ill-health be due to the liver.
DIET FOR A HEALTHY LIVER

  1. A balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, animal protein with a fat - carbohydrate - protein ratio of 30% - 50% - 20% unless specific problems such as diabetes, kidney disease etc dictate otherwise. ·

  2. Plenty of fluids

  3. Avoidance of excess alcohol
  4. Pack your diet with antioxidants

Anti-oxidants protect against free radical (produced in all of us due to body's metabolic processes) injury. Apart from protecting the liver and helping in its recovery if damaged, they have been shown to inhibit cancer cells, fight the ageing process and protect the sight.

Antioxidants are abundant in fruits and vegetables, as well as other foods including nuts, grains and some meats, poultry and fish. Below are some of the anti-oxidants and their best food sources.




Beta-carotene
Found in many foods that are orange in color, including sweet potatoes, carrots, apricots, pumpkin, and mangos. Some green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale are also rich in beta-carotene.
Lycopene
A potent antioxidant found in tomatoes, watermelon, guava, papaya, apricots, oranges
Selenium
Selenium is a mineral, not an antioxidant nutrient. However, it is a component of antioxidant enzymes. The amount of selenium in soil, which varies by region, determines the amount of selenium in the foods grown in that soil. Plant foods like rice and wheat are the major dietary sources of selenium in most countries
Vitamin A
Foods rich in vitamin A include liver, sweet potatoes, carrots, milk, egg yolks and mozzarella cheese.
Vitamin C
This can be found in abundance in citrus fruits (lemons, oranges etc.), cereals, poultry and fish.
Vitamin E
This is found in almonds, in many oils including safflower, corn and soybean oils, and also found in mangos, nuts, broccoli and other foods.
A host of over-the-counter anti-oxidant preparations such as Salymarin (milk thistle) can be taken although unnecessary if above foods are taken in good quantities.

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