The Liver and the Bowel: essential for athlete’s health

16th February 2019
Some people believe that just by being an athlete guarantees good health, however, that isn't always the case. If you exercise but have other unhealthy habits, you're likely to become unwell.

Exercising is fundamental to leading a healthy lifestyle. It helps maintain your weight, it speeds up the metabolism, and it reduces stress. It’s necessary to take care of yourself in every possible way so that organs such as the liver and the bowel stay healthy.

If you exercise regularly, you must know that any workout routine directly impacts the digestive system. It depends on you to make that impact a positive one; the knowledge of your own body is the best way you can protect your health.

The liver and bowel’s role in athletes’ health

The main function of the liver is essential to athletes, given that it’s in charge of storing glycogen. At the same time, it regulates sugar levels in the blood. Thanks to good liver function, athletes will have the energy they need to perform well.

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And just as with the liver, the bowel is vital. It acts as a barrier that transports nutrients and blocks harmful molecules. If the intestinal lining becomes penetrable, then the body becomes exposed to bacteria, making it prone to illness, due to a weak immune system.

Tips to protect the liver and the bowel

It’s fundamental that you give these organs the attention they require in order to stay healthy. The habit of maintaining a balance between exercise and other activities is likely to help prevent nausea, gastritis, reflux, and other conditions.

Eat at the same hour every day

Experts advise against eating your meals up to two hours before you exercise and during the 30 minutes afterward. This is so that you don’t demand too much work from the liver and the bowel; when you’re full and you try to exercise, these organs may be overworked.

Choose the foods in your diet carefully

It’s really important to make meals that are high in fiber and nutrients a priority in your diet. Foods such as legumes, fruit, whole cereals, vegetables, and nuts are good choices. Eating them will encourage the elimination of toxins and help to prevent diseases such as colon cancer.

Reduce sweets and processed foods

All athletes know they need to avoid consuming foods that are high in sugar, refined flour, and fats. Although these are very tempting foods, eating them can easily become a habit and they’re not good for your body.

The same happens with highly processed products. Usually, people fall into the temptation of fast food because of how convenient it is. It’s important to try and be aware of your cravings and address them healthily.

When it comes to fluids aim for quality and quantity

Generally, most people know the importance of drinking at least two liters of water per day. However, there are ways to make reaching your daily intake easier. 

The best and healthiest drinks that help the liver and the bowel function properly are:

  • Green teas
  • Herbal infusions for digestion
  • Detox infusions
  • Vegetable broth
  • Kukicha tea
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Chew your food well

A way to contribute to a healthy digestive system is by chewing your food properly. Ideally, you should chew food until it’s mostly liquid before you swallow. By doing this you’re helping your body to absorb vitamins, minerals, and acids; digestion issues are likely to improve too.

Try to be stress-free, even when you’re eating

Bowel issues are closely related to your emotional state. Although it may seem difficult, you must learn to manage stress. Even more so when it’s time to eat: eating should be a time of relaxation and enjoyment. Also, you should manage your time so that you are not in a hurry. One of the main causes of gastrointestinal malfunction is eating in a hurry or when you’re nervous.

Omega-3 for irregular bowel function

If you have an imbalance in your bowel functions, you might see an improvement by supplementing your diet with omega-3, and vitamins K and B. Also, you may include some probiotics such as yogurt, and prebiotics to improve your gut flora.

To conclude

Whether you exercise professionally or for your health, you must establish other good lifestyle habits too. Make sure you find a balance between your diet, your emotional state and, exercise so that you’re as healthy as you can be. You’ll see the results in no time.

  • Mielgo-Ayuso, J., Maroto-Sanchez, B., Luzardo-Socorro, R., Palacios, G., Palacios Gil-Antuano, N., & Gonzlez-Gross, M. (2015). Evaluation of nutritional status and energy expenditure in athletes. Nutrition Hospital. https://doi.org/10.3305/nh.2015.31.sup3.8770
  • Koon, G., Atay, O., & Lapsia, S. (2017). Gastrointestinal considerations related to youth sports and the young athlete. Translational Pediatrics. https://doi.org/10.21037/tp.2017.03.10