Many people overlook their liver health. Generally speaking, heart and digestion concerns tend to be of greater focus. What most people don’t realize is that the liver performs over 500 functions, many that affect different areas of health. This means that a healthy liver translates to overall better health.
Unfortunately, this is often overlooked, as we mainly treat the specific ailment rather than the underlying problem.
The good news is that the same culprit that wreaks havoc on your digestion and heart is also hurting your liver. By eliminating this threat, you will experience overall improved health. So, what is your liver’s number one enemy? It’s saturated fat.
Saturated fat linked to poor liver health
For the study, participants were given either an oral dose of palm oil—similar to that found in a high-fat meal—or a placebo. Insulin sensitivity and liver metabolism were measured prior, during, and after the consumption of palm oil or the placebo.
The researchers found that those who consumed palm oil experience immediate fat accumulation of the liver and changes in liver metabolism. Those who received the palm oil also showed markers of insulin resistance, which could be an early sign of diabetes.
In an accompanying editorial, the authors wrote that saturated fat had instant negative effects on liver health.
Saturated fat is not only found in palm oil, but also in coconut oil, meat, and full-fat dairy. High intake of saturated fat has also been linked to other health problems including high cholesterol. Therefore, if you want to improve heart and liver function, you should try and replace saturated fat in your diet with either polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat. These healthier fats can be found in olive oil, avocado oil, peanut oils, and safflower oils.
Reducing your intake of meat is also another step in reducing your saturated fat intake.
As mentioned, protecting your liver and ensuring it’s healthy is key to overall good health. Your liver is a powerhouse—a sick liver means a sick you.
Other tips to reduce liver problems are not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthy foods, regular exercise, preventing hepatitis, and practicing safe sex.
Related: Natural foods for liver repair and liver cleansing