HomeHealthHow Does Alcohol Impact Your Liver and What to do About It?

How Does Alcohol Impact Your Liver and What to do About It?

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There are few organs as underappreciated as our livers. You might not think about your liver often, but rest assured that it’s always working overtime to keep you healthy. So, the least you could do is repay the favor, right? 

Your liver performs more than 500 vital functions, so a healthy liver leads to a better life. However, one of our favorite drinks, alcohol, is a sworn enemy of the liver. So, the first step to taking good care of your liver is understanding how alcohol affects it.

That’s why this article will break down the effects of alcohol on your liver, why it’s so important to keep it healthy, and how you can do so through mindful drinking.

How Does Alcohol Consumption Affect Your Liver?

Now, when we say that alcohol is bad for your liver health, it doesn’t mean that you can’t drink any alcohol at all. It is more about how much you drink.

Your liver can metabolize about one drink per hour. So, if you were to drink only a couple of glasses a day, it won’t be a big deal. But the more you drink, the more punishment your liver takes.

As you drink more and more, your liver starts to have issues metabolizing all that alcohol. When the liver has too much work, it builds fat that can lead to liver diseases, like alcoholic hepatitis. 

While this is more common with people that have drunk a lot of alcohol over a long period, it can also happen more easily to people who binge drink.

In the long run, all that alcohol use will build up fat that can lead to fatty liver disease, which very often turns into cirrhosis or alcoholic hepatitis. The fat build-up in your liver causes inflammation, eventually leading to scarring and improper liver function.

While it’s not always obvious when you are suffering from alcohol-related liver disease, there are still some red flags that can point to it. Some of these signs include:

  • Abdominal pain or swelling
  • Leg or ankle swelling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Itchy skin
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

If you have any of these symptoms, you should contact a doctor. While one or two of these might not be worrying on their own, they could be the precursor to a much greater problem.

You owe it to yourself and your liver to take the cautious approach and contact your doc.

How Can I Heal My Liver?

If you are already struggling with a beat-up liver, you might need to do more than just put a break on the drinking. Luckily for you, we have a few tips to help get your liver back in tip-top shape:

Drink More Fluids

Hydration is salvation. Keeping your body hydrated will reduce the effects of hangovers but also helps regulate your body temperature, improve your cognition, and even lift your mood.

Drink water when you travel, at work, and at home, which will protect your liver and other organs. So, when you wake up, make a point of drinking a glass of water right away. And make a habit of drinking water every chance you get.

Eat Foods that Help it Heal

Everybody loves eating, so if you want to help your liver heal, then you must go for specific foods. For example, dark leafy greens and many citrus fruits are filled with antioxidants that help lower inflammation. 

Speaking about antioxidants, you can also drink green tea. This tea is one of the most powerful antioxidants, and people who drink it regularly have a lower risk of cancer or heart disease.

Lastly, you can eat healthy fat foods like nuts, seeds, fish, or avocado. And if you are a huge fan of cooking with butter, consider replacing it with olive oil.

How Does Mindful Drinking Help My Liver?

You don’t necessarily need to stop drinking entirely to help your liver. You’ll be doing it a huge favor by being more conscious about your drinking. Here are some ways in which mindful drink helps you keep your liver healthy:

Lowers Anxiety and Depression

In the long run, alcohol use can lead to anxiety and depression due to the chemical changes and imbalances that its short- and long-term use cause in your brain. Sure, you feel a rush at first, but that dopamine hit quickly evaporates and leaves you with low blood sugar, exhausted, and dehydrated.

And while depression and anxiety are bad enough on their own, they have also been linked to fatty liver disease.

Following the tenets of mindful drinking can help reduce all of that and keep your mind and body healthy.

Helps You Sleep Better

If you visit Sunnyside, you’ll find a lot of information on the effects of alcohol on sleep. To keep things short, while alcohol might make you feel drowsy, it decreases the quality of your sleep. That’s because it disrupts the sleep patterns that help your body recover. You can sleep better and more soundly by being more moderate with your drinking.

Gives Your Liver a Break

Everyone deserves a break, but especially your liver. Your liver has a wide variety of functions, but when alcohol is involved, its multitasking ability isn’t the best. The less work you give, the better it will be. When your liver metabolizes alcohol, it sets aside some of its other functions, leading to a poor job overall.

Final Thoughts

Giving your liver a break from alcohol will repay you with better sleep, less anxiety and depression, and a reduced likelihood of painful liver diseases. A good way to help your liver stay healthy, or recover from a bad night of drinking, is by eating specific foods or drinking a lot of fluids.

It might sound cliché, but your body is a temple. Make sure it’s in good condition.

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