I could write a thousand posts on the liver. Being the largest internal organ in the human body, it’s health and efficiency is not only essential to our well-being and survival, but plays an important role in the Energetic body. Some cultures even attach an emotional significance to the liver, much the same way that we in the West attach emotional significance to the heart. Since the art and science of Yoga teaches that the Physical and Energetic bodies reflect each other, when we heal the organs, we promote healthy energy flow.
The liver does many amazing things. It manufactures blood proteins that aid in clotting, oxygen transport, and immune system function. It makes bile, a substance needed to help digest food. It helps the body store sugar (glucose) in the form of glycogen, and your brain needs this sugar in order to function properly. It filters the body of harmful substances in the bloodstream, including drugs and alcohol. Plus the liver helps breaks down saturated fat.
As a ‘filter’ organ it can often become clogged and toxic as the buildup of alcohol, over-the-counter medications, and processed food additives begins to take its toll – and this is only a small cross section of the materials that your liver processes over your lifetime. Cleansing the liver with Kriya and maintaining a healthy diet is one way to ensure that your liver remains healthy, and of course your yoga practice can help stimulate its function and facilitate bile production and healthy circulation of blood to the organ.
Did you know…
Kale and beets are two readily available vegetables that not only stimulate healthy bile production, but also help protect the liver cells from future damage.
Milk Thistle is a readily available herb that can help strengthen the liver and repair damaged liver cells. It is often given to patients suffering from cirrhosis of the liver and Hepatitis.
Yoga Asanas that involve deep twists and abdominal squeezes can help increase healthy blood flow to the organs and promote healthy liver function.
Ask your yoga teacher about postures and Kriya that help the liver and incorporate them into your practice as often as you can, especially when taking antibiotics, during times of the year when you consume more rich food and alcohol, like holidays, or when recovering from illness.
In the meantime, please enjoy this recipe for a healthy liver-cleansing soup that I like to make when I need a boost:
Beet Soup Recipe for a Healthy Liver
1.) Toast about 1/2 teaspoon each of fennel seeds, caraway seeds, and cumin seeds in the bottom of a saucepan.
2.) Add 2 medium-sized chopped beets and enough water to generously cover. Add one clove of crushed garlic, and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.
3.) optional – for depth of flavor, you can use vegetable broth instead of water. Add a pinch of salt and pepper if using water only.
4.) simmer all ingredients together until beets are cooked through. Blend to a smooth texture in a blender or with a hand blender. Set aside while very hot.
In a separate, shallow, hot pan, add:
1.) a large handful of chopped kale, spinach, and/or beet greens
2.) add one more clove of crushed garlic and (optional) a small chopped chili.
3.) add 1/4 cup of hot stock or water and cover while the greens steam and sizzle away for 5 minutes.
Add steamed and flavored greens on top of a bowl of your beet soup base, add a dollup of plain thick greek yogurt for added richness. Avoid any dairy and added salt if you are on a strict cleanse. Enjoy!