What happens when liver or gallbladder energy isn’t flowing properly? We can experience anger and irritability (and for women: PMS), depression, insomnia, and an inability to lead or make decisions. We are also more susceptible to problems like muscle pulls and strains, joint pains, and headaches when the liver and gallbladder are out of balance. The good news is there are many ways to alter your dietary and food preparation habits in order to prevent a major liver and gallbladder meltdown.
1. Like the green shoots and buds of the plants and trees, spring is associated with the color green. Consume foods that are rich in chlorophyll (including cereal grasses like wheat or barley grass juice, micro algae like spirulina, blue-green, and chlorella, parsley, kale, swiss chard, and collard greens) in order to accelerate liver rejuvenation.
2. Cook vegetables for a shorter time but at a higher temperature. This way, the food (especially the interior) is cooked slightly ‘al dente’. Think lightly steaming or minimal simmering. A quick, high-temp saute method is also recommended.
3. Upon awakening, before that first cup of tea or coffee, drink warm water with a slice of lemon to detoxify the liver and gallbladder. Or try 1 teaspoon each of apple cider vinegar and raw honey in one cup of water. Mint tea throughout the day is another excellent remedy for soothing liver qi (energy). I recommend this in especially if you are experiencing irritability, frustration, or notice frequent sighing.
4. Avoid heavy foods which can exacerbate sluggishness in the liver. These include dairy, fried foods, poorly sourced meats and large quantities of nuts (including nut butters).
5. Make sure to increase moderately pungent foods like green onions, garlic, ginger, watercress, mustard greens, turmeric, basil, cardamom, marjoram, cumin, and fennel in your diet. These help to ease the transition into spring when erratic changes in weather make us susceptible to colds, flus, allergies and acute illness. These foods also have a powerful immune boosting qualities.
6. Eat more raw foods, sprouted grains and seeds. According to TCM, we should also be consuming root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, beets, and turnips.
7. Increase foods with a slightly bitter quality as these can help your deal with problematic heat and inflammation in the liver. Rye, romaine lettuce, asparagus, amaranth, quinoa, radish leaves, citrus peel, dandelion, chamomile, milk thistle seeds, and Oregon grape root all have liver cleansing capabilities. Include these in your diet on a regular basis if you are prone to springtime allergies characterized by itchy, red eyes, post nasal drip and/or sneezing. These foods will also benefit red, swollen joints.
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