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Ayurveda for liver diseases: A natural cure for you on World Liver Day 2018

On World Liver Day 2018, here’s how you can use ayurveda and healthy diet choices lessen the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

health Updated: Apr 19, 2018 13:46 IST
Kabir Bhandari
Kabir Bhandari
Hindustan Times
Ayurveda,Ayurveda cure,Ayurveda food
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is seen in every age group, and on World Liver Day we tell you how ayurveda can help. (Shutterstock)

On World Liver Day 2018, we tell you how to reduce the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease with help from ayurveda and by inculcating healthy habits. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a term for a liver condition which affects people who drink little or no alcohol. As the name goes, the disease occurs when too much fat is stored in the liver cells, and one of the ways of lessening the risk of this disease is to use ayurveda.

In non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, which is a serious form of the disease, there is liver inflammation, which may lead to permanent damage. This damage is similar to that caused due to excessive consumption of alcohol. After a certain limit, this can lead to cirrhosis and liver failure.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is seen in every age group, but occurs more in individuals who are in their 40s and 50s. This disease normally shows no signs or symptoms, but when it does, it could include the following - enlarged liver, fatigue and pain in the upper right abdomen.

Signs and symptoms of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and cirrhosis could be the following - abdominal swelling, enlarged breasts in men, red palms and jaundice, among other things.

But what are some of the ways in which one can reduce the risk of the disease? We asked Dr Harshavardhan Rao B, assistant professor, gastroenterology and hepatology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, to give us certain pointers and here is what he said:

Choose a healthy diet: Choose a healthy plant-based diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats.

A plant based diet is important for avoiding liver diseases. ( Shutterstock )

Maintain a healthy weight: If you are overweight or obese, reduce the number of calories you eat each day and get more exercise. If you have a healthy weight, work to maintain it by choosing a healthy diet and exercising.

Exercise: Exercise most days of the week. Get an OK from your doctor first if you have not been exercising regularly.

However, apart from these habits, ayurveda has also been known to help in managing this disease.

“According to ayurveda, metabolism and digestion in the body is carried by different types of digestive fires (enzymes), which are termed as ‘agni’ and ‘pitta’ in ayurveda. So in short, liver is a fiery organ, and that is why anything, which is fiery or hot in nature is not good for the liver. Alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, hot spicy food, chemicals in pre-packaged foods or medicines and environmental pollutants are not good for liver as they are also fiery,” says Dr Partap Chauhan, director, Jiva Ayurveda.

Ayurveda plays an important role in lessening the risk of liver diseases. ( Shutterstock )

But how can we use ayurveda to heal ourselves?

Chauhan says that the liver knows how to heal itself. “So all we need to do is stop exposing it to hot foods and chemicals, and keep it cool and clean.”

“In ayurveda, bitter tasting and cooling herbs and foods like aloe vera, neem, kutki, karela, amala, turmeric, bhumi-amala, punarnava and others are used for both protection as well as boosting liver health. Green leafy vegetables, beetroots, carrots and apples are also good for the liver,” advises Chauhan.

He suggests the following method to make a detox tea for the liver: Boil a pinch of turmeric powder in a cup of water for few minutes. When the water cools down, squeeze some fresh lemon juice (about one teaspoonful). A teaspoonful of honey can be added if needed to make it sweet.

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First Published: Apr 19, 2018 13:44 IST