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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!
Posted by: Scott Stewart, MSAc., Dipl., Ac., LAc.
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.
Posted by: Scott Stewart, MSAc., Dipl.Ac., LAc.
Spice up this Easter with Chinese tea eggs!
Meet Chinese fast food. These hardboiled eggs are flavored with tea & spices making them a tasty and portable snack..
Eggs are one of the best super-foods around and that's why this snack gets an A+ for being nutritious!
Great for breakfast or a snack - to - go!
Tea Egg Recipe #1
Rinse the eggs with water and place them in a pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the flame and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place them in a strainer. Run cold water over them and set on the counter until room temperature. Using the back of a spoon, gently tap the outer shell of the eggs, creating uniform cracks around the entire egg, but don’t remove shells. Return the eggs to the pot with the water and add the remaining ingredients. Bring the liquid to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes; stirring occasionally. For a stronger, richer taste, soak the eggs for 4 to 10 hours, and then serve. Left – over eggs may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 -3 days.
Tea Egg Recipe #2
Place eggs in a large pot, cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 8 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and soak in cold water for a couple of minutes. When cool, gently tap eggs with the back of a spoon to crack the shells, but do not remove the shells.
In a large pot, combine tea leaves, salt, sugar, Sichuan pepper, star anise, tangerine peel, cinnamon powder, cooking wine and cumin with water and egg. (about 4-5 cups of water, enough to cover all the eggs). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Remove from heat and let them steep overnight or longer.
*Tips: Before combining the tea leaves with the spice liquid, soak them in warm water for 15 minutes, drain and remove. This can remove the bitter taste.
WESTERN THERAPEUTIC ACTIONS
CHINESE THERAPEUTIC ACTIONS
Magnolia Clear Sinus is formulated to treat allergies, sinusitis or rhinitis due to wind-cold and fluid congestion. Clinically, patients will have a stuffy nose, clear watery discharge, sneezing, loss of smell and headache.
Xin Yi Hua (Flos Magnoliae) unblocks nasal congestion and treats loss of smell with its pungent, dispersing and warming properties.
Cang Er Zi (Fructus Xanthii) helps Xin Yi Hua (Flos Magnoliae) to relieve allergy symptoms of sneezing, white watery nasal discharge, and/or nasal obstruction.
Bai Zhi (Radix Angelicae Dahuricae), Gao Ben (Rhizoma Ligustici), and Chuan Xiong (Rhizoma Ligustici Chuanxiong) are used to alleviate sinus pain and headache.
Gan Jiang (Rhizoma Zingiberis) warms the interior, transforms congested fluids and dispels nasal congestion.
Jing Jie (Herba Schizonepetae) and Fang Feng (Radix Saposhnikoviae) expel lingering pathogenic factors and prevent allergies from turning into a cold or triggering an asthma attack. With its ascending property,
Sheng Ma (Rhizoma Cimicifugae) is used as a guiding herb.
Che Qian Cao (Herba Plantaginis) drains nasal obstruction and postnasal drip caused by dampness and water congestion through diuresis.
Zhi Shi (Fructus Aurantii Immaturus) unblocks sinus congestion by regulating qi, while
Jie Geng (Radix Platycodonis) dispels phlegm, expands the chest, and relieves constipation.
To counter-balance the strong dispersing property of this formula, a small amount of Wu Wei Zi (Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis) is added to prevent the leakage of Lung qi.
Lu Cha (Folium Camellia Sinensis) is used to relieve sinus headaches commonly associated with sinus congestion. Lastly,
Gan Cao (Radix Glycyrrhizae) harmonizes the formula.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Approach
Rhinitis and sinusitis are effectively treated with herbs that drain the sinus cavity, reduce nasal mucous secretions, and desensitize allergenic reactions. These herbs may be given before, during, and after episodes of sinusitis and rhinitis. These herbs are very effective, and do not have the stimulating side effects that drugs have.
In addition to using drugs or herbs to treat rhinitis and sinusitis, it is also important to identify the cause, especially in individuals with allergic rhinitis and sinusitis. Whenever possible, avoid or minimize exposure to these allergens. It is important to remember that drugs and herbs do not cure allergy, they are only effective as preventative and symptomatic treatments.
On sale until the end of April!
(while supplies last)
Posted by: Scott Stewart, MSAc., Dipl.Ac., LAc.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the uterus is called zi bao and is located in the lower dantian (lower abdomen) between the urinary bladder and the anus; and between the acupoints Ren 4 and Ren 6, which are 1 hand-breadth below the umbilicus and 3cm below the umbilicus respectively. In TCM, the uterus incorporates all the woman’s reproductive parts including the Fallopian tubes and ovaries.
The Chinese character for zi bao is made-up of two separate characters. The character on the left is zi, which represents flesh and muscle or connective tissue. On the right we have the image bao that represents the concept of wrapping, in terms of a container, bag or sack; something that can wrap around an embryo so that it is protected and contained within the mother’s womb.
The Uterus as an Extraordinary Organ
retaining, storing, binding and condensing Qi and later letting it rise as a mist to form clouds in the heavens.
In keeping with this metaphor, the body’s tissues are nourished by the same processes, which are performed on Qi, Blood, Jing, Shen, Marrow and Body Fluids by the 6 Extraordinary Organs.
Why is the Uterus extra special
The uterus is extra special, because it functions both as a Yin and a Yang organ. To clarify, Yang organs (fu: Urinary Bladder, Stomach, Lg. and Sm. Intestines, Gallbladder and San Jiao) perform the task of receiving, transforming and transporting substances. Yin organs (zang: Lungs, Liver, Spleen, Heart and Kidneys) store and reserve substances.
In the case of the uterus, its Yin functions consist of storing blood and the embryo / fetus, while its Yang activity includes discharging blood during menstruation and the baby at childbirth.
Physiological functions of the Uterus
Stay tuned for our next installment, which will cover the relationship between the uterus & heart and the uterus & the Kidneys.
When Evidence Says No, but Doctors Say Yes
Long after research contradicts common medical practices, patients continue to demand them and physicians continue to deliver. The result is an epidemic of unnecessary and unhelpful treatments.
Over the last 10+ years I have lectured (long rants) patients, friends, family and colleagues about the fraudulent practices of Western medicine, and continuously provided evidence that disputes the ignorant and bias articles that claim acupuncture as quackery, when in fact, the evidence clearly shows that conventional medicine follows a clear path contradictory to evidence-based medicine; and is much truer to the definition of quackery than acupuncture ever will be.
Kudos to David Epstein for this excellent article that highlights many of the unethical practices normalized by Western medicine, such as unnecessary procedures and the use of drugs not supported by research, etc., etc.
A must read!
Be sure to check-out the new website we're sponsoring called, VitaHoola. The purpose of this site is to provide consumers with the latest evidence-based research on supplements, in addition to useful information on healthy living. It is our goal to increase consumer awareness, which we believe will lead to healthier choices.
We hope you enjoy it and find the information useful. Don't be shy . . . let us know what you think or if there is something you want to learn more about.
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin (FSV), and should be taken with a meal that contains a small amount of dietary fat, because it attaches to the fat molecules, which transport it through the body.
Research shows that vitamin D is better absorbed when taken with the evening meal, which tends to be the largest and fattiest meal of the day. This same study also concluded that serum levels of vitamin D (25(OH)D) were increased by as much as 50% when supplemented in this fashion.[i]
The absorption of vitamin D can be inhibited by other FSV, because they use the same metabolic pathways and compete for the same fat molecules[ii]; so it is best to separate dosages by several hours.