Tuesday, November 20, 2012

8 tips for a healthy liver

Your liver may not be functioning at its optimal level if you have constant fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, and yellowing of skin and whites in the eyes. To improve the health of your liver, you need to give your diet and lifestyle an overhaul.

A healthy liver keeps your body's regulatory, detoxification and metabolic functions in tip top condition. Fortunately, most liver problems are reversible if discovered early.

"The liver is an amazing organ which can rejuvenate itself. Liver failure develops over time. You can stop a fatty liver condition from deteriorating into more serious liver cirrhosis and liver cancer by making significant changes to your diet and lifestyle," says Dr Victor Lee Tswen Wen, consultant, Department of General Surgery at Singapore General Hospital (SGH).

What does the liver do?
The liver is the body's major cleaning and clearing house.

A healthy liver regulates blood glucose levels and removes bilirubin from the bloodstream. Bilirubin is a byproduct from the normal breakdown of red blood cells.

In addition, the liver processes foods, extracting nutrients, and produces bile to digest fatty foods. Any excess nutrients are stored in the liver.

The liver also detoxifies. It removes toxins that are ingested through alcohol, medications and contaminated food, from the bloodstream.

8 tips for a healthy liver

1. Moderate your alcohol intake
The liver can only process or break down a small amount of alcohol every hour. For this reason, men should limit their alcohol intake to two drinks a day while women should only have one. A standard drink is equivalent to one ordinary beer or one small glass of wine.
2. Cut down on fatty foods
Reduce the amount of saturated fats, trans fats and hydrogenated fats in your diet. Saturated fats are found in deep fried foods, red meats and dairy products. Trans and hydrogenated fats are found in processed foods. The liver stores excess dietary fat, and fat buildup can eventually bring on fatty liver disease.
3. Reduce body weight
Obesity, particularly, abdominal or central obesity, is a major risk factor for developing fatty liver disease. Eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly to maintain a healthy weight. A fatty liver slows down the digestion of fats. Do aim for the ideal body mass index (BMI) target. The healthy cut-off values recommended by MOH and HPB Singapore are between 18.5 and 22.9.
4. Avoid over-supplementation with traditional medicine & remedies
Over-supplementation may cause liver inflammation. As the liver detoxifies, supplementation with certain traditional medicine or remedies can lead to liver damage or even failure. This is because some of these remedies contain heavy metals, which taken in large quantities can result in liver toxicity or affect the regular functioning of your liver.
5. Eat more fibre
Eat more high-fibre foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables. For proteins, choose more fish, beans and nuts, and cut down on red meats.
6. Get vaccinated
Get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B, both viral liver infections. Hepatitis A is contracted from contaminated food or water and hepatitis B, from sexual contact, contaminated blood and needles.
7. Get regular exercise
Regular exercise is key to a healthy liver. Exercise increases energy levels, decreases stress on the liver, and helps to prevent obesity — a high risk factor for liver disease. Aim for a total of 150 minutes of exercise, such as brisk walking, per week.
8. Be cautious of weight loss pills
Over-the-counter weight loss pills which are available without a prescription may contain ingredients such as Ephedra (ma huang in Chinese) which are harmful to the liver.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

7 strange health tips that work

Balance hormones with spearmint tea

For ladies suffering from hormonal problems including acne or facial hair, research has found that spearmint tea can be an effective natural treatment to its anti-androgen properties. Turkish researchers found that drinking two cups of spearmint tea a day reduced levels of male sex hormones in the body, which could be good news for women currently relying on medication including oral contraceptives to help control excessive hair growth (hirsutism) or acne.

Ease headaches with lime

If you suffer from frequent headaches or migraines try stocking up on limes, which many have found to be a good natural cure. The scent of lime is thought to be good for headaches, while the coolness of the fruit can also help to ease the pain. To help ease a headache naturally, cut a lime in half and rub the cut end across your forehead, or the part of your head which aches.

Boost your brain power with chewing gum

If you don’t have time for your morning coffee or have a busy morning and need to focus, try having a piece of chewing gum instead to feel more alert. Researchers at Coventry University have found that chewing mint-flavored gum can dramatically decrease feelings of tiredness, while separate research studies have suggested that chewing gum can improve test scores and improve memory by 35 per cent.

Cure hay fever with honey

Hay fever is a persistent problem for many. However, if you want to beat hay fever without relying on anti-histamines, honey can provide a great natural remedy. Honey is believed to cure hay fever as the bee pollen contained in it can desensitise your body to the pollen which causes hay fever. While it has not yet been proven by scientific research, many have found that taking a spoonful of local honey a day is an effective cure for their allergies.

Improve your immune system with dirt

Many of us avoid dirt and bacteria out of a fear of getting ill. However, while it is generally important to maintain good hygiene standards, a little bit of dirt could be better for you than you think. Research suggests that exposure to friendly bacteria found in soil can actually help boost the immune system and alleviate depression, making gardening and countryside walks ideal activities for giving your health a boost.

Turn off your bedside lamp to feel happier

Many of us experience bad moods or feel inexplicably down from time to time. However, an unexpected solution to your bad mood could be to make sure your room is dark before you go to sleep. Research has shown that night time light can suppress the production of melatonin; a mood-regulating hormone only produced during darkness. To give your mood a boost, try investing in heavy curtains and turn off all lights before bed, including your TV.

Prevent sore throats and headaches by being more honest

If you find yourself regularly suffering from headaches or sore throats it may be that you are telling too many little white lies! We all tell the odd fib from time, whether it is complimenting someone’s unflattering hairdo or claiming to be “on our way” before we have even left the house. However, according to research, lying can be harmful to your health due to the stress it generates. A study by researchers at the University of Notre Dame found that when people reduced the amount of lies they told, they suffered from less anxiety, headaches and sore throats. Read more on realbuzz.com...