Spring is a time of new beginnings, renewal and growth. It's a time to come out of hiding and open up to what others and the world have to offer. Just as the sap of trees begins to flow up from the roots to the branches, our energy also becomes more dynamic. Now is the time to wake up earlier and get out and about to take advantage of this new energy. Set down roots for new projects, activities and routines. Wind is the energy of spring and green is its color. Green is relaxing for the nervous system and for the eyes. The color of newly sprouted leaves is also stimulating for the liver, the organ system of this season.
Spring is also the time to consider detoxification regimens. Eating the right food, getting proper rest and exercise will allow this to happen naturally. Among seasonal vegetables, bitter greens activate the liver system. Green and blue-green foods stimulate body energy to expansion, activity, and good digestion. Some examples are leeks, green leaves like kale, shellfish like oysters, and seaweed like spirulina (micro-seaweed) as supplements. Eating lighter meals and careful preparation of your vegetables is a way to get the most out of the season's o offerings. Try steaming as a way of cooking to preserve the maximum amount of vitamins and nutrients. Also, increase your intake of raw foods, fruits, whole cereals. Sprouts are great energizing foods. Certain sprouts like alfalfa, fenugreek, radishes, and mustard even help to detoxify the liver.
Liver congestion can lead to various inflammations including bronchitis, sinusitis, and arthritis. To insure a proper detox, avoid saturating the liver during this time. This means staying away from excess alcohol, tobacco and saturated fats. Also, watch out for processed foods with artificial sweeteners, additives and preservatives. All of these are taxing to the liver.
The liver is associated with muscles and tendons so now is the time to get them moving after a long winter when our rhythms are slower and we've spent more time indoors. More energy in the season means it's easier to increase movement, which in turn, allows for getting rid of toxins accumulated in winter. Walking is an easy alternative as it activates many muscles, helps to stimulate the liver and gallbladder, and releases tensions and stiffness. As your body gets stronger, introduce a more challenging form of exercise such as yoga to encourage the flow of energy and blood in the body. This also helps activate your liver energy and brings more oxygen to the tissues.
Although the weather is not as cold, take care to dress warmly and to keep the wind away, especially from the head and neck area. Keep your middle area warm too as the liver likes heat – your immune system is higher when your liver is warm - so save those midriff tops for summer. For many people, spring also signals the beginning of seasonal allergies. Keeping away from dairy, wheat and sugar can help minimize mucus production. Probiotics, or symbiotics, are also recommended to keep your system in balance and minimize attacks in most people. You might also consider a few sessions of acupuncture.
For good health, we need pure food and water, sunshine and fresh air, enough rest and sleep, and the right amount of exercise. Living in step with the energies of nature helps to create a situation of harmony and balance within the body. Balance then allows healing to take place naturally and helps to prevent illness. Enjoy this season and get the most out of spring!
Note: Part of this article first appeared in the June 2010 newsletter of Sunbeams.