How to Reduce Inflammation with Diet & Acupuncture

Last Monday I discussed turmeric and it’s anti-inflammatory properties. This week I would like to discuss in more depth why we should care about inflammation. Generally speaking, the root of most disease, aches & pains, etc is due to inflammation. Inflammation can manifest in a two ways; acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is the mechanism in which the body fights against things such as infections, injury, and toxins. Chronic inflammation is the result of the acute inflammation never “going away”. Additionally, chronic inflammation can be caused by other facts such as smoking, obesity, autoimmune disorder, alcohol, chronic stress, processed “American” diet, just to name a few. When your body is undergoing chronic stress, eventually your body can start to damage healthy cells, tissues, and organs. This ultimately could lead to DNA damage, tissue death, and internal scarring. More commonly understood examples would be:

-          Cancer

-          Heart disease

-          Rheumatoid arthritis

-          Diabetes

What can be done through diet, acupuncture, herbal medicine and supplementation to reduce chronic inflammation:

1)    Diet:

a.     Eat foods that are high in omega 3s such as, oily fish

b.     Consume leafy greens

c.     Certain fruits such as, blueberries, cherries, strawberries, etc

d.     Nuts especially english walnuts or pecans

2)    Supplements

a.     Turmeric supplement *

b.     Omega 3 fish oils*

* Both available at North Shore Acupuncture and Natural Medicine

3)    Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine

a.     Acupuncture successfully downregulates (or suppresses) a proinflammatory biochemical called TNFα. When in excess TNFα in the body can be thought of as a raging fire resulting in extreme inflammation. The suppression of TNFα through acupuncture results in an anti-inflammatory response. This anti-inflammatory effective improves the chronic build up of inflammation. Additionally, acupuncture works in a multifaceted approach to improve your quality of life. At North Shore Acupuncture and Natural Medicine our idea is to uncover the root of the problem to allow you to improve your life in many ways.

 

Stay tuned for our next blog on how antioxidants work and why your diet should contain more!

Turmeric: The Most Effective Nutritional Supplement

If you ever have eaten Indian cuisine, chances are you had dish that contains turmeric. Turmeric is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powerhouse which has many capabilities to benefit the body. Such benefits are; improvement in arthritic pain, assist in management of exercise-induced inflammation and muscle soreness, combat free radicals, boost brain-derived neurotrophic factor, lower risk for heart disease, prevent cancer, prevent Alzheimer’s disease, and to assist in delaying the aging process. The above benefits are due the compounds that turmeric contains called curcuminoids. Most importantly curcumin, which is a polyphenol.  Polyphenol can be thought of as powerful micronutrient with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefit. In order to receive maximal benefits from turmeric and curcumin, one needs to increase the bioavailability (maximum ability for the body to benefit) by adding piperline. Piperline is the major active ingredient in black pepper. By adding piperline to curcumin, the bioavailability is increased by 2000%.

Take home message:

Curcumin & piperline are antioxidant & anti-inflammatory powerhouses that can improve the quality of life both presently and as we age!

To get maximum benefit the supplement must contain both piperline and curcumin (Such as “Tumeric Response Joint” that we carry at North Shore Acupuncture and Natural Medicine)  

Stop by or give us a call today to find out if turmeric supplementation is best for your individualized health plan.

 

 

 

 

Magnesium in the Diet and When to Supplement: 

Typically when it comes to diet individuals are more concerned with Macronutrients, and usually overlook the micronutrients. While Macronutrients provide the human body with the caloric content, micronutrients essential elements necessary to orchestrate a range of physiological functions to maintain health. The two subsets of micronutrients are known as vitamins and minerals. These micronutrients can be further broken down into “Fat Soluble Vitamins”, “Water-Soluble Vitamins”, “Macrominerals” and “Trace Minerals” Today, I am going to focus on Magnesium, which is a Macromineral. The term Macromineral means that it’s abundantly available in the body, thus necessary for normal processes within the body. 


Magnesium is a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation (1-3) Unfortunately, many dietary surveys of people within the US consistently show that intakes of magnesium are lower than the recommended amounts set forth by the USDA. The most likely reason for low intakes is due to the fact that the foods that contain the highest dosage of magnesium are not highly consumed within the Western diet. 

The top 5 magnesium containing foods are: 

Almonds - dry roasted 1 oz = 20% of RDA 

Spinach, boiled, 1/2 cup = 20% of RDA 

Cashews, dry roasted 1 oz = 19% of RDA 

Peanuts, oil roasted 1 oz = 16% of RDA 

Black beans, cooked 1/2 cup = 15% 


At this point, you are likely wondering what you can do to increase your magnesium if you aren’t eating these foods? You could start by consuming the top 5 foods, but if you just can’t swallow 1/2 cup of spinach then you should look at supplementing your intake. 

At North Shore Acupuncture and Natural Medicine we carry physician grade magnesium supplement that is a lot easier to swallow! Our magnesium is a blend of malate and glycinate which more readily available and easier to uptake within the body. Call, email or stop by today to discuss how North Shore Acupuncture and Natural Medicine can help boost your health and wellness!

  1. Institute of Medicine (IOM). Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D and Fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1997.

  2. Rude RK. Magnesium. In: Coates PM, Betz JM, Blackman MR, Cragg GM, Levine M, Moss J, White JD, eds. Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Informa Healthcare; 2010:527-37.

  3. Rude RK. Magnesium. In: Ross AC, Caballero B, Cousins RJ, Tucker KL, Ziegler TR, eds. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 11th ed. Baltimore, Mass: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2012:159-75.


How Cold & Raw Foods Affect Digestion in Chinese Medicine

How Cold & Raw Foods Affect Digestion in Chinese Medicine:

If you have ever asked an acupuncturists for diet or nutritional advice, you more than likely have been told to eat more warm foods and decrease the amount of cold or raw foods. But, why? Shouldn’t raw vegetables be helpful for my overall health? Well, the answer is both yes and no. 

The function of the Spleen in Chinese medicine is responsible for assisting in the breakdown of foods and their nutrients (in conjunction with the Stomach).  The Spleen also is correlated to the production of blood, and is closely related to the Heart organ and meridian (which relates to the health of the Shen/Mind). 

If we think of the Spleen like a car engine, it prefers some warmth to run more efficiently. Therefore, what we are eating as a direct connection to our digestion and the more cold foods beverages we consume, the more difficult it will become to digest. 

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So, what if my Spleen is weak or cold? What does that mean in terms of my health? Since Chinese medicine is not a one size fits all medicine, and is 100% tailored to the individual health and symptoms of the patient, it is hard to make a blanket statement for how exactly different people may be experiencing signs of a weak/cold Spleen - but here are some of the most common symptoms:

When digestion is impeded, it can create signs of ‘dampness’ in the body. In Chinese medicine dampness can be seen as foggy head, heavy limbs, post nasal drip, and even discharge of sputum or phlegm. 

If we think of dampness as a muddy or brackish stream, it can become more difficult for water to freely travel. This same idea can be applied to our digestive system when dampness is involved. Many of the digestive functions will be slowed down, and symptoms such as the ones listed above with follow - and even increase over time in their severity. 

When we are eating warm foods and drinking room temperature/warm beverages patients begin to notice a decrease in symptoms related to dampness over time. Patients will find that their energy level increases, they are mentally sharper, and even feel less bloated after meals. This is a result of the Spleen becoming stronger and more efficient in the breakdown of our foods.

Should I avoid cold or raw foods all together? For some patients, this might be helpful depending on the severity and chronicity of their symptoms. However, typically a balance of warm and cold foods are sufficient. For example, if you are eating a salad, you can offset the coolness of that meal with some warm tea or even some spicy dressing or herbs.


Other foods to consider in decreasing dampness in the body:

-Lower the amount of sugar and sweet foods

-Decreasing the amount of heavy/rich foods

-Lowering dairy consumption 

-Avoidance of any sticky or greasy foods 


Chinese medicine is all about harmony and finding a balance not only with the foods you eat, but the life you live! For help determining what diet is best for you and your individual digestive system, book an appointment below to take a deep dive into your health with Allison!

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