The health of your liver tends to be a hot topic of conversation around the holidays, with the multitude of occasions for drinking. But that definitely doesn't mean you should ignore this vital organ for the rest of the year.

The liver's main role in the body is for detox, by taking in blood from the digestive system and filtering out toxins like alcohol and byproducts of medication to be excreted. It also helps in the maintenance of energy in the body by breaking down fats for use, as well as helping to maintain a healthy blood sugar level.

So while it's easy to get caught up in cleansing and detoxing trends that seem to promise a brand new body untouched by booze, experts say that focusing instead on the health of your liver can be a far better way to ensure everything is working as it should. Below, Dr. Nancy Reau, Vice President of the American Liver Foundation's Board of Directors in Illinois, gives her advice on how to keep your liver healthy.

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  • Balance That Diet

    "The liver likes a balanced diet, just like the rest of your body," explains Dr. Nancy Reau, vice president of the American Liver Foundation's Board of Directors. She notes that an extreme elimination diet is generally not good for your system, and any benefit it may give you disappears once you go back to eating regularly. For the liver (as well as the rest of your body), look to high-fibre vegetables and lean proteins.

  • Get Some Exercise

    Exercise not only makes you look good on the outside, but it is hugely beneficial to your organs as well. "Exercise builds muscle, which produces anti-inflammatory signals," notes Dr. Reau. In addition, muscle helps to clear toxins from your system, and performing weight bearing exercise regularly prevents osteopenia (the precursor to osteoporosis).

  • Keep The Drinking To A Minimum

    While some alcohol use can be beneficial for your health in moderation, binge drinking is definitely costly and dangerous. As is well known, regular heavy alcohol use can lead to permanent liver damage, as well as other health problems. If you have indulged too much, drinking a lot of water is your best solution to get back on track. Coffee, meanwhile, <a href="http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/alcohol-abuse/news/20060612/coffee-might-curb-alcoholic-cirrhosis" target="_blank">has also been linked to reducing cirrhosis</a> (particularly alcoholic cirrhosis), so don't fear the java.

  • Avoid Supplements

    "A well-balanced diet is much safer than adding additional nutrients into your system," says Dr. Reau. Some dietary supplements have been linked to liver damage, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/22/us/spike-in-harm-to-liver-is-tied-to-dietary-aids.html?_r=0" target="_blank">as the New York Times reported last year</a>.

  • Juice Cautiously

    Dr. Reau readily notes that juicing can be an easy way to add fruits and vegetables into your diet, but points out that it can take some of the fibre out of the food, reducing the nutritional value. As well, some concentrated drinks can be higher in calories than you might expect, so you'll want to account for those in a balanced diet.

  • Don't Cleanse

    Programs that claim to cleanse your liver (and kidneys, for good measure) aren't doing a thing except for making you buy into them. "The liver is a self-cleansing organ," says Dr. Reau. "That is its main job."

  • NEXT: Foods that are good for your liver

  • Garlic

    Garlic helps your liver activate enzymes that can flush out toxins. It also has a high amount of allicin and selenium, two natural compounds that aid in liver cleansing, <a href="http://www.homeopathicpluscentre.com/dr-suri.html" target="_hplink">says holistic nutritionist Hermeet Suri.</a>

  • Grapefruit

    Eating or drinking grapefruit juice can help your liver flush out carcinogens and toxins. This fruit is also high in both vitamin C and antioxidant properties.

  • Beets

    Beets are high in plant-flavonoids, which can improve the overall functions of your liver.

  • Leafy Greens

    Leafy greens like spinach and lettuce have the ability to neutralize metals, chemicals and pesticides that may be in our foods, and act as a protective mechanism for the liver, Suri says.

  • Green Tea

    Green tea is full of plant antioxidants known as catechins, which have been known to improve the functions of our liver.

  • Avocados

    Adding more avocados to your diet can help your body produce a type of antioxidant called glutathione, which is needed for our livers to filter out harmful materials, Suri says.

  • Cruciferous Vegetables

    Cruciferous veggies like broccoli and Brussels sprouts also increase the amount of glucosinolate (organic compounds) in our bodies that help create enzyme production for digestion, Suri says.

  • Lemons

    We all know citrus fruits like lemons are full of vitamin C, but lemons also help our bodies cleanse out toxic materials and aid the digestion process.

  • Turmeric

    Used as a spice, tumeric has been known to help our bodies digest fats and <a href="http://botanical.com/site/by_you/article_tumeric/turmeric.html" target="_hplink">stimulate the production of bile.</a> It can also act as a natural form of detox for your liver.

  • Walnuts

    Walnuts are also high in glutathione and omega-3 fatty acids, which help support our livers through their cleansing process.

1. Balance That Diet: "The liver likes a balanced diet, just like the rest of your body," explains Dr. Nancy Reau, vice president of the American Liver Foundation's Board of Directors. She notes that an extreme elimination diet is generally not good for your system, and any benefit it may give you disappears once you go back to eating regularly. For the liver (as well as the rest of your body), look to high-fibre vegetables and lean proteins.

2. Get Some Exercise: Exercise not only makes you look good on the outside, but is hugely beneficial to your organs as well. "Exercise builds muscle, which produces anti-inflammatory signals," notes Dr. Reau. In addition, muscle helps to clear toxins from your system, and performing weight bearing exercise regularly prevents osteopenia (the precursor to osteoporosis).

3. Keep The Drinking To A Minimum: While some alcohol use can be beneficial for your health in moderation, binge drinking is definitely costly and dangerous. As is well known, regular heavy alcohol use can lead to permanent liver damage, as well as other health problems. If you have indulged too much, drinking a lot of water is your best solution to get back on track. Coffee, meanwhile, has also been linked to reducing cirrhosis (particularly alcoholic cirrhosis), so don't fear the java.

4. Avoid Supplements: "A well-balanced diet is much safer than adding additional nutrients into your system," says Dr. Reau. Some dietary supplements have been linked to liver damage, as the New York Times reported last year.

5. Juice Cautiously: Dr. Reau readily notes that juicing can be an easy way to add fruits and vegetables into your diet, but points out that it can take some of the fibre out of the food, reducing the nutritional value. As well, some concentrated drinks can be higher in calories than you might expect, so you'll want to account for those in a balanced diet.

6. Don't Cleanse: Programs that claim to cleanse your liver (and kidneys, for good measure) aren't doing a thing except for making you buy into them. "The liver is a self-cleansing organ," says Dr. Reau. "That is its main job."

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