You only have one liver, and it’s important to know how to look after it. After all, it works very hard to keep you healthy and it can take a lot of abuse, but just like an elastic band, it can only stretch so far before it breaks. But what exactly does your liver do, why is it important, and what can you do to look after it?
Why The Liver Is Important
Like most organs in your body, the liver is vital to your survival and your general health. In fact, the liver is one of the largest organs in your body- beaten only by your skin. While most of us might think the liver is there to help us drink an extra beer or two on a Friday night, the reality is your liver plays a much bigger role in your life than you realise.
Your liver has a lot of important metabolic functions, including converting the nutrients in our food into substances the body can use for food. It also stores these substances and supplies all other cells with them when needed. On top of that, the liver takes in all the toxic substances in your body and either converts them into harmless substances, or makes sure they get flushed out of the body. Your liver stops you from being poisoned on a fairly regular basis!
Luckily, taking care of your liver is pretty easy, since it largely takes care of itself. The best thing you can do is to eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, drink alcohol in moderation and avoid toxins and illicit drugs. If your diet includes lots of liver-friendly foods (like coffee, grapefruit, cranberries, grapes, oils and cruciferous vegetables), that’s a plus too.
A Liver-Boosting Recipe
If you’ve been around a while, then you know we are regular soup dragons! So it should be no surprise that we have a liver-nourishing soup recipe to keep you nice and healthy. This one is for mustard greens and pork, and makes for a delicious, warming lunchtime treat.
300g mustard greens (kai choi)
180g lean organic pork
2 slices of fresh ginger
Salt & pepper
A pinch of sugar
Wash and slice the mustard greens
Rinse and cut the pork into thin slices
Season the pork with the sugar, sesame oil, salt, pepper and a pinch of cornflour and set aside
Bring 850ml of water to the boil
Add the greens and ginger and simmer for 30 minutes
Add the seasoned pork and simmer for another 6-7 minutes, until pork is thoroughly cooked through
Serve and enjoy!
Chinese Liver Theory
As a side dish to this spicy Chinese dish, we thought we would give you an insight into the Chinese medicine explanation of spring, and how it impacts the liver. There’s a lot to take in, so we thought a nice bullet point list would help out:
Spring is the season of rebirth and potential
Qi movement is upwards and outwards, like a seedling bursting through the ground
The associated organ for spring is the Liver
Springtime is a time for planning and achievement of those plans
Substances associated with spring are Qi and blood
Healthy liver energy allows you to move smoothly without hindrance in your body AND mind
Wonky or weak liver energy means you will become stagnant and stuck, leading to
Frustration, irritability, anger and an inability to move forward with plans and;
Stiff joints, muscle cramps, irregular/painful periods, digestive issues and headaches
So if you’re looking to smooth your liver energy, nourish your liver and keep your body function healthily, we recommend acupuncture treatment, along with a nice big bowl of this liver-loving soup! If you would like to know more about your liver, it’s impact on your body or acupuncture, just get in touch with us today.