The Liver Means Life.
The “Live-r” is not called that lightly. The Chinese call it the "house of the soul". In fact, the liver is the central processing unit of our bodies. It performs over 500 known metabolic functions. Our liver processes and stores excess carbohydrates, fat, protein, vitamins and minerals. It manufactures blood clotting chemicals and bile salts necessary for digestion as well as glycogen needed by our brains and muscles. The liver balances hormones and breaks down the toxic substances that we eat, drink and breathe.
Our modern environment is full of such stressful chemicals such as lead, countless food additives, preservatives, pesticides, herbicides, and many more, hundreds of new ones are produced every year. Alcohol and recreational drug use is another common liver stressor in the USA. The liver is the largest and most complex gland in the body.
When the liver functioning well the whole body is benefits and optimal health can be achieved, the skin, the kidneys, the heart, the glands, and the immune system all function with added vibrancy!
A few times a year a like to give my liver a little added attention. Simple ways that I can nourish my liver without causing additional stress. Here are a few simple ways that you can support your liver as we turn this seasonal corner and welcome a new season.
You have probably seen milk thistle by the side of the road. Just another obnoxious weed you may think. The leaves look like someone poured milk over them. The seeds of milk thistle have been used for over 2,000 years. Extensive research on the herb began in the 1960’s and firmly supports the use of milk thistle in the treatment of liver disease.
Eating milk thistle protects the liver against damage from pharmaceutical drugs (from steroids to Tylenol), alcohol, environmental toxins, be it Big Macs or chocolate eclairs. Besides stimulating the liver after a long winter, milk thistle is also used for serious problems such as hepatitis, cirrhosis and mushroom poisoning.
You can eat the leaves in the spring after cutting off the vicious spines. The roots can be roasted or boiled. The seeds can be ground and stirred into water and drunk, or roasted before grinding and sprinkled over oatmeal. You can simply toast the seeds in a hot frying pan, use salt or tamari or soy sauce and eat as a snack. Have at much as you like, no need to worry about contraindications or side effects.
Actions: liver regenerator, liver tonifying, anti-inflammatory for both liver and spleen, immune system stimulant.
1/2 cup nettle seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup milk thistle seeds
1/2 cup kelp or dulse
1/4 sea salt
1/3 cup hemp seeds
Increase your intake of Tumeric another superstar of liver nourishment.
Actions: of Alterative, analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-allergic, antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, appetizer, astringent, cardiovascular, carminative, cholagogue, digestive, diuretic, stimulant, and vulnerary.
Try a few of these recipes below, Share a favorite Tumeric recipe if you have one!
A favorite recipe in our house is turmeric milk, (traditionally in India given when someone is coming down with a sore throat) simple as adding a spoonful of your turmeric honey to warm milk but especially tasty a grated teaspoon of fresh ginger and a dash of freshly ground black pepper. Steep for 10 minutes. Optional but you could add some maple syrup, a cinnamon stick, 4 cardamoms, and 4 cloves. (sometimes I even add chaga)
A Few Fun ways of adding Tumeric to your diet:
- Add turmeric to egg salad to give it an even bolder yellow color.
- Mix brown rice with raisins and cashews and season with turmeric, cumin and coriander.
- Add to sautéed apples, and steamed cauliflower and onions.
-Add turmeric to complement recipes that feature lentils.
- Add to salad dressings an orange-yellow hue by adding some turmeric powder to them.
Finally start and end the day with a glass of lemon water!
The challenge for the month of March is to add 1-2 liver nourishing support to your self care protocol! And please let us know how it goes.
It is not too late to join this year long health challenge . I am happy to send you the Health Challenge button if you are interested in joining us. Here is the link to the first month and the second month. In order to participate comment by saying! "I am on the road to better health!" and begin the challenge. At the end of the month let us know if you have experienced and health changes and start on the next months challenge and so on. At the end of 12 months I will put all monthly participants name in a hat and draw a prize! So the more months you participate in the better your chance of winning. Prize yet to be decided!
Monthly Health Challenge 2011
January 2011 - 30 days of Nettle Infusion
February 2011- Bitters (Digestion)