How can I protect my liver?

You can protect your liver by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and avoiding intake of toxins that can harm the liver. To take care of your liver:
  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle. Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Eat a balanced diet from all the food groups: grains, fruits, vegetables, meat and beans, dairy and fats. Minimize intake of simple carbohydrates, such as sweets, and foods rich in saturated fat, such as fried foods.
  • Maintain a healthy weight with an ideal body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 to 24.9. Your BMI is based on your weight and height.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink moderately. Alcohol can damage or destroy liver cells. Ask your healthcare provider how much alcohol is considered safe for you. General guidelines recommend no more than one standard drink per day for women and no more than two per day for men (a standard drink is 12 ounces of beer or wine cooler, 4-5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor). However, if you have liver problems or certain other health conditions, your healthcare provider may recommend stricter limits.
  • Manage your medications. Learn how some medicines can affect the liver. When you take too much of some medicines (such as excessive acetaminophen, often greater than 4 grams per day) or take the wrong medications or mix certain types (such as acetaminophen plus narcotics containing acetaminophen), it can harm the liver. Always follow the instructions on the medication and from your healthcare provider. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if your medications could harm your liver.
  • Avoid mixing alcohol with medicines, especially with acetaminophen and/or narcotics. Some combinations, even if they are not taken at the same time, can harm your liver, potentially causing liver failure requiring liver transplant.
  • If you are considering herbal medications, make sure you learn about their potential side effects, because some can cause liver injury. Always talk to your healthcare provider before starting a new medication, even an herbal medication.
  • Avoid touching toxins or inhaling toxic fumes because they can injure liver cells. Limit direct contact with toxins from cleaning and aerosol products, insecticides, chemicals and cigarette additives. Do not smoke.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.