How can you tell that your liver is ailing?
The main symptoms of overloading the liver and gallbladder are pain in the upper abdomen and the right side below the ribs. Pain sensations are accompanied by a bulging of the abdomen, bloating and nausea, which are more prevalent at night. Unpleasant symptoms appear especially after eating hearty or heavy foods and those rich in fats – the gallbladder is then forced to release as much bile as possible to enable the stomach to digest the meal. This in turn makes the liver work for a longer time at a higher rate, producing some pain and swelling.
In the long run, treating your liver this way would lead to serious disease and disorders of the digestive system. It would therefore be necessary, and as soon as possible, to change to a lighter diet, one friendly to your liver and gallbladder.
Basic principles of nutrition during liver problems
1. Use less salt. Limit the consumption of salty food – it is recommended to eat only up to 6 grams of salt (approx. 1 teaspoon) per day.
2. Use spices to help digestion. Season your meals with herbs supporting metabolism – dill, parsley, marjoram and lemon balm. Cinnamon and cloves will also be perfect.
3. Avoid frying in fat. It is better to steam food, braise it, boil it or bake it in foil. The additional fat from the frying pan is a huge burden on your liver.
4. Eat regularly, at about the same times of the day. In the case of difficulties with digestion, you should consume smaller meals more frequently, every 2-3 hours. 5 regular, not large meals a day will relieve the gallbladder.
5. Avoid reheating your food. It is best to eat cooked food immediately after preparation. Lunch stored in the refrigerator even for 1 day can harm an overloaded liver. Make sure that the meal is warm – neither cold nor hot.
A diet for a healthy liver
The greatest enemy of the liver and gallbladder is an excess of saturated fats and cholesterol. Overloaded organs have a big problem with digestion and absorption. High fat meals require increased efforts by the liver due to the intensified production of bile in the gallbladder. So avoid any fatty products such as bacon, lard, fatty cold meats, fatty cheese (yellow and white types), and instead introduce more cooked fish (rich in healthy fats) to your diet. You do not need to, of course, give up fats completely – they are needed in small amounts, e.g. butter on the bread.
Limit the consumption of sweets, especially milk chocolates and cakes. Simple sugars that you consume with food, enhance the production of fats that overburden the liver. Be sure to provide large amounts of protein in your diet. Protein helps regenerate micro-damage to the liver, and at the same time is easy to digest and does not overburden the weakened organs additionally. Eat eggs, lean dairy, chicken and turkey meat, and fish as much as possible.