This month is a perfect time to change your routine and pick up a handful of nuts instead of the usual bag of chips, and celebrate Heart Health month.
Nuts are an awesome snack that frequently get passed over for a bag of chips or some other type of junk food. I remember growing up and going to my grandmother’s house, where there was always a bowl of fresh assorted nuts (in shell) and a nutcracker next to the bowl on the table. Not only were the nuts delicious, but it was fun getting them open.
Nowadays, nuts fall under the banner of trendy food that gets buzzed from time to time on one of the many social media channels, but many people still tend to ignore this classic healthy snack that’s nutrient dense with healthy fats, fiber, polysterols, vitamin E, and L-arginine[i].
Many studies have concluded that increased nut consumption is associated with lower cardiovascular risk factors[ii] and lower mortality rates[iii]. In fact, specific types of nuts may be better than others when it comes to lowering cardiovascular and coronary heart disease, as one recent study by Guasch-Ferré M, et al. suggests. In their research they concluded that cardiovascular disease could be reduced by 13% - 19% and the risk of coronary heart disease could be diminished as much as 15% - 23% by consuming peanuts and tree nuts (2 or more times/week) and walnuts (1 or more times/week).[iv]
Why nuts you ask?
Nuts happen to be in the category of super-foods. Mostly known for their protein, but they also have a lot of heart healthy nutrients that can assist in heart health and possibly aid in lowering cholesterol.
Here are two nutrients found in nuts that are clearly supported by research in lowering cardiovascular disease:
Essential fatty acids Nuts are a superb source of “healthy fat” from monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), which include Omega 7 and 9. Research has shown MUFAS to be associated with weight loss[v],[vi], lowering total and LDL cholesterol, as well as, influencing insulin levels. The nuts with the highest levels of MUFAS are Hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans and pistachios. Most nuts also contain n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), which are also considered healthy fats in extreme moderation. PUFAs also have a positive effect on decreasing LDL and triglycerides.
Dietary fiber Increased amounts of dietary fiber has been related to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease[vii],[viii], but these studies did not include fiber from nuts. Aside from the lack of specific studies including nut sources of dietary fiber, nuts are still a great source of this necessary nutrient, which make them a healthy bet.
Nuts are an incredible snack, jam packed with healthy nutrients that fill you up and provide cardioprotective benefits, mainly in the form of cholesterol lowering properties. Eaten in moderation nuts are an important addition to your diet so you can enjoy life longer!
Most women don’t realize that their #1 health threat is heart disease, which happens to be the leading cause of death for women in the United States. According to the centers for Disease Control (CDC), 610,000 people die from heart disease every year, of these, 289,758 are women. That means 1 in 4 women will succumb to heart disease this year.
This fact is often overshadowed by misleading media coverage and even some healthcare professionals that would have you believe that “heart disease” is a predominantly male disease, and women are not as susceptible as men, because they have higher estrogen levels, which protect them. Not a fact!
The truth comes in the form of research data that indicates both sexes are actually affected equally. Although, it’s most likely the case that more women than men are affected by heart disease because of the following: Symptoms are more subtle and often ignored in women, symptoms in women can differ from those of men, women are underrepresented in clinical trials, women usually have a later onset of the disease than men (as much as 7-10 years), and the fact that women slightly outnumber men (almost 2:1) in most states.
The good news is that heart disease is a preventable disease, and the first and most important step in disease prevention is always self-education. Hopefully, by the end of this article you will have the basic knowledge to identify symptoms of heart disease, especially those that are more gender specific, you will learn what factors put you at risk; and you will gain the knowledge to modify your lifestyle, in order to help prevent heart disease from happening to you.
As mentioned above, the symptoms for women differ slightly from those of men and tend to be more subtle. Below, is a general list of symptoms, followed by the more subtle symptoms experienced by women.
General Signs & Symptoms of heart disease for both men and women:
Gender Specific Symptoms Often Ignored by Women:
And of course . . . make sure you continue with your maintenance
visits with your acupuncturist.
This week is International Infection Prevention Week. So we at Healing Lotus Acupuncture would like to remind everyone (health care providers, patients, parents, kids and the general public), of the extreme importance of washing your hands with soap and water to prevent the spread of disease.
Germs (viruses, bacteria, fungus) can easily be spread by not washing your hands correctly. These germs can promote the spread of gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses like:
Below is a great video I use to educate kids on how germs are spread.
When to Wash your Hands
Different situations where people can pick up "germs" include:
Proper Hand Washing Technique
Please share this important public announcement with your family and friends.
Scott Stewart, MSAc., Dipl.Ac., LAc.
Healing Lotus Acupuncture
A small Virginia University study published in June examined the effects of tai chi on a small group of women at risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The randomized trial included 63 women participants between the ages of 35 and 50.
The intervention lasted 8 weeks and measured behavioral factors associated with CVD risk such as; fatigue, digestive symptoms, perceived stress, mindfulness, spiritual thoughts & behaviors, and self-compassion. Biological measures included: lipids, C-reactive protein, inflammatory markers, fasting glucose and insulin.
At the end of the study it was found that tai chi decreases fatigue and after a two month follow-up, it was found that there was a significant decrease in inflammatory markers associated with CVD, as well as, increases in spiritual thoughts & behaviors, mindfulness and self-compassion.[i]
Even though this study was small, showed an age bias and had an ineffective control, it adds to an already growing number of studies showing the many benefits of tai chi, which are not limited to: increasing lower & upper body muscle strength[ii], improving balance and stability[iii], decreasing the fear of falling[iv] & decreasing falls in older patients[v], decreasing pain[vi], and improving the quality of life in chronically ill patients[vii].
Regardless of what the studies say, tai chi has been around for thousands of years, there’s a reason for this - it’s beneficial to one’s physical & mental health. Tai chi should be combined with other positive lifestyle choices like, eating healthy, exercising, yoga, meditation, etc., etc., in order to improve your health and prevent disease.
This is a great little formula that combines Chinese herbs with a Western Botanical to manage a commonly experienced symptom among women who are going through that uncomfortable time of transition, known as peri-menopause / menopause.
Some of the symptoms associated with menopause are:
In Chinese medicine, this naturally occurring transformation represents a relative change between Yin and Yang energies. In the majority of cases, as a woman enters into menopause the Yang energy becomes more predominate (most common presentation), and signs of heat become more prevalent.
Other factors which determine the severity of menopausal symptoms depends on the woman’s constitution, her lifestyle, and how she deals with stress. The good thing is, that all these symptoms can be easily managed through herbs, acupuncture and lifestyle changes.
Meta-Balance contains 3 well-known and well-researched herbs that have a long history of use in Chinese gynecology, plus an additional Western Botanical used for over a century in Europe for reproductive and gynecology conditions.
1. Dang Gui is sweet, acrid, bitter and warm. Therapeutically, Dang Gui is best known for being a blood tonic that can move blood by improving circulation. It also regulates the menses, alleviates pain, reduces swellings, and for those who suffer from constipation, Dang Gui moves the bowels and moistens the intestines.
2. Shan Yao, also known as Chinese wild yam, is sweet and neutral. Its therapeutic actions focus mainly on tonifying and stabilizing the Qi & Yin of the Spleen, Stomach, Lungs and Kidneys. It also helps generate fluids (moisten dryness), which is great for women going through these symptoms, because heat usually drys up the fluids in the body.
3. Sheng Ma, also known as black cohosh, is sweet, acrid and slightly cold. Its therapeutic actions include: releasing the exterior & venting rashes, clears heat & resolves toxicity and raises Yang.
This herb’s ability to clear heat and vent it through the exterior of the body makes it very useful for hot flashes and night sweats. Also, it helps regulate the body temperature by balancing the neuroendocrine system (raises Yang).
4. Chaste Tree Berry, which has been approved by the German Commission E, has a long history of use throughout Europe for gynecological and reproductive conditions such as, PMS, migraines and menstrual irregularities.
Chaste tree berry is very similar to the Chinese herb Man jing Zi, which is bitter, spicy and cool. Its therapeutic actions include: Clearing heat and dispersing wind, especially in the Liver channel, and draining dampness.
This formula also contains a phyto - chemical called heperidin, which is a bioflavinoid found in large amounts in citrus fruits. Hesperidin is primarily used to strengthen capillaries. *It is also known to stabilize vasomotor activity associated with menopausal hot flashes.*
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In a small randomized Controlled clinical trial, 50 patients who had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knee were randomized into an acupuncture group and a physiotherapy group. The acupuncture group received electroacupuncture once every other day for 4 weeks, while the physiotherapy group received treatment 5 times per week for 4 weeks.
Physicians found that the acupuncture group had significantly lower pain, stiffness and physical function scores than the physiotherapy group by the end of the trial, as well as, compared to the acupuncture group’s baseline.
Imaging of the patient’s knees taken before and after the trial showed that electroacupuncture was able to promote cartilage repair, whereas physiotherapy did not.
Millions of people in America suffer from hypothyroidism and don’t even know it, because their doctor has missed the diagnosis as a result of not ordering the correct lab work. The majority of physicians opt to follow a subminimal protocol when ordering labs, and in the case of the thyroid, this only includes looking at thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which is a hormone produced in the pituitary.
Unfortunately, this is not enough to make a diagnosis of hypothyroid, because a patient’s TSH can be in the normal range in hypothyroid cases that involve under conversion of T4 (thyroxine) into the bioactive thyroid hormone T3 (triiodothyronine); the majority of which is metabolized in periphery.
What exactly is conversion?
The thyroid gland itself produces very little T4 and T3, in fact, 90% of what the thyroid releases is in the form of T4, which is converted into T3 (10xs more potent than T4) in peripheral tissues like the liver, kidneys, heart, brain, etc. This means that about 80% of the active thyroid hormone (T3) is produced outside the thyroid gland itself, with most of this taking place in the liver. When certain enzymes (iodine, tyrosine, glutathione, selenium, zinc, etc.) act on T4 it’s converted into bioactive T3, which is then pushed onto the receptor by vitamin D; of which many Americans are deficient.
What does thyroid hormone do?
What are some of the main causes of under conversion?
In my experience, under conversion in the American population is caused by a combination of factors that stem from the American lifestyle and the Standard American Diet (SAD diet). Contributing factors include:
Why Free T4 and Free T3 have to be tested?
Total T4 and Total T3 are not accurate indicators of how much of the hormone is availablefor the body to use, because they are bound to protein in the blood.
In contrast, Free T4 and Free T3 are not bound to any proteins, and therefore can be utilized by the body.
What should be tested and what are the optimal health ranges?
The only way to make an accurate assessment is to order a complete thyroid panel, which includes not only TSH, but also Free T4 and Free T3; all of which must be tested together, NOT SEPARATELY, since they are all relative to one another and can fluctuate due to certain variables.
For patients who have a history of autoimmune symptoms it is strongly recommended to also test for antibodies:
Take your health into your own hands! Go to DirectLabs.com and order THE CORRECT tests for thyroid, as part of a general check-up, or to monitor existing thyroid disorders.
The thyroid panel is on sale this month for $99, you still have 5 days left to take advantage of this great offer! Direct Labs uses Quest Diagnostics on Jersey Ridge Road in Bettendorf, Iowa.
If you need test results interpreted, please set up an appointment to evaluate this particular test ($25). This can be done by email or video conference.
Posted by: Scott Stewart, MSAc., Dipl.Ac., LAc.
In a pragmatic randomized controlled trial, Australian researchers recruited women between the ages of 18-44 who had been unsuccessful in their attempts to conceive over the previous 12 months.
56 sub-fertile women were randomly placed into two groups: acupuncture and lifestyle modification and a lifestyle modification only control group.
The first group received acupuncture and additional modalities such as, Teding Diancibo Pu (TDP) infra-red lamp and smokeless moxibustion over a 3 month period.
Results were compiled using questionnaires, and self-reported data collected from the study participants. The final outcome showed that the average time to conception for the women receiving acupuncture was 5.5 weeks compared to 10.67 weeks in the lifestyle only group. The women in the acupuncture group also had an increase in fertility awareness and wellbeing compared to the control group.
Posted by: Scott Stewart, MSAc., LAc., Dipl.Ac.
Don’t be one of those stubborn people who decide to wait and see if their cold or flu symptoms go away after a day or two, because most likely they won’t.
As soon as you feel any symptoms, that’s your cue to come in to the clinic and get an acupuncture treatment and an herbal formula designed specifically for colds and flu symptoms.
What does acupuncture do?
7 easy habits to prevent colds & flu
1. Wash your hands regularly – Always use soap and water to reduce surface germs on the hands. Also, don’t rub your eyes or pick your nose, these habits introduce pathogens into the system.
2. Eat healthy – Stay away from the standard American diet (SAD Diet). Eat organic whole foods, lots of vegetables (6 servings / day) and fruit (3 servings / day). Avoid high fructose corn syrup, processed foods, sugary foods, and try to eat your last meal before 6pm.
3. Stay hydrated – Our bodies need water to moisten tissues and to keep electrolytes in balance.
4. Exercise - Regular exercise improves the immune system and improves circulation.
Get plenty of quality sleep.
5. Keep stress levels low - Make sure you have healthy ways to manage stress when it occurs.
6. Get acupuncture treatments as a preventative measure to maintain your health. Every month or every other month is strongly recommended.
7. Supplement with Herbs - Talk to your acupuncturist about herbal formulas to give your immune system an extra boost prior to cold & flu season. It makes all the difference in the world!
What to take?
Two great formulas to have in your medicine cabinet for the cold & flu season are: Loncera Complex and Respitrol (Cold). The instant you start feeling any symptoms is when you want to start taking the formula, which will push the invading pathogen out of your body and prevent it from going deeper into your system and making you sicker over time. The deeper the pathogen goes, the longer it takes to recover.
Lonicera Complex is based on an ancient herbal formula that has been used for centuries for external invasion of wind-heat type colds with the following symptoms: high fever, sweating, slight aversion to wind, aversion to heat, sore throat, thick - yellow nasal discharge, cough with thick - yellow phlegm, dry mouth, thirst, thin – yellow tongue coat, and rapid floating pulse.
This formula has the following actions:
Respitrol (Cold) is a special combination of herbs used in cases of external invasion of wind – cold, which produces such symptoms as: aversion to cold, absence of sweating, absence of fever or a low – grade fever, nasal congestion, sneezing with clear nasal discharge, cough with thin – white / clear phlegm, thin – white tongue coat, and a floating – tense pulse.
This formula has the following actions:
Both of these formulas are available in our clinic, as well as, herbal formulas and pharmaceutical grade supplements that boost the immune system.
Give us a call to set – up an appointment at: (309) 764.4753.
Stop by and visit our clinic store at:
Healing Lotus Acupuncture
(inside Moline Chiropractic Clinic)
4300 12th Ave
Shoulder pain caused by rotator cuff injuries can be very painful and cause restricted movement; making daily tasks almost impossible. The usual cause of this type of shoulder pain is an impingement of the tendons or bursa, which are being pinched by the bones of the shoulder. If left untreated, this can cause inflammation of the aforementioned structures (tendinitis or bursitis).
In April of this year, a group of Spanish researchers published the results of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) that investigated the effects of acupuncture on pain caused by shoulder impingement.
Study participants were placed into two groups, one received verum (true) acupuncture, and the other group received sham acupuncture. Treatments were given once a week for 4 weeks, and pain levels were recorded after every treatment, and at a 3 month follow-up.
Researchers concluded that true acupuncture provided clinically significant results for reducing shoulder pain and for increasing shoulder functioning compared to sham acupuncture; and they recommended acupuncture as a safe and reliable treatment for shoulder impingement.