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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

Read more

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.

 

 

Autumn Leaves

The Key to your Wei-Qi

The change of seasons, especially late summer into fall, can also mean the start of cold season. In Chinese medicine, there are 5 Elements. Each are related to a particular season: winter, spring, summer, late summer, and fall. The element associated with the fall is Metal. The two organs associated with this element are the large intestine and the lungs. The lungs help circulate the wei-qi, or defensive qi in our bodies. If the wei-qi is weak, the body’s defense system is down and you are more susceptible to colds and flu. Although we can control much of our everyday life, one thing we cannot control is the constant exposure to germs, bacteria and viruses. Our best defense is to keep our immune system strong enough so that when we encounter these germs we don’t get sick. Acupuncture is very effective at strengthening the body’s immune system. If our lung qi is weak, then our wei-qi is also weak and it can’t circulate properly. By strengthening our lung qi and keeping our energy balanced, we can strengthen our body’s natural resistance to disease.

Herbs can also be very effective in prevention or decreasing the duration of an illness. A common Chinese formula used to build up the body’s natural defenses is called Jade Windscreen, or Yu Ping Feng San. It is a classic formula that dates back over 800 years and it most widely known to treat for the prevention of colds and allergies. It is safe for both adults and children. If a cold or flu is already present in the body, other herbal formulas would be prescribed.

 

SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  1. Drink plenty of water
  2. Get an adequate amount of sleep (7-8 hours a night is sufficient)
  3. Exercise regularly (aerobic activity a few times a week and muscle strengthening at least twice a week is recommended)
  4. Avoid refined sugars (it taxes and weakens the body’s immune system)
  5. Foods: sweet potatoes, pears, and nuts are foods that strengthen and tonify lung energy. The flavor associated with the fall is pungent. Examples of some pungent foods are: peppers, chilies, onions, mustard, ginger, and garlic.