Love your liver

A colourful range of fruit and vegetables next to Love Your Liver sign

For many of us, January is the time to adopt a healthier lifestyle, especially if we’ve overindulged or been less active over the Christmas holidays. To help us get back on track for 2020, the YMCA’s resident Nutritionist, Nick Owen, shares some practical advice on how we can rejuvenate our livers following a period of excess. 

As with every organ, diet, exercise and lifestyle are fundamental to good liver health. Aim for a diet of natural food sources with the right balance of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.

Be mindful of your eating and drinking patterns. Eat foods and do activities which move you towards your goals.

Avoid patterns, activities and unhealthy food which will move you away from your goals. Avoid faddy, unsustainable, quick-fix, miracle diets which are un-supported by scientific evidence.

Variety is the spice of life

Do a variety of exercises appropriate to your goals and fitness levels. No specific exercise or class offers a single solution to better health. Don't underestimate the importance of simple movement and increased blood flow. Speak to one of the YMCA Club team or Personal Trainers, check out our classes online and formulate a plan that is going to work for you. 

We are bombarded by the concept of ‘detox’, but it’s your liver which does the detoxing for you. You just need to give your liver the best opportunity to detox successfully and thoroughly.

Your liver is responsible for detoxing and you are responsible for retoxing. In other words, you need to ingest the good stuff and live in a mindful way which supports mental and physical well-being.

Here’s some useful guidance from the British Liver Trust. 

Ditch the popular belief or any justification that drinking red wine (or something similar) is “good” for you. It’s fine to have a drink if you fancy one, but don't be fooled into thinking that it won’t have any impact on your health, fitness goals or performance, especially if you are drinking near the upper recommended limits. 

What steps can you immediately take?

Think about any behaviour which has led you to where you are now. Think about new behavioural patterns which will enable you to make the necessary changes that you want to achieve. Keep it simple!

For most of us, change will revolve around how we structure our day – when we eat, exercise and sleep and how we fit these around the demands of work and home life.

Make time for three nutritious meals every day incorporating all the food groups.

Eat more vegetables and fruit. Move towards a more plant based diet.

Review current snack and smoothie routine.

Reduce or cut out alcohol.

Get between seven and nine hours of quality sleep every night.

Identify what triggers any poor habits and aim to address them, eg, poor sleep, high stress, disorganisation, frequent nights out and the urge to drink alcohol or eat a take-away.

Avoid excessive exercising, spending too much time at the gym and enduring hours of cardio. We shouldn't be at the gym more than three or four times per week. Any more and it becomes unsustainable.

Avoid stockpiling alleged ‘miracle’ supplements or smoothies. Just focus on the above fundamentals. Eat healthily 80%-85% of the time and you will begin to see progress and feel sustainable.

Free InBody health check

To help you get back on track and look after your liver in 2019, the YMCA Club is offering a free InBody health check, body composition analysis and assessment. The InBody test measures your weight, body mass index, muscle mass, body fat, water, proteins, minerals, metabolism and hip to waist ratio. These results will help inform the status of your health which a YMCA Club staff member will discuss with you. They will also offer free advice on how you can reach your fitness goals in light of your test results.

Click here for more information about the Inbody test and how you should prepare.


Tues 28th Jan - 7am-9am, 12-2pm and 6-8pm

Weds 29th Jan - 7am-9am, 12-2pm and 6-8pm

Thurs 30th Jan - 7am-9am, 12-2pm and 6-8pm

Sat 1st Feb - 11am-1pm

In front of the green sofa on the Club's Main Sports Hall floor.

Free for both members and non-members.

Members - please just turn up. No booking necessary.

Non-members - please notify YMCA Club Studio Manager,

About the author

Nick Owen is the YMCA Club’s resident Nutritionist and holds a diploma in Non-Medical Nutritional Advice. Nick uses nutrition to support a variety of client goals including weight management, fat loss, muscle building, health and well-being, energy levels, concentration and complexion. Nick’s approach is practical and realistic starting with an analysis of diet and lifestyle. Nick supports the achievement of these goals over a series of consultations.

Claire.Gilderson | 9 December 2019