Lifestyle

Love your liver this festive season and avoid the detox

WITH another Christmas Day of degustation and over-indulgence approaching, Coffs Coast residents are warned going on a detox diet to recover may not be the answer.

Hepatitis Australia reveals about 70% of Aussies are at least partly persuaded of the health benefits of a liver detox diet, or detox products.

Contrary to popular belief, going on a detox diet to counter the excesses of the festive season is futile when it comes to liver health.

Experts agree that Aussies should be proactive when it comes to liver health rather than rely on a quick-fix detox diet or detox products that may have little evidence to back them up.

Associate professor Simone Strasser, liver specialist and spokesperson for the Gastroenterological Society of Australia, said there was no scientific evidence to prove that a detox diet or detox products are beneficial to liver health.

"As toxins do not build up in the liver cells, there is no real benefit to the liver itself," he said.

"In fact, some herbal remedies labelled as 'liver cleansing' are harmful, as the liver can go into overdrive to process and dispose of them.

"The plethora of antidotes to over-indulgence that will be available in the new year will make little difference."

Dr Strasser says we are far better off preventing disease in the first place with a 'love your liver' attitude.

"Liver disease may be a silent killer. There may be no signs that liver damage is happening until disease is far advanced," she said.

"Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help to optimise liver function and prevent liver damage."

While the holiday period is a great time to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends, behaviours including over-eating, excessive alcohol consumption, and lack of exercise can cause liver damage that cannot be reversed through a liver cleansing diet.

Hepatitis Australia CEO Helen Tyrrell said the theory of a quick fix detox is a misnomer.

"People often believe the hype about rejuvenating their liver by detoxing in January, however a quick fix is not the way to approach liver health," Ms Tyrrell said.

"It is far better to modify your lifestyle consistently throughout the year.

"This might involve limiting alcohol intake, cutting down on fatty foods and increasing exercise levels."

The liver is the largest and heaviest organ within the body performing over 500 functions, including processing fats, proteins and carbohydrates, controlling metabolism and combating infections.

Maintaining liver health is therefore an important issue as more than 2000 Australians die each year from chronic liver diseases, cirrhosis and cancers of the liver, gall bladder and bile ducts.

Liver damage, in most cases, is attributable to one or more of three public health concerns - alcohol, fatty foods or exposure to viral hepatitis.

Love your Liver, a Hepatitis Australia campaign, provides education information about the liver and helps to increase the understanding of how to maintain liver health throughout the whole year - not just as a Christmas after thought.

Information on the liver, what is does and how to care for it is available at www.loveyourliver.com.au.

Topics:  christmas, liver health


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