Food as Medicine: Sprouting with Spring
By Dr Carla Brion; Chinese Medicine | Acupuncturist
HELLO SPRING, the element of Wood. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, spring is the season for new birth and growth. The wood element is the colour of green. It dominates the liver function of processing, detoxification and storing blood as well as the Gall Bladder, assisting in smooth Qi (energy) flow. The energy of wood moves upwards and outwards like that of a flower in bloom and embodies the emotions of positivity and assertiveness. It’s a very empowering time to make big decisions and plan for a brighter future. With spring comes creativity, vision and perspective. However, wood energy out of balance can easily turn into anger and irritability and can manifest as digestive issues, PMS, migraines and feelings of being ‘stuck’.
Spring is the perfect time to clean your home, as well as detox your body using food as medicine. The wood element is about purification so during spring, it’s important to eat foods that strengthen and cleanse the liver. Wood foods are generally cooling (yin) in nature and encourage energy to collect and contract. Eat foods like broccoli, string beans, zucchini, and leafy greens, sprouts, parsley, melons, lemons and limes. Enjoy foods with sweet and pungent flavours, limiting sour and overly spicy and greasy foods that weaken the livers function. During the cold winter, we tend to stay indoors and eat too much which can cause excessive heat in our body come springtime. Cooling foods to clear excess this heat include bananas, pears, water chestnuts, celery and cucumber. Avoid dairy as it causes ‘dampness’ and makes digestion sluggish, causing further internal heat. Because your liver is working extra hard already this time of year, it’s best to limit toxins like caffeine, alcohol and tobacco. Springs positive energy may even help you let go of unhealthy addictions to stimulants. But don’t forget to live a little and express your feelings, as wood energy is the best time to flourish and grow.
Energising Spring Tips:
- Support that liver and bodily detoxification with a big glass of warm lemon water in the morning before you eat anything.
- Green tea, Peppermint tea and dandelion root tea are great for their liver cleansing actions so drink up regularly.
- Take your super-greens powder! Chlorophyll rich foods encourage liver activity and support your wood element within.
- Get outdoors and ground yourself in nature. Walk bare foot in a park or sink your feet into some cool beach sand.
- Get help! Try acupuncture to help with colds and flus and reduce the symptoms of sinusitis and hay fever. Traditional Chinese Herbal medicine can also help with allergies, excess mucus and inflammation.