There has been a large increase in the number of deaths from liver cancer, and liver disease in the US. Between the last years of the 90s, and 2016, deaths from liver disease rose by 65% according to WebMD.
The most shocking part of this statistic is that there is a big rise in deaths by cirrhosis in a particular age group. Young adults aged between their mid-twenties, and 34 or so, have been dying more frequently due to alcohol abuse. The rise seems to align with the great recession, so the evidence points to young adults using alcohol due to despair.
The good news is that the liver is a tough organ and it is the only one in the human body that can regenerate. You can also help your liver’s health by eating certain foods.
One surprising way to improve your liver’s health is through beetroot. Skeptical? Read on to see how beetroot and some other food types can help your liver.
Why is it vital to have a healthy liver?
The liver helps with many functions in the human body. It regulates the levels of amino acids, controls blood clotting, and it stores iron.
It does much more than this, but it does three very important jobs that you may not be aware of.
- The liver cleans your blood
- The liver stores energy
- The liver produces bile
Your liver breaks down toxins and carries them away through the use of bile. It also breaks down vitamins and minerals into things that the body can use. It also breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, and stores excess energy.
Is beetroot actually good for the liver?
Studies on the effects of beetroot on the liver have normally been done with beet juice, rather than the beet itself. However, there is no reason to believe that eating beetroot, rather than drinking it juiced, would have any less beneficial effects.
Beets are known to help increase bile production, an important liver function. They can also help to activate liver enzymes which are needed to break down toxins, produce bile, and help the blood to clot.
Beetroot is naturally high in antioxidants and nitrates. Eating beets can help with inflammation of the liver, and protect against the risk of liver damage.
It is well known that people should include more fruit and vegetables in their diets, and beetroots can be a very tasty addition.
What other health benefits does beetroot have?
Beetroots are a root vegetable, and they can make a healthy addition to your diet. Tests on animals have proven that beet juice can help with liver function, and although perhaps more tests are needed on humans, beets are certainly healthy.
They also have many other health benefits, and they are packed with nutrients including vitamins C and B6, potassium, manganese, magnesium, and iron, to name a few.
They can also help with the following areas:
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve digestion
- Lower kidney inflammation
- Increase blood flow to the brain
- Can help with weight loss
It is important to understand that beets on their own will not produce sudden weight loss, but they are useful as part of a balanced diet. They contain a lot of water and are very low in calories.
They also contain fiber which helps with digestion, and the nitrates found in beets help the blood to flow to the brain, possibly improving cognitive function.
How do you understand you have a problem with your liver?
If you have worries about your liver you should speak to your regular doctor. Although beetroot can help as part of your diet, if you are suffering from any symptoms related to poor liver function, then speak to a medical professional.
According to the Mayo Clinic, one of the symptoms of poor liver function can be chronic fatigue. There are many more symptoms though, and these include yellow eyes or skin (jaundice), swelling in the ankles, and nausea.
Liver failure is far more serious and can come on quickly, even if the patient is otherwise healthy. Untreated liver failure is fatal and can be caused by many factors.
Although many people will link liver failure to alcohol abuse, it isn’t the only way you can harm your liver. Liver disease can be caused through infection, typically from hepatitis A, B, or C. It can develop cancer, be harmed through the use of drugs, including paracetamol and other prescription medicines. Obesity and diabetes can also harm the liver.
What can you eat that is good for the liver?
Fatty liver is something that can occur if too much fat builds up in your liver. Ideally, a liver should only have a small amount of fat in it, and once the total fat content reaches 5% of the total weight of the liver you can start to have problems.
Avoiding goods that have coconut or palm oil is one step to reducing or avoiding fatty liver, losing weight is another. There are, though, some good snacks for fatty liver, that can help with your health, and that are enjoyable too.
Nuts and popcorn are two convenient, tasty snacks to help with fatty liver. These can both be eaten conveniently while watching the big game or a movie too. It is important to remember though, don’t go adding butter or caramel to the popcorn!
Fruit and vegetables make good snacks, although there is a school of thought that too much fruit might be detrimental to fatty liver disease. Vegetable chips make a great alternative to deep-fried potato versions.
Best ways to eat beetroot
If you are someone who has never really eaten beetroot or is not particularly fond of it, then you might want to know alternative ways to eat it.
Typically most people associate beetroot with the pickled type you get in a jar in the supermarket. While this is a tasty way to eat it, it isn’t the only way by far.
If pickled beetroot is the only way you’ve ever known this vegetable to be prepared, you may be in for a pleasant surprise. You can roast beets, juice them for a really healthy drink, turn them into a dip, and even use them in cupcakes.
One more unusual way to use beetroots is in Indian food. They can be used to make the dough for paratha, or as an ingredient in a curry. They can be eaten raw, boiled, mashed, or pickled.
Search the internet for some inspiration if you are finding plain pickled beetroot a little repetitive, or you don’t fancy drinking beet juice.
Your liver is vitally important. You only have one, and it should be taken care of as much as your heart. Typically though, most people don’t think about their liver in the same way.
Beetroot is one very simple way to improve your health, not just with your liver, but with your general health. It is a root vegetable that is overlooked in many ways but is a more versatile ingredient than you might imagine.
Beetroot is full of so many nutrients and vitamins, and at the same time, low in calories, and packed with water. This makes it one of the best foods for adding to a weight loss plan or healthy diet or to aid your liver.