1 GET SOME SERIOUS EXERCISE
University of Essex researchers found that ‘vigorous’ exercise is most effective at reducing the risk of fatty liver disease. Think a boot-camp class of targeted cardio, a tennis match or a 60-minute gym workout.
2 TRY INTERMITTENT FASTING
Losing 5-10% of your body weight can stop, and sometimes even reverse, liver damage, with studies finding that a lowcarbohydrate diet can dramatically reduce liver fat. According to Dr Kooner, intermittent fasting is an effective way to do this. The 5:2 regime involves eating normally for five days and restricting intake to 500-600 calories for the other two. Or you could try 16:8, which involves eating within an eight-hour window only (for example, 11am to 7pm).
3 HAVE AN ANNUAL DRINK DETOX
‘Try to take a month off drinking every year to completely reset your tolerance,’ advises Dr Kooner. Dry January is a great opportunity after all the indulgence of Christmas, but it can be any time. The more often we drink, the more our tolerance increases, so we need to drink more to get the same effect. ‘Resetting’ means we can revert to enjoying a glass or two without feeling we need more.
4 TAKE CONSECUTIVE DAYS OFF
Avoiding booze midweek gives your liver a mini-break, pauses the habit, reduces your weekly unit intake and tests your dependency. You should aim to have at least three consecutive days off.
5 DON’T BORROW A TOOTHBRUSH
Left untreated, the viral infections hepatitis B and C can wreak havoc on your liver, so take care with hygiene. ‘Don’t share razors, toothbrushes or nail scissors,’ advises Pamela Healy.
6 ENJOY ELEVENSES
Studies show that regularly drinking moderate amounts of coffee may help prevent liver cancer, lower the risk of fibrosis and cirrhosis, and slow the progression of liver disease in some patients.
7 KEEP A CHECK ON SOFT DRINKS
People who drink more than one sugary drink a day have more fat in their liver than those who don’t – even after accounting for their overall calorie intake, weight and various other factors. Researchers believe the fructose in these drinks causes fat to be deposited in the liver.
8 GET AN EARLY NIGHT
In a recent study, University of Alabama researchers found a link between disruption to our body’s circadian clock and liver disease. Sleep experts agree that an early night is more restorative than a lie-in. Get into bed by 10pm for optimum slumber.
9 MONITOR YOUR MEDICATION
All drugs, from painkillers to prescription medicine, can cause potential harm. Don’t take medication you don’t need, and never exceed the dosage – or the recommended intake of vitamins.