“The essential art of Chinese medicine is the foretelling and prevention of disease rather than the treatment of illness after it has manifested as painful or distressing physical and mental symptoms.” Tao — The Subtle Universal Law, Lao Tzu
In a previous post I discussed why paying attention to your liver is so important particularly in the Spring. Here are things you can be doing to support your liver and improve your health this season.
1) Cleanse Your Liver — This is probably one of the best times of the year to undertake a dietary cleanse with a focus on upregulating the liver’s capacity to perform its cleansing functions. While there are a variety of spring liver cleanses out there, all with similar intentions there are some general guidelines I think one should always follow before undertaking a cleanse which I’ve outlined in a separate entry. And of course limit (or eliminate) your intake of all types of processed food and turn your attention to the bounty of fruits and vegetables that will soon become increasingly available.
2) Consume sour food and drinks. According to TCM, sour flavors stimulate the liver’s Qi and facilitates the detoxification process. This is a great time to introduce in your diet certain fermented foods, have pure lemon juice in the mornings, and incorporate in your diet a variety of greens like mustard greens and watercress.
3) Early to Bed/Early to Rise
In TCM the Liver and its yang partner the Gallbladder is understood to be energetically active between the hours of 11pm and 3am in the morning. To be able to perform optimally its functions these organs need no distractions and a deep quietude. Thus it is important to get to bed early and to rise early with the sun and start your mornings off with some light stretching to get the blood moving.
4) Get Outdoors — The blooming plant life and warming temperatures offers the perfect opportunity to get outdoors and exercise. Exercise and fresh outdoor air stimulate the body’s energy (Qi), keeping it moving and flowing throughout the body. Something as simple as a 30-minute walk outside can make a world of difference in your health.
5) Consume Chlorophyll — Chlorophyll – the pigment responsible for giving all green plants their color – will strengthen your liver. Chlorophyll is known to exhibit antioxidant properties, fighting harmful chemicals within the body known as free radicals. Some excellent sources of chlorophyll include spinach, parsley, watercress, green beans, green peppers, Brussels sprouts, green peas, asparagus, broccoli, zucchini, cucumbers, green apples, melon, honeydew and kiwi.
6) Take Care of Your Eyes — Did you know that your eyes are connected
to every organ in your body in some manner? With that said, the liver has the strongest connection to the eyes. When your eye health begins to decline, so does your liver. Take care of your eyes by limiting your time in front of electronic displays (e.g. computers and television) and have an eye exam performed by a licensed optometrist at least once every two years.
7) Seek Acupuncture — We can’t talk about ways to cleanse the body this spring without mentioning acupuncture. From relieving seasonal allergies to reducing pain and inflammation, the benefits of this Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are endless.