Nutrition can have a powerful effect on the liver and its ability to function properly. Often when discussing digestion and the liver the first thing that comes to mind is liver overacting on the spleen and stomach, impeding the digestive function and inhibiting the absorption of nutrients.
Often what we do not pay attention to is the digestion of food by the spleen and stomach and how that plays an important role in providing the liver enough nourishment in the form of qi that was derived from food. If the liver does not get enough nourishment or not the right type of nourishment imbalance and disharmony in the liver will occur. Likewise proper nutrition can help resolve existing imbalances.
Nutritionally it is important to find a balance between getting enough energy and not taking in anything that will over excite, as this will exhaust the liver energy as well as the energy of the spleen and stomach. It is important to avoid stimulants including nicotine and caffeine.
The emotion of anger is closely related to the liver, so alcohol is best in moderation or, for some, should be avoided completely. Some spicy and pungent food can be helpful in moderation as it can help to facilitate Qi movement, as stagnation of Qi is quite common with liver imbalances.
However, too much of this can just as easily be a hindrance. It is also important to eliminate foods that congest the liver like saturated fats, hydrogenated fats, excess amounts of nuts, and highly processed foods.
Eating habits can stagnate and congest the liver as well, so don’t skip meals, eat quickly, overeat, eat late, or eat when emotionally upset. Relax and enjoy the meal you prepared.