Tips on Diet and Lifestyle: Taking Care of Your Liver

Tips on Diet and Lifestyle by Naturopathic Doctor in Vancouver – Katie Smith

March is the month of St. Patrick’s day.  It is also the beginning of spring.  In Traditional Chinese Medicine, spring is the best time to take care of your liver.  Apart from avoiding alcohol (the no-brainer), here are 5 ways you can optimize your liver function this spring:

1.  A glass of warm lemon water each morning.  Apart from lemons being packed with vitamins and nutrients, the lemon water will stimulate your digestion and aid in detoxification.

2.  Increase your consumption of green leafy vegetables, ESPECIALLY ones from the cruciferous family (broccoli sprouts, Brussels sprouts, kale, kolrhabi, cabbage etc).  These veggies contain a compound called sulphoraphane that helps your liver process and excrete harmful chemicals and excess hormones.

3.  Get your fibre on!  Generally we need 25 – 32 grams of fibre per day.  This is best found in the form of vegetables, lentils and beans.

4. Breathe from your belly.  You need oxygen to survive, but most people don’t breathe past their upper chest.  This can lead to neck tension and increased stress.  Belly breathing (also known as diaphragmatic breathing) helps you to relax, gets you to use more of your lungs and as an added benefit ‘massages’ the liver which sits right beneath the diaphragm.

5.  Avoid foods containing fructose (fresh fruits are ok because of the vitamins and fibre).  Fructose acts a lot like alcohol in your liver and too much of it can lead to a condition called ‘Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease’.   It is found in highest concentrations in high fructose corn syrup, any processed sugars and agave nectar.

Katie Smith ND
Clinical Resident; Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine
Naturopathic Doctor; Backs in Action Wellness Center
2917 Hebb Avenue
Vancouver, BC, V5N 5K4