Food As Medicine

by stephanie worth on July 15, 2014

photoPatients are always asking how to eat for their health, whether it be to prevent illness, or deal with a current ailment. For many reasons we may find ourselves unable or unwilling to take a prescription medication or herbal formula in order to assist our body in overcoming an illness or condition.  It is important to remember that we can strongly influence our health based on what foods we put in our body.

We have all heard the phrase “you are what you eat”.  As nutrition research continues, science is further corroborating what we have known intuitively for years…that the foods we eat have a distinct impact on our health.  As unique individuals, no one food is best, but there are some general guidelines that will benefit everyone:

Stick to whole foods. Eating processed or refined foods not only reduces the nutritional value of a food, but can change the way our body metabolizes the food, creating more stress on the body.

Eat organic whenever possible. Choosing organic fruits, vegetables and meats will help reduce the amount of chemical exposure, as well as hormones in your foods.

Eat seasonally. Choosing foods that are in season help ensure you have variety in your diet and get the essential nutrients your body needs. From a Chinese medical perspective, it is also beneficial to eat certain foods during their seasons based on temperature variations. For example, during the summer, we crave lighter, cool meals, as opposed to the winter, when we want hearty, warm meals.

Use food as medicine. Here are a few great ways to use food as medicine in your day to day life:

    • Ginger and oranges are used to balance digestive issues
    • Green onions, garlic, and mint assist in the treatment of the common cold
    • Cucumber and dried fruits treat constipation
    • Olives are effective at treating cough with blood in the phlegm
    • Guava and leek stop bleeding
    • Cayenne pepper is great as a first aid for treating internal and external bleeding
    • Peaches treat dry cough and slow digestion
    • Beets strengthen the heart, calm the overactive mind, and improve circulation
    • Broccoli is great for eyesight, red eyes, dry eyes and inflammation of the eye
    • Cabbage is used to treat digestion and skin issues
    • Celery improves digestion, and benefits urinary tract imbalances

These are just a few of the many ways you can treat your body with foods you eat everyday.  When using foods as medicine, just increase the amount and frequency so it can have a therapeutic effect.  Pay close attention to the changes you see so you do not overeat any one food.  For more information about food as medicine, read Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford.  It is a great book to use as a guide for healthy eating and a wonderful resource for those times when your body needs extra care.

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A Space for Stillness

by stephanie worth on June 25, 2014

AcNW_Buddha_TsWThe majority of patients who walk through our door will list stress as one of their main health complaints. Stress is a part of everyday life, but how do we handle it?  It is unavoidable, and our perception and management of stress is essential to our health. It is becoming more understood that one of the best ways to manage stress and promote well-being is to devote time every day to some form of meditation or quiet time. The benefits of this stillness include:

    • Reduced cortisol and blood pressure
    • Improved immune function
    • Reduced muscle tension
    • Slower heart rate
    • More regulated breathing
    • Reduced anxiety and depression

Above and beyond the physical benefits of having this quiet time for yourself, there are mental and emotional benefits as well. It allows for management of emotions, and an opportunity to access the creative areas in the brain, as well as our subconscious mind. Studies have shown that meditation reduces activity in the amygdala of our brain, which controls the way we react to stress.

Patients are often intimidated by the idea of meditation, but even without a formal meditation practice, a small amount of personal quiet time, in a peaceful space, can provide you with health benefits that you will feel throughout your day.

To make it simple, try sitting on the floor with your legs crossed, or in a chair. Have your arms in a relaxed position, hands on your knees. Sit tall with shoulders relaxed, and focus on your breath in and breath out. The mind will inevitably wander, but rather than beat yourself up for having a busy mind, just observe the thought and release it, bringing your attention back to your breath. Continue to observe and release the thoughts that rise up, and refocus on the breath. Practice this daily, even if you can only fit in 5-10 minutes a day. You will feel calmer, more peaceful, and more grounded throughout your day.

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Drink Up for Health!

May 2, 2014

Water is our ultimate life force. Staying hydrated has unlimited benefits for your health including weight management, supple skin and improved kidney function and digestion. As crucial as it may be, it is easy to forget to drink water throughout the day. As the weather heats up, it is time to make drinking water a priority. Your life depends on [...]


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Shopping Healthy

March 3, 2014

When we think about living a healthy lifestyle, there are many factors to consider. Exercise, diet and stress management are a few important parts of this equation. What each of these have in common is that they take time, something we often feel short on. When it comes to diet, we often take the quick and easy [...]


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Tune up with Acupuncture

January 27, 2014

Many patients come to Acupuncture Northwest seeking treatment for a specific problem, like a painful lower back, insomnia, or poor digestion. But what happens after that specific problem is treated and resolved? For most patients, we transition them to maintenance treatment. The purpose of maintenance acupuncture treatments is to promote continued health, and prevent future [...]


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Easy Chicken Breast Marinade Recipe

August 13, 2013

Easy Chicken Breast Marinade Here is a very simple and delicious chicken breast marinade Sarah’s mom often uses to marinade chicken before grilling it. Great for summer time grilling. Servings: 4 (8 oz servings) Marinade Ingredients 2 skinless chicken breasts ½ cup lemon juice ¼ cup olive oil 1 clove garlic minced or chopped ½ [...]


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Choosing Sunscreen for Summer

June 26, 2013

It’s finally the best time of year in Portland….summer. We in the Northwest are lucky to live in one of the best summer climates around, and everyone does their best to take full advantage after long rainy months. We understand the desire to be in the sunshine, but when you’re pursuing your outdoor adventures, remember [...]


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Crossfit Athletes use Acupuncture

May 31, 2013

Everyone has by now heard of CrossFit, the strength and conditioning program that has taken the exercise world by storm. It’s a specific style of working out that uses a wide variety of exercises, including running, rowing, plyometrics, gymnastics, weight training and Olympic weightlifting techniques. It is a workout style well known for its pain, and [...]


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Lentils With Spinach

March 7, 2013

Here is a recipe that is easy and healthy! It is vegan, low fat, high in plant based protein and chlorophyl (see the benefits of chlorophyl here). This recipe is so pleasing to the  palate, I think I could eat it every day. It consists of only seven ingredients, including salt! Try experimenting with additional [...]


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The Power of Mint

March 5, 2013

Most everyone has heard of mint, and have likely grown it in their garden at some point. Mint is also a Chinese herb called Bo He. In Chinese medicine, it is used to expel wind-heat from the head region, and treats symptoms like fever, headaches, red eyes, cough and sore throat. It is also used [...]


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