Not all of us have a degree in biology or anatomy. Still, it is very important and necessary for each of us to have at least a little bit of knowledge about our own body and how it functions. This June I would like to dedicate to our liver and gallbladder. There are many living people who have their gallbladder removed, but how many people live without their liver? Recently I was meeting a friend at very unique restaurant. The menu was exceptional. They catered to everyone including vegetarians and vegans. While looking at the menu and deciding if we were going to share or each order our own dish, we saw fried Liver on the menu. My friend, being a meat eater, made such a disgusting face and I bursted out laughing. I have not been a vegetarian my whole life and many of my families are still eating meat. There are just a few of us who have changed our way of eating and food intake. Mostly for health reasons, others for religious beliefs. I still have memories of when the ladies of the family would get together at the farm house and clean chickens and ducks for consumption. There were times when they would take the different organs, salt them and roast them in an open fire. It would be the liver, the kidneys, the heart……………..oh my……….. even the intestines would be cleaned up, washed out and filled up with a seasoned blood mixture of the animal. They enjoyed it! So…. here I am with my friend who grew up in the USA, looking at his face, reading the specialty of fried liver on the menu and wondering if he knew that in different cultures all the parts of the animal are eaten.
This made me think of sharing about these particular organs this month. You can read how they function, what they do and how to keep them fresh and healthy. Please feel free to share any comments or questions in our Facebook page or email us.
The gallbladder is an often misunderstood organ. The gallbladder is located in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen and lies in a small groove of the liver. The gallbladder stores a green fluid known as bile which is produced by the liver. Bile is secreted after the ingestion of fats and, to a smaller extent, after the ingestion of any food. Bile helps in the breakdown of fat into small emulsification, but does not digest the fat. Bile also aids the absorption of some nutrients such as fatty acids, cholesterol and mono-glycerides. Without bile, 40% of fats in the diet would be lost in the stools and cause nutritional deficiencies. Some bile is reabsorbed by the body. The remaining bile is excreted and gives color to the stools. Inflammation of the gallbladder is often due to gallstones. Gallstones often interfere with bile flow and produce secondary infection. Cancer of the gallbladder and bile ducts are rare.
The liver is one of the busiest organs of the body. From producing bile for digestion to eliminating toxins from the body, the liver performs more than 500 different functions on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the major cons of today’s fast paced lifestyle include high stress levels, increased junk food consumption, heavy drinking, smoking and self-medication. All of these factors tend to take a severe toll on your liver in the long run. Doctors have observed that in the last few years, liver diseases are emerging rapidly. However, there are ways you can reduce the effects of your stressful lifestyle on your liver and keep it healthy.
Take the Liver & Gallbladder Symptom Test
If you answer “yes” to one or more of the questions below, your liver and/or gallbladder may need support:
- Do you ever get nauseous after a meal?
- Do you ever feel heavy after a high-fat meal?
- Do you ever get occasional heartburn after a meal?
- Do you have trouble digesting wheat, dairy, soy, grains, beans, corn, nuts or seeds?
- Do you ever have sluggish, green, or greasy stools?
- Do you gas or bloat after a meal or feel tight or tender under the rib cage?
- Do you have a history of any gallbladder problems?
- Do you feel better with digestive enzymes?
- Do you feel a pain or ache under the right side of the rib cage?
- Do you have a history of constipation, loose or mucus in the stools?
- Do you belch frequently after a meal?
Read next week about practical tips to increase liver and gallbladder health.