Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that focuses on pain relief and whole body balance by needling specific areas of the body. In a nutshell, acupuncture works to bring the body back to homeostasis (a state of balance). To aid in the process, your acupuncturist might prescribe Chinese herbs and/or suggest a nutrition plan according to your condition. What can you do at home? Below are some Chinese Nutrition Therapy suggestions for 5 common health conditions.
1) High Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure (a.k.a. hypertension) is a condition where the blood pressure exceeds 120/80. Adding asparagus, celery and corn into the diet will promote blood circulation and help lower blood pressure. Caffeine is also known to increase blood pressure. Try drinking chrysanthemum tea with a spoonful of honey or squeeze a half a lemon or lime in your tea or water.
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. In Chinese medicine, there are various types of arthritis, with the two most common types being:
- Cold type (with sharp, localized pain and coldness in the joints)
- Heat type (red, swollen, painful joints and warm/hot joints)
For cold type, try rubbing a slice of fresh ginger on the joint(s). Doing so will warm the joint, promote circulation and help to alleviate pain. You can also try adding cinnamon tea into your diet for its pain relieving properties.
For heat type, make sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Drink dandelion tea (or take a steeped tea bag and place it directly on inflamed areas) to help reduce the heat in the joints.
Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones become fragile from bone loss due to a variety of reasons, the biggest being calcium deficiency.
Some easy, calcium-rich foods to add to your diet are:
- Turnip greens
- Garbanzo beans
- Pinto beans
- Black beans
- Sesame seeds
Make sure to avoid the nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and bell peppers), as they contain a calcium inhibitor.
Diabetes is when the body is unable to regulate the amount of glucose/sugar in the blood and consequently becomes insulin resistant. Type 2 accounts for approximately 90% of all diabetes diagnoses in present day. Typical treatments include diet, exercise, medication and insulin therapy. An important contributing factor with diabetes (type 2) is excessive weight and/or obesity. The extra weight contributes to added pressure on the entire body, which throws it off balance and increases your chance of disease. Acupuncture can help in lowering blood sugar, normalize the body’s metabolism and digestive system, reduce stress and aid in hormone balance. Acupuncture is a wonderful option that can be safely be added to a current western medical treatment plan for added therapeutic benefit.
As for Chinese Nutrition Therapy, here are some common foods that are beneficial for type 2 diabetes:
- Pumpkin (to help regulate blood sugar)—add to salad, soup or even on its own
- Fresh juice and add celery, carrot and/or spinach
- Stir fry with bok choy, bamboo shoots, shiitake mushroom, snow peas and/or spinach
- Avoid excess sweets and sugary foods.
Depression can be caused by a number of factors, but luckily there are numerous Chinese Nutrition Therapy treatments that can be beneficial. A heart calming and mind nourishing diet is incredibly important for emotional balance! Try adding whole grains (brown rice, wheat and oats), mushrooms, cucumbers, apples, chia seeds and cabbage to soothe and calm the mind. A nighttime tea of basil & lemon can have a calming effect as well.
According to the CDC, “as of 2012, about half of all adults—or 117 million people—had one or more chronic health conditions.” Chinese Nutrition Therapy and Acupuncture Treatments are wonderful options for those looking to add something to their conventional medical approach or simply to support their overall health!