Chinese Medicine considers Spring to be associated with the liver – the soul center of the body. The liver is our largest internal organ and provides essential support to our body’s life sustaining systems. In fact, the liver has more than 100 known functions! One of these functions, detoxifying our blood, is extremely important and is compromised when the liver is overloaded with toxins, unhealthy food or excessive drinking. We don’t often think about the amount of work that our livers do for us or the load that it handles every single day. The spring season provides a great opportunity to check in and cleanse what isn’t needed before jumping into higher energy and extroverted yang time. Below, we have tips on a spring diet that will ease the load on your liver and allow you to spring forward feeling lighter and healthier.
It’s all about LIVEr Foods!
- Aim for whole & unprocessed foods.–> Think fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains/gluten free grains, seeds, nuts, and beans (ideally, these are all organic). These types of foods have nutrients that are bioavailable – meaning that our bodies can easily break them down and extract the beneficial compounds for energy and nutrition to our cells. Easy rule of thumb: if a food has come from the earth instead of a factory, it’s living and it’s nutrients are live too.
- Greens!–> The color associated with spring is green. Plants are blossoming and life is coming back to the natural world. Incorporating green foods into the diet is essential! Greens are plentiful this time of year and they refresh, cleanse, and build the body. Chlorophyll is the active ingredient giving these plants their vibrant green color and it oxygenates our bodies while bringing in B vitamins, protein, and calcium. Examples of great greens would be: alfalfa, wheatgrass, kale, chard, spinach, avocados, etc.
- Fermented Foods! –> Kim Chi, sauerkraut, kombucha, pickled vegetables…. fermented foods are incredibly tonifying and have tons of probiotics. Try to include these into your diet whenever you can!
- Fluids!–> Drink lots of water. In the morning, warm water with lemon is incredibly rejuvenating and alkalizing. It is important to drink water at room temperature so that our internal organs and their temperature aren’t shocked. A pinch of salt in your water will help with hydration and allow your cells’ membranes to take in water more effectively. Drinking lots of fluids will allow your body to continuously circulate nutrients in and move toxins out. It really is the most simple route to liver/kidney health and overall wellness.
- Cleansing & Fasting–> Taking a few days to allow your digestion a break from heavy foods and lots of work is most fitting during spring. You can replace a meal or two, or maybe even a full day, with fresh vegetable juices. This is something that can be experimented with – some people enjoy a few days of juice cleansing while others get a benefit just from substituting a meal. Be careful not to drink a juice made with veggies that contain lots of sugars…this will spike your blood glucose. If you’re interested in a more structured detox, ask us about our Standard Process Cleanse. which is all about eating whole foods in conjunction with a body cleansing and detoxifying supplement. The refreshing energy felt from this cleanse is very real!
*Source: Staying Healthy with the Seasons by Elson M. Haas, M.D.