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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

Love is in the Air Balloons

Heart-Qi: Love and Health are in the Air

Today is Valentine’s Day and love is in the air! Whether you plan to acknowledge someone special with a box of chocolates, a dozen roses, or a stuffed pink teddy bear, don’t forget to lavish a little extra attention on your Heart-Qi! It’s easy to get swept up in the range of emotions surrounding romantic love, but protecting our hearts involves more than just protecting our feelings. We also need to protect the connection between our emotional state and our Qi.

The Heart-Qi Connection

Healthy Heart-Qi: Love is in the Air Balloons

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has long recognized that physical health and emotional well-being are closely connected. This connection is based on Qi, which can be defined as both “life force energy” and “air/breath”. The energy (Qi) of the emotions you experience fall into seven distinct categories and correspond with one or more major organs (heart, liver, lung, spleen, and kidney).

An emotional imbalance might express itself as a physical ailment, or a physical ailment (linked to a specific organ) might express itself as a heightened or intense emotion. Keep in mind that the heart oversees all of the emotions. Any Qi imbalance within the organs of the body will ultimately affect the heart.

The Key Emotions of TCM

  • Joy (a negative state of agitation) affects the heart and may cause palpitations, spontaneous sweating, mood swings, and insomnia.
  • Anger affects the liver and may cause dizziness, migraines, high blood pressure, and depression.
  • Grief (sadness) affects the lungs and may cause chest tightness, asthma, and allergies.
  • Pensiveness (worry) affects the spleen and may cause loss of appetite, fatigue, and bleeding disorders.
  • Fear affects the kidneys and may cause night sweats, incontinence, and infertility.
  • Shock and fright can affect both the heart and kidneys and may cause headaches, constipation, and shoulder pain.

Preventing Emotional Turbulence

Strengthening the Heart-Qi makes it easier to resolve other Qi deficiencies that may be present in the body. If you are dealing with chronic physical ailments or you feel mentally and emotionally out of sorts, practicing self-care is a great place to start. Be mindful of what you eat. Exercise regularly. Get a good night’s sleep. Visit with cherished friends and loved ones.

And remember to schedule an acupuncture treatment! Detoxifying with acupuncture and herbal supplements can help relieve the physical and/or mental disharmony you may be experiencing. We’ll help you come up with a flight plan to maintain and support a healthy Heart-Qi!

Resources:

http://www.shen-nong.com/eng/principles/sevenemotions.html

https://www.verywellmind.com/emotions-in-traditional-chinese-medicine-88196

https://holosapiens.com/physiology/deficiency-of-heart-energy

https://www.sakara.com/blogs/mag/116573893-the-root-of-emotional-imbalance-according-to-your-organs

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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.