In TCM, the liver is not only responsible for food metabolism and detoxification, but also helps manage stress. Toxins that overload the liver generate heat, and can also lead to anger. With a diagnosis of liver fire, it is best to keep the liver cool by stir-frying or steaming food, in combination with eating small amounts of raw food, rather than roasting, baking, or deep-frying.
For liver fire, the ratio of food groups should be as follows:
40-60% lightly cooked vegetables, some raw
30% complex carbohydrates
Foods that Cool Liver Fire
Rice, millet, wheat, barley, oats
Celery, spinach, swiss chard, cucumber, lettuce, daikon radish, asparagus, eggplant, cabbage, tomato, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, alfalfa sprouts, mung bean sprouts, dandelion leaves, watercress, chrysanthemum, bamboo shoots, turnips, carrots, purslane, water chestnuts, spirulina, kelp, seaweed, peppermint
apples, pears, watermelon, plums
tofu, tempeh, soy milk, yogurt
crab, oysters, clams
Foods to Restrict or Avoid:
*highly processed food, oily and fatty food, artificial preservative and colourings
chilies, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, onions, shallots, leeks, cloves, wasabi
coffee, vinegar, mustard, horseradish, chocolate
lamb, large amounts of red meat, veal, shrimp, prawns
cheese, lard, margarine
Clinical Handbook of Internal Medicine, Vol. 2. MacLean & Lyttleton. University of Western Sydney: Australia. 2002.
Chinese Dietary Therapy. Liu, J. Churchill Livingston: Edinburgh.1995.
The Healing Cuisine of China. Zhao & Ellis. Healing Arts Press: Vermont. 1998
This factsheet is not intended to diagnose or assess. The information provided is meant to complement rather than substitute for a consultation with a qualified TCM practitioner.