Many people enjoy a drink now and then. But how does alcohol affect your body? When you drink, alcohol enters your bloodstream. Your liver processes what you eat and drink into energy and nutrients for your body and filters harmful substances, such as alcohol and toxins from the blood. Your liver also produces bile to help you digest food, stores sugar in the form of glycogen, and performs numerous other essential functions. So a healthy liver is essential to your overall well-being and performance.
How can you know if your liver is healthy, or if you may have liver damage?
The best way to assess the health of your liver is through a blood test for liver damage, such as ALAT.
What is ALT?
ALAT, found primarily in liver cells, is an enzyme that plays a role in converting glucose into usable energy. When liver cells are damaged, ALAT can leak into your bloodstream. Normally, there is only a small amount of ALAT in the blood; higher levels of ALAT are usually an indication of liver damage or inflammation.
How can I lower my elevated ALT?
The good news is that many people can lower their elevated ALT with lifestyle changes:
Limit alcohol consumption, lose weight, quit smoking, regular exercise and of course a healthy diet.
What types of foods can help lower your ALAT?
What you eat also has an effect on your ALAT. Limiting high-fat foods, especially those derived from animal sources, can help lower ALAT. High-fat foods increase the level of fat in your blood, which can eventually be deposited in the liver. Therefore, choose lean proteins, such as chicken, fish or beans and low-fat dairy products, for example. Reduce refined carbohydrates and sugars in your diet. Instead, eat foods like beans, whole grain cereals, berries, oatmeal, and vegetables, which provide fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. Studies have shown that folic acid helps lower ALAT.