Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving: Eating Makes My Liver Happy

Thanksgiving: Eating Makes My Liver Happy

Thanksgiving is upon us, a perfect holiday to express gratitude, and spend time with the people we love.

I can't wait to sit down to a traditional feast of Thanksgiving comfort foods, if there was ever a time to indulge, its now.

Let yourself enjoy every bite of pie, ham, turkey, potatoes, yes with gravy, stuffing, rolls and veggies all smothered in butter.

I eat healthy all year long, but during the holidays all bets are off, I eat what I want, however, I skip the alcohol.

Drinking alcohol during the holidays or anytime has never been my thing, who knew my lifetime aversion to alcohol would play such an enormous role in my health later in life.

*Healthy Thanksgiving Menu For People Living With Liver Cirrhosis.

I was living with hepatitis C for some 20 years before I was diagnosed in 2000, fortunately after undergoing a popular diet with man-made interferon, for some 48 weeks, I was cured! After my health was in check, my determination to remain healthy was fierce. I started dancing to the oldies in the morning, counting calories all day, and attempted yoga on weekends.

Eating Healthy
They say with age comes wisdom, today I find walking in the morning enjoyable, and following a non-diet approach to eating right - a relief. The Mediterranean way of eating has treated my liver well, maintaining a healthy weight is especially important if you have hepatitis C, the risk for developing scarring of the liver; fibrosis and cirrhosis is higher in people who are obese and living with the virus.

The Liver Changes As We Age
Naturally as we age the liver undergoes changes, for instance blood supply to the liver at age 60 in comparison to age 20 is reduced by 40 to 50 percent. The outcome of reduced blood supply to the liver affects its ability to regenerate, especially after toxic injury from drugs, alcohol or illness. Reduced blood flow can significantly affect metabolism as well, which may interfere with how some drugs are absorbed. These age-related changes in the liver can make monitoring medications we use difficult, leaving the liver more vulnerable to injury.

How Old Is Your Liver?
Recently a study at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) investigated whether obesity is associated with accelerated liver aging. The researchers looked at close to 1,200 human tissue samples, 140 were liver samples. Body mass index (BMI) height and weight were noted as well. According to the results, biological age of the liver increased by 3.3 years, for every ten additional BMI units.

*The body mass index (BMI), is a measure of relative weight based on an individual's mass and height.

Lets Do The Math
As an example, I am five feet seven inches tall, and weigh 138, my BMI is 21.6. A women who is also the same height but weighs 202 would have a BMI of 31.6. According to the study, her liver is over three years older than mine. Maybe I'll skip the gravy and buttered veggies.

Mediterranean Diet
Over the years a vast amount of clinical research on the Mediterranean diet has demonstrated adhering to foods named in the diet may help reduce both liver fat, inflammation, and help protect against liver cancer. This month the BBC published an article on obesity naming the Mediterranean diet as a winner for reducing risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Fatty Liver And HCV
Today close to 30% of American adults have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). In people living with hepatitis C it rises to around 40% and even higher in people with genotype 3. Often referred to in the medical world as HCV-induced steatosis, 60% to 80% people with genotype 3 have moderate or severe steatosis.

Insulin Resistance and Treatment Response
In the World J Gastroenterol, November 2014 issue, HCV and Insulin resistance is investigated, with an emphasis on treatment response in patients with different genotypes, in particular genotype 3. Additional information on treating HCV genotype 3 is available in HCV Advocates November newsletter.

Just For Fun

So What Happens When We Eat Too Much??

What Thanksgiving Dinner Does To Your Body
With the average American consuming between 3,000 and 4,000 calories during Thanksgiving dinner, we look at what really happens to our bodies during this momentous feast, watch it here.

With all the research on liver disease, we know that obesity is associated directly with liver health. Following a healthy diet is beneficial in order to avoid additional liver related problems. Yes, maybe even during the holidays, I will be skipping that second piece of pie as well.

Stay healthy and happy all year long folks. Wishing you a cherished holiday.

Always Tina

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