Did you know the liver is responsible for over 500 daily functions? That’s right, this single organ has a lot on its “To Do” list. A few of these functions are to store vitamins and iron and convert stored sugar to usable sugar when the body’s levels fall below normal. The liver is also responsible for destroying old red blood cells and producing bile to break down and digest fats. As you can see, this is a very busy organ indeed.
In Chinese Medicine, Spring is the season for the liver. During this season, it is awakening from its sluggishness, so this is a time to take extra care and protect it. In Chinese Medicine, the liver’s function is to store blood and soften Qi. Also in Chinese Medicine, the liver is recognized as where circulation and our menstrual cycles start. Knowing the liver is responsible for 500 functions it is classified as the commanding general of the body. When this organ is out of balance, we find ourselves frustrated, irritated, and stuck. The color of Spring is green, and the element is wood, and we’ll find many of the foods that speak to the liver share these attributes in common.
When the liver is out of balance our body will send us clues. As mentioned before – we are irritable, frustrated, and fatigued. But if we look deeper – we will find swelling, digestive issues, and painful heavy periods are also present. Many of the symptoms that are often associated with women’s health issues can be found in an out-of-balance liver. Weight stagnation, cognitive fog, headaches, and skin issues are also symptoms of an unhappy liver. So, there is a lot that can happen when our livers are angry.
We encounter items daily that cause our liver to fall out of balance. Environmental exposures and dietary choices are 2 of the most common reasons we need to detox. Plastics, cleaning products, beauty products, pesticides, and hormones accumulate in our liver causing us to further need to detoxify occasionally. Lastly, chlorine exposure is something that we need to watch out for. We don’t think about it, but the skin is one of the ways that our bodies absorb many toxins every time we touch, or are touched by, something.
There are several pathways that we use to detoxify besides the liver. The skin is our largest elimination organ. Lungs help the body trap toxins in the mucous lining. The lymph system carries nourishment throughout the body while at the same time clearing waste. Finally, the colon is another path the body uses to clear waste while absorbing nutrients.
Because vegetables are such an important part of the detoxification process, bitter greens like arugula, radicchio, and dandelion greens speak volumes to the liver. Warm lemon water is a great way to start the day and helps control our blood sugars. Green tea provides the EGCG our body craves. We do want to be careful how much we drink as it does have caffeine. Green tea’s anti-inflammatory properties are so beneficial, especially during a time of detox. Along with the bitter greens, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and Brussel sprouts are additional add-ins that are important for the detox process. Turmeric supports detox enzymes and boosts bile production. Beets help clean the blood as the body is ridding itself of toxins. As we are adding in a large variety of foods – we are going to see an increase in selenium and glutathione.
Since the liver is the commanding general of the body it is so important that we keep it happy and healthy, and Spring is the perfect season to love it. If the liver is provided for, we can only help but find health and energy. If the idea of liver detoxification is something that interests you, please reach out to us at Radiate Wellness and book a Strategy Session with one of our team members. We would love to help guide you through the process of ridding your body of toxins and help find your way to a healthy toxin-free you.