5 Points to Nourish and Protect the Liver

It's important to maintain a healthy liver.

Danger alert: an unhealthy diet, eating late at night, staying up too late, smoking, and drinking alcohol are lifestyle habits detrimental to the liver's health. (Image: Nataliia Mysik via Dreamstime)

Modern life is fast-paced and stressful. People are busy with careers, family, friends, and more. As a result, they may consume an unhealthy diet, eat late at night, stay up too late, smoke, and drink alcohol, lifestyle habits detrimental to the liver. To try to compensate, people may take healthcare products indiscriminately, potentially adding to the damage.  

Such poor choices often leave a person feeling physically and mentally exhausted. Living such a hurried and unhealthy lifestyle over time keeps the body in a state of sub-optimal health, possibly leading to various acute and chronic diseases.  

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According to traditional Chinese medicine’s (TCM) Theory of the Five Elements, each of the body’s internal organs has an emotional component. As such, physical symptoms may result when there is a mental, spiritual, or emotional imbalance.

Among the five internal organs, the liver is the organ linked to anger, meaning when it isn’t functioning properly, a person may experience various forms of anger. 

Therefore, in daily life, you should develop a good lifestyle, correct bad living habits, and take good care of your liver by not exposing it to things that may cause an imbalance or a state of poor health.  

5 bad habits that lead to liver dysfunction 

1. Depression 

The liver prefers that you maintain a state of calmness, balance, and positivity. This allows the qi, or energy, to flow smoothly and keep you in a state of good health.  

When you are angry, it causes the liver qi to move upward, leaving the bottom of the liver without energy. As a result, this can lead to disease. In addition, if you are in a state of depression for a long period of time, your qi will not flow smoothly, bringing great harm to this organ. 

2. Staying up late 

Staying up too late is not recommended for maintaining a healthy liver.
Staying up too late is not recommended for maintaining a healthy liver. (Image: Korn Vitthayanukarun via Dreamstime)

In order to get adequate rest and rejuvenate the body and mind, you should typically be in bed by 11 p.m. and sleep between 7 and 8 hours a night. This allows you to enter a deep state of sleep between the hours of 1 a.m. and 3 a.m., the time period when the liver and blood are nourished. Without adequate rest and sufficient time to let it work unimpeded, it may not get the proper amount of blood flow to allow it to do its job and run smoothly. 

3. Obesity 

To maintain a healthy liver, it’s important to develop the habit of eating a minimal amount of greasy foods. Since they are difficult to digest, they may lead to conditions such as hepatitis and obesity. When a person is obese, fats often accumulate there, resulting in fatty liver disease. In severe cases, according to TCM, this can lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer. 

4. Alcohol 

Beyond any doubt, excess alcohol consumption is detrimental to the liver.
Beyond any doubt, excess alcohol consumption is detrimental to the liver. (Image: Puntasit Choksawatdikorn via Dreamstime)

In today’s modern society, drinking alcohol has become a means of social interaction. People toast one another at the dinner table and may drink excessively. But drinking too much alcohol will invariably increase the liver’s workload, as it goes into overdrive in an attempt to eliminate the alcohol, which it views as a toxin. If it is overburdened and cannot detoxify as it should, it can lead to conditions such as alcoholic liver disease, cirrhosis, and liver cancer.  

Therefore, it’s important to avoid alcohol, or at least keep drinking to a minimum. Those who use alcohol to socialize should take this as a warning so they will not suffer from poor health in the future. 

5. Illicit drugs and medications 

The liver is the body’s largest organ for detoxification. Most drugs must pass through it in order to be metabolized, and this can cause drug-induced liver dysfunction. Therefore, illicit drugs should be avoided, and when taking any prescription medications, people should pay attention and report any adverse reactions to their doctor. It’s also important to use them according to their doctor’s instructions.  

By following these simple lifestyle guidelines, you can keep your liver in a state of optimal health, which translates into better overall health. 

Translated by Patty Zhang and edited by T Denning

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