Last Updated on August 24, 2021
Whether you’ve come through the holidays all partied-out, or pandemic-fueled boredom and stress has kept you reaching into the liquor cabinet, it’s never a bad idea to check in with your liver. While this organ is notoriously sturdy, long-term exposure to too much toxicity—including alcohol—can eventually take its toll. In fact, with liver disease on the rise, more and more people are looking for a way to rest and reboot their liver—and give it a break from the booze.
Below, we’ll discuss some common signs your liver may need a break, and some of the best ways to give it that needed reset.
Signs Your Liver Needs a Break
One of the troubling things about liver damage is that it often goes undetected and symptomless for a long time. So, to begin with, some of the warning signs your liver needs a rest may not be how you’re feeling, but what you’re doing. Do you:
- Frequently find yourself having more than a few servings of alcohol per night?
- Often eat fried, salty, or sugary food?
- Work or live in an environment that often exposes you to toxins and chemicals?
If so, cutting back or taking a break from one or all of these things might be a good idea, as a preventative measure. As for early symptoms that your liver is becoming damaged, these include:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Tenderness in the area of the liver
If you’re experiencing several of these signs, it’s a good idea to see a doctor and check in with your liver health. Untreated, a stressed-out liver can develop a number of increasingly serious illnesses, including:
Early detection and treatment for these issues is crucial, so if you think it’s possible you have any of these issues, you should take action and get medical help.
Read More: Early Signs of Liver Damage From Drinking
Ways To Reset Your Liver
If you aren’t yet experiencing any type of serious liver disease, but you still feel your liver needs a rest and recharge, there are several useful things you can do:
Include More Liver-Cleansing Foods In Your Diet
While not all “liver cleanses” on the market are actually backed by evidence, there are some foods that can have real benefits for your liver health. Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower can help balance your liver enzymes and fight fatty liver disease. High fiber foods like oatmeal can slow the death of liver cells, and help you bounce back more quickly. Even coffee can reduce your chances of liver problems.
Take a Month Off From Alcohol
If you’re concerned your drinking is hurting your liver, consider taking a month off from the booze. Popular “dry months” like Dry January, Dry July, and Sober October can be a great opportunity to do this and have strong social support. But any month can be a good time to reset your relationship with alcohol. And according to doctors, even a month off from alcohol can help reduce liver inflammation1.
Taking a break from alcohol and fried food can help. But once you’ve done so (and you’ve established that you don’t have any significant long-term liver damage), it’s best to simply eat a balanced diet, and consume only moderate amounts of alcohol if you drink. The general definition of moderate drinking is up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 per day for men2. Sticking to these limits, or not drinking at all, is generally your best bet.
Read More: What is Moderate Drinking?
Get Your Liver Tested
Finally, we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: It’s not always immediately apparent when your liver is becoming damaged. If you’re experiencing any early signs of liver disease, or you’re generally concerned about your lifestyle, it’s always a good idea to get tested. Liver function tests come in many forms, but they generally aren’t very invasive, and can give you peace of mind. And if you are sustaining real damage to your liver, the sooner you know about it, and can treat it, the better.
Read More: Getting Your Liver Tested: What to Expect
If you’re struggling to cut back or quit alcohol on your own, whether you’re concerned about your liver or not, Ria Health offers a new solution. Talk with our expert medical team via an app on your phone, get medications to help you reduce cravings, and chat weekly with a registered recovery coach. Best of all, the whole thing is done digitally. You never have to visit a rehab facility or put your life on hold.
Sometimes, the best way to give your liver a break is to make a permanent change. At Ria, we’re here to support you, every step of the way.