Traditional Chinese Medicine, spring is linked with the energy of the liver. The liver is regarded as being the hardest working organ in the body. At any given time your liver contains about 10 percent of your body’s total blood volume, and it filters 1.4 litres of blood per minute. Pretty amazing! It not only cleans toxins from our blood, produces bile and stores energy in the form of glycogen – but the Chinese believe that it also helps to regulate our emotions, particularly anxiety and stress.
In addition, during these times when we are all super conscious of boosting our immunity, according to the ANNUAL REVIEW OF IMMUNOLOGY: “Your liver is a key, frontline immune tissue.” It contains the largest collection of phagocytic (immune-protecting) cells in the body, and captures and clears bacteria, viruses, and toxic macromolecules from your gut.
Normally spring is seen as the perfect time to gently detox the liver. In our current situation when we are all worried about so many things and feeling so out of control, it is easy to reach more for the alcohol, or recreational drugs or to eat comfort foods. Of course this adds even more load to our already overworked livers. I bet most of you read “detox” and recoiled!! But stick with me for a moment because a detox doesn’t have to be harsh and punishing. In fact detoxing too hard and fast actually puts our immune systems under even more strain. However there are small things that you can do to support your liver during this time. I promise it’s not hard! Why not give this a try from Monday to Friday next week? Even embracing a couple of suggestions will do you good!
Try cutting down:
– halve your current daily alcohol intake and/or recreational drug use (I include cigarettes and vaping in recreational drugs)
– halve your current daily caffeine intake (coffee/tea/chocolate)
– halve your daily refined sugar intake (cake, pastries, crisps, biscuits, sweets, sugar in hot drinks etc)
– if you are still eating gluten containing foods, try swapping your normal bread to sourdough and halving your weekly pasta intake (or swap for some of the excellent gluten free alternatives like edamame pasta)
And try adding these:
– start the day with warm water, lemon and apple cider vinegar. Don’t worry if you need honey too- it’s punchy without. (a good organic cider vinegar with the mother culture is best)
– drink detox herbal teas every day (at least a couple of cups)
– don’t forget to breathe (deep, cleansing diaphragmatic breaths will definitely benefit the liver, and the lungs!) and drink lots of water!