e liver is one of the body’s largest and most important organs, performing over 500 vital functions that include cleansing blood, eliminating toxins, transforming nutrients into energy, and storing vitamins and minerals. “Your liver processes everything you consume, and either repurposes it for your body to use or gets rid of it,” says Robert S. Brown, Jr., MD, MPH, of Weill Cornell Medicine Center for Liver Disease. To keep this all-important organ in tip-top shape through the years, here’s what you should cut out for a healthy liver.
Drinking too much alcohol
We’re all well aware of the damaging effects alcohol can have on the body, especially when it comes to the liver. But what’s surprising for some is that it doesn’t always take massively excessive amounts of alcohol to cause severe damage. “Overuse of alcohol can differ from patient to patient, race to race, sex to sex, culture to culture, but however much is ‘too much’ for you can result in ongoing inflammation and overwork,” says John Iskander, MD, gastroenterologist at the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. “Years and decades of ongoing inflammation can ultimately lead to the development of scar tissue and cirrhosis, or end-stage liver disease, which is the leading cause of liver failure in the United States.” If you’re a healthy adult, it’s safe to drink in moderation, but if you have a family history of alcoholism or alcohol-related liver diseases, limit regular use. (Don’t miss these silent signs you could have fatty liver disease.)