Antiviral Foods to the Rescue

Antiviral FoodsWe all know that a balanced diet, exercise, and getting a good night’s sleep are crucial for maintaining health. If you are looking for additional ways to boost your immunity, your kitchen cupboards and your pantry are a great place to start!

Most of us likely have access to a variety of antiviral foods that can easily be incorporated into everyday snacks and meals—some of them can even be brewed as a tea. These foods not only help fight off existing illness, they also support and protect healthy cells so that your body is better able to defend itself against infections from the get-go.

Let’s see what items you might already have on hand and how they can prepare your body to overpower a viral attack.

 

Coconut Oil (Extra-Virgin, unrefined)Contains medium-chain fatty acids with the ability to destroy microorganisms; helps dissolve the outer lipid (fatty) membranes of a virus
ElderberryStimulates the immune system; hinders ability of a virus to replicate and attack healthy host cells; helps reduce upper respiratory symptoms caused by viral infections
Garlic (raw)Contains powerful antiviral compounds (allicin, diallyl trisulfide, and ajoene) which can destroy microorganisms; stimulates the immune system; hinders growth of viruses such as influenza, herpes, and HIV
Ginger (fresh)Contains gingerols, shogaols, and zinerones, which can prevent viruses from attacking healthy host cells and hinder viral replication; strengthens cells in the respiratory tract and combats respiratory viruses
Green Tea (Matcha)Contains a variety of antioxidants (flavonoids, catechins, and polyphenols) which can help combat viruses such as influenza, herpes, and HIV; boosts the immunity of healthy cells
LemonHinders the growth of harmful bacteria and viruses by affecting their ability to replicate
Mushrooms (shiitake, maitake, reishi) Contains beta-glucans (sugar-like molecules) that strengthen the immune system and hinder ability of a virus to replicate and attack healthy host cells
Oregano (fresh or liquid oil) Contains the antiviral compounds carvacrol and thymol, which can slow down a virus and help eliminate it from the body
SpirulinaContains the protein cyanovirin-N, which hinders ability of a virus to replicate and attack healthy host cells
Turmeric Strengthens healthy cells; hinders ability of a virus to replicate and attack healthy host cells
Yogurt (with live cultures) Floods gut microbiome with “good” bacteria to help combat growth of viral infections; relieves influenza symptoms

Other foods known for their antiviral properties:

  • Basil
  • Black walnuts
  • Blueberries
  • Fennel
  • Olive leaf
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Star Anise

Salads and Smoothies and Stew—Oh my!

The prevalence of antiviral ingredients at home makes it easy to boost your immunity by making simple changes to your daily menu. Many antiviral foods can be used as sandwich or salad toppings, or they can be added to soups, stews, casseroles, and smoothies. If any of the foods listed above are not yet part of your regular cooking repertoire (or supplement regimen), you might enjoy experimenting with some new recipes or jazzing up some old favorites!

Resources:

More suggestions for adding antiviral and immune-boosting foods to your diet

Try this recipe for making your own elderberry syrup

Brew a cup of ginger tea

Tea and Brain Health Benefits

Tea and Brain Health Benefits

Today is National Hot Tea Day, and there are lots of reasons to celebrate! You may already be familiar with the many health benefits associated with tea consumption. Tea provides valuable antioxidants and is known for treating insomnia and digestive issues, as well as reducing stress. Research also suggests that tea may help lower blood pressure, prevent bone loss, and boost the immune system.

Now we have another reason to celebrate National Hot Tea Day: drinking oolong, black, or green tea can improve our cognitive function!

Results from a recent study performed at the National University of Singapore (in conjunction with the University of Essex and University of Cambridge) indicate that “drinking tea regularly has a protective effect against age-related decline in brain organisation”.

In order to better understand the positive influence of tea consumption on brain health, the research team at NUS suggests we think of it this way:

“Take the analogy of road traffic as an example–consider brain regions as destinations, while the connections between brain regions are roads. When a road system is better organised, the movement of vehicles and passengers is more efficient and uses less resources. Similarly, when the connections between brain regions are more structured, information processing can be performed more efficiently…”

Whether you are already a tea-enthusiast or someone who has just started to navigate the world of tea and you want to explore its many health benefits, this is great news! Let’s all grab one more cup for the road!

Resources

http://www.teausa.com/14521/brewing-tea

https://worldteanews.com/

Winter Solstice DhongZhi

Xi Gua

Xi Gua, Fructus Citrulli, Watermelon

This well-known and beloved fruit known by many names has been consumed by millions of people across the globe for centuries. Archeologists have discovered that the first documented watermelon harvest was in Ancient Egypt over 5,000 years ago!

You are probably aware of the cultural significance of watermelon, especially living in America. However, you may be unaware of the actual, proven health benefits that come from this refreshing treat.

Xi Gua

Known in Mandarin as Xi Gua, this fruit has a long history with Traditional Chinese Medicine. In TCM, the fruit, rind, and seeds are all used to benefit patients suffering from a variety of issues. It effects the spleen and stomach meridians.

In China, the rinds are cooked or pickled and consumed as a tasty treat!

Hydrating Properties

This time of year it is especially important to make sure you are staying hydrated. The most notable of these benefits may be the hydrating properties of watermelon. In fact, the high water content of this fruit (about 92%) makes it known as a great option for staying cool in hot summer heat!

Full of nutrients and water, eating this fruit is a great way to remain hydrated and feel full without actually consuming a large volume of food. This makes it ideal for draining summer activities.

What about the seeds?

The seeds are often ground up and taken in combination with other herbs. These seeds are known to work as a diarrhetic, and may even help soothe Urinary Tract Infections. Watermelon is a pretty amazing fruit!

Likewise, who doesn’t love a good watermelon seed spitting contest?

More!

As if that wasn’t impressive enough, there is evidence to suggest that this magical fruit may even help prevent cancer and heart disease!

Watermelon makes you beautiful! In other words, due to it’s hydrating and nutritious properties, watermelon is great for skin and hair. Who doesn’t want that extra shine?

A few more of the many benefits linked to this wonder fruit are inflammation, muscle soreness, and digestion help.

Hungry yet?

In conclusion, check out the links down below for some more in-depth information, then go to your local market and pick up a watermelon!

Here you can find more tips regarding Taking Care of your Body during the hot summer months.

Resources

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4296437/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/watermelon-health-benefits#section9

https://www.acupuncturetoday.com/herbcentral/watermelon.php

Acupuncture for Allergies

Spring means warm weather, blooming flowers, and outdoor activities for most people. For those suffering from allergies, it means the return of familiar but unwelcome symptoms such as itchy eyes, runny nose, sinus congestion and coughing.

Acupuncture is very effective in treating allergy symptoms and will also help boost your immune system. Chinese herbs can be taken in parallel to keep symptoms from re-occurring. Unlike antihistamines and other OTC medications for allergies-there are no side effects to Chinese herbs and your Acupuncturist will select an herb for your particular symptoms/constitution.

 

Here are a few home remedies to help you get through the season:

  1. Acupressure-the image below details where you should apply pressure along your sinuses. In most cases-stimulating the points yourself isn’t a direct substitute for receiving acupuncture treatment however applying pressure on the points below can delay the onset of your symptoms and minimize the severity of them as well.

 

  1. Use a Saline rinse/Neti-pot to irrigate your nasal cavity and clean out any mucus/debris
  2. Eliminate mucus producing foods from your diet such as dairy and sugar
  3. Take a daily tablespoon of locally produced honey
  4. Stay hydrated-drink plenty of water throughout the day

To learn more or to schedule an appointment, contact us at 919 621-3363 or at To The Point Acupuncture

Acupuncture for heart health

 

February is American heart health month. Traditionally, the month for lovers and all things heart related. We are reminded to take care of our heart. Heart Disease is still the leading cause of death worldwide. There are many areas of concern for heart health. For example, high blood pressure, stress, healthy diet/weight, and insomnia. Combining acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can help combat all of these!

 

High blood pressure:

Acupuncture has proven to be highly beneficial in helping to reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol. High Blood Pressure forces our heart to work harder and demand more oxygen. Acupuncture is able to counter act the heart working so hard by placing needles on specific points. For example, on the wrist, inside the forearm, or leg. This will reduce the demand for oxygen.

 

Stress and anxiety:

Acupuncture has proven to help with heart health by reducing stress and anxiety. We all encounter stress in our daily lives.  For instance, we might start to eat unhealthy, experience heart palpitations, exercise less, and tend not to sleep as well. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be used to help keep that stress at bay.

 

Insomnia:

Acupuncture can be used to treat insomnia, without the side effects of prescription medicines. There is evidence linking insomnia to hypertension and other cardiovascular events. Almost 75% of people who have heart failure report frequent insomnia. This one of the most common symptoms of heart failure. Acupuncture treats the entire body/mind and not just the symptoms. Your overall health will improve. In addiction to enjoying a restful nights sleep.

 

Above all, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is critical to a healthy heart. Eating healthy and regular exercise are often difficult to maintain with the busy lives we lead. Incorporating regular acupuncture sessions can build on the heart healthy actions you are already taking. If you have any questions or would like to discuss how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help keep you and your heart healthy and strong, please don’t hesitate to call To The Point Acupuncture, LLC.

 

 

Nourishing your body in the winter-A Chinese element perspective

According to Chinese medicine, the organ system associated with the winter is [highlight] [/highlight] the kidneys. Winter represents the most Yin aspect-it is dark, cold and slow in energy (as opposed to Yang-which is represented by summer whose energy is light, warm and quick.) In the winter time-the days are shorter, it is colder outside and we aren’t as active. The kidney is the source of our most basic and fundamental energy (or Qi) in the body so it is essential to nourish it. Ever wonder why you might feel more tired or get sick more often in the winter? Your kidney Qi is depleted. Acupuncture is a great way to support your Qi.

Food as Medicine. In the wintertime-try and focus on warming and nourishing foods such as soups and stews.  Your kidneys are reliant on quality animal protein like unprocessed meats or eggs to build blood and circulate that blood throughout all your extremities which will in turn keep your entire body warmer. Your kidneys will also appreciate lightly incorporating minerals like sea salt (non-iodized) into your diet this time of year. Foods that are specifically nourishing to the kidneys are: black beans, bone broths, lamb, chicken, walnuts, chestnuts, black sesame seeds and dark leafy greens.

Sip some tea. If you’ve been outdoors for a period of time to build a snowman, wait for the bus, or shovel the driveway, drinking a mug of warming herbal tea once you’re back indoors is a great way to warm the kidneys. Cinnamon, ginger, and citrus are nice teas your kidneys will appreciate. Offering your kidneys, the little extra love and support they need this time of year isn’t too tricky. After all, ‘tis the season.

 

CINNAMON WALNUT FLAX MUFFINS:
Prep Time: 10 minutes                                                        Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes                                                        Servings: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup ground flax meal
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil or any oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sweetener (maple sugar erythritol, coconut sugar)
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 cup walnuts chopped (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Mix ingredients together in a mixing bowl in the order they are listed. You can use an electric mixer if you’d like, but be sure to add in walnuts last, after using a mixer.
  3. Bake at 325°F for 18 to 22 minutes.

 

HOW TO MAKE BONE BROTH:

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds beef bones with marrow
  • 4 unpeeled carrots, chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, peel on, slices in half lengthwise and quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves, peel on and smashed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 5-6 sprigs parsley
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 18-20 cups cold water

Instructions   

  1. Place all ingredients in a 10 quart capacity crock-pot or large pan on the stove.
  2. Add in water.
  3. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce and simmer gently, skimming the fat that rises to the surface occasionally.
  4. Simmer for 24-48 hours.
  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  6. Discard solids and strain remainder in a bowl through a colander. Let stock cool to room temperature, cover and chill.
  7. Use within a week or freeze up to 3 months.

Bone broth has many health benefits. It is highly nutritious, protects the joints, help fight osteoarthritis, helps reduce inflammation and heal the gut, aid in sleep, and may support weight loss.

If you would like to learn more, please contact Jill Doan, Licensed Acupuncturist at To The Point Acupuncture, LLC. http://www.ttpacupuncture.com

The Impact That Holiday Eating Has on Your Body

Group of humans having Thanksgiving dinnerThe holiday season is a wonderful time where families and friends come together to celebrate each other. Arguably, one of the most important additions to these times is the various foods decorating the tabletops. It can be quite tempting to overindulge and overeat, in fact, it’s practically encouraged!

However, these carb-heavy and sugar-rich holiday meals have a long-lasting impact on our physical and mental well-being. As the owner of To The Point Acupuncture in Raleigh, NC, I’ve seen numerous patients suffering from the effects of holiday overindulgence well after the season has passed.

 

A few effects that holiday eating can have on our bodies, both physical and mental, are:

  • Weight Gain. Overeating can cause the body to go into alert mode, where chemicals involved in the metabolic and digestive processes work harder than necessary to get rid of the extra food. Unfortunately, this means that to work quickly the food will mostly be stored as fat, resulting in added pounds after the season.
  • Changes to Internal Chemistry. The overeating can also trigger internal changes to our body’s natural processes. The pancreas must work harder to create more insulin and remove excess glucose from the blood which will then cause feelings of fatigue and discomfort. That drop in blood sugar results in people craving and turning to more sugar and carb-filled foods to feel better. What a vicious cycle!
  • Mood Swings and Depression. The same foods that cause our physical bodies to react negatively, can also impact our mental health. Processed foods that are full of sugar and carbohydrates can cause us to experience symptoms of depression including fatigue, feelings of sadness, and irritability. The drastic changes in blood sugar levels are the culprit.

The good news is that you can restore hormonal balance, reduce cravings, and support digestion with both Chinese herbs and regular acupuncture treatments. I’ve seen many people regain their sense of control and rejuvenate their feelings of health despite over indulging during the holidays. If you’re interested in setting up an appointment to see how you can benefit from acupuncture and/or other forms of traditional Chinese medicine, contact me, Jill Doan, at To The Point Acupuncture.

6 Illnesses That Can Be Treated with Acupuncture

Woman undergoing acupuncture treatment with a line of fine needles inserted into the skin of her foreheadMany illnesses are so overwhelming that life seems unbearable with them. As the owner of To The Point Acupuncture in Raleigh, NC, I help my patients overcome a variety of illness with acupuncture.  Acupuncture is a great medicinal tool, but many people are too afraid to give it a try or are unaware of how many different medical conditions acupuncture can help. However, these individuals miss out on the positive impact acupuncture has to improve their lifestyle and well-being.

Commonly, people I meet believe that acupuncture can only treat pain related conditions such as arthritis or sciatica. This is a big misconception. Traditional Chinese Medicine, which includes acupuncture, is a complete medical system that can treat a variety of conditions.

A few common illnesses that I have treated with acupuncture include:

  • Sinus issues. A few of the sinus issues that acupuncture is known to improve include: sinusitis, dizziness, earaches, hay fever, allergies and more.

  • Circulatory Disorders. High blood pressure is a very common problem in many of the Raleigh business professionals I see. High blood pressure has been shown to improve with acupuncture.

  • Gastrointestinal Problems. Due to the unknown status of the food we all consume, many individuals suffer with diarrhea, nausea, bloating, and constipation. Some individuals suffer with more regular stomach issues that are treatable with acupuncture, such as: irritable bowel syndrome, spastic colon, colitis, and food allergies.

  • Gynecological Issues. 10.9% of all women in the United States are infertile. Acupuncture can help improve infertility issues as well as treat endometriosis and the related side effects, fibroids, premenstrual syndrome, and ovarian cysts.

  • Addictions. Regular visits to an acupuncturist can help individuals move past an addiction problem and help ease withdrawl symptoms. I have seen this first hand working in both detox clinics and in my own Raleigh office.

  • Emotional Disorders. Emotional disorders such as anxiety, insomnia, and depression can be debilitating in life, but acupuncture can improve these conditions.

Having been a Triangle acupuncturist for almost 10 years, I have seen how acupuncture can treat so many illnesses as well as improve individuals lives. There is no reason to let common ailments make life difficult or reduce one’s quality of life.

Many people have heard about acupuncture, but still don’t believe it can help them, and sometimes the fear of needles keeps them from giving it a try. If you have any reservations, please call me, Jill Doan, Licensed Acupuncturist, at To The Point Acupuncture to learn more about Chinese medicine and acupuncture and how it may be able to benefit you.