Nutrition

Walnuts and Your Brain

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by Toni Twitty, M.Ac., Ph.D.c 

Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture OKC Expert

 

Many people like to add walnuts to food to add some zest and a little crunchy kick, but walnuts are much more than a flavor additive, as they are chock full of healthy properties and have been used in Asia as an overall health tonic and brain booster for years. Let’s take a nutty look at walnuts.    

Walnuts, otherwise known as Hu Tao Ren in Chinese medicine, are used as a kind of herbal remedy. In Chinese medicine, they look at the quality, temperature, flavor and color of a food to uncover certain elements that are beneficial to those who need to balance those qualities in their body. For example, the walnut is classified as “warming”. Warming foods tend to improve circulation and raise what is known as the yang qi. The yang is what is energetic, bright, outward, hot and moving (as opposed to yin, which is more inward, dark, still, cool and moist). Warming food is used in cold conditions; for example, if your stomach is cold from an overabundance of cool foods, you may have some digestive issues like gas and bloating due to slower digestion. In addition, the walnut is lubricating, moist and a bit greasy. This quality is helpful for lubricating the intestines and helping digestion and constipation.

In Chinese medicine, the element of the food goes to certain organs and is beneficial for them; walnuts are said to benefit the lungs, large intestine and the kidneys specifically. Walnuts strengthen the lungs to help chronic cough, asthma and skin conditions (which are connected to the lung, according the Chinese medical principles). Walnuts also are a kidney tonic and help urination; in addition, kidneys are said to influence libido, fertility, the back and knees and the aging process. Walnuts have been used to help libido and fertility, a 2012 study in Asia showed males who consumed walnuts had improved sperm quality. In addition, walnuts are used for insomnia. They help raise serotonin levels, which promote feelings of well being and help people sleep better. Finally, in looking at food as medicine, foods that resemble a body part often treat that organ. What does the walnut resemble? Two lobes of the brain, the left and right hemisphere. It is commonly known that walnuts are an excellent brain food.    

Walnuts have been shown to have high levels of Omega-3, which is an essential fatty acid that helps brain and heart function. Walnuts are anti-inflammatory, have antioxidants and recent research has shown they may have anti-cancer properties and help diabetes due to beneficial fats. In addition, they have vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, minerals and B vitamins. Walnuts help digestion and give a feeling of being full, so they aid in weight loss.   

It should be noted that in Chinese medicine, most food recommended for health is used in a formula that is unique for you and an overall treatment plan is created. Walnuts are not a panacea for health care, and it’s best not to self-diagnose; instead, visit an acupuncture provider to get a thorough diagnosis and a balanced formula right for you.

Walnuts are not recommended in cases of fever, diarrhea or allergic reaction to nuts. If you are generally healthy and want a nice tonic, add a nice handful of nuts to not only perk up your food but also your body.

 

acupuncture okcDr. Toni Twitty, owner of Be Well Acupuncture OKC in Oklahoma City, OK is an expert Acupuncturist. She specializes in resolving pain, treating chronic conditions, general wellness, and fertility. Learn more about Toni and get started on your road to better health at: www.bewellokc.com

Parmesan Squash Rounds

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squash recipe

by Toni Twitty, M.Ac., Ph.D.c 

Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture OKC Expert

August 2, 2018

 

You. Guys. Squash is great for the spleen, which means its great for digestion this time of year and its also in season! I feel that like means squash is everything in late summer. I was searching for some kid-pleasing recipes to use up our abundance (also a theme in late summer) of squash and something magic happened when I came across this one. This recipe is life! Enjoy!

 

 

acupuncture okc

 

Dr. Toni Twitty, owner of Be Well Acupuncture OKC in Edmond, OK is an highly respected expert Acupuncturist. She specializes in resolving pain, treating chronic conditions, and fertility. Learn more about Toni and get started on your road to better health at: www.bewellokc.com

 

 

Chew On This: Digestion and the Spleen

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acupuncture okcby Toni Twitty, M.Ac., Ph.D.c 

Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture OKC Expert

August 2, 2018

 

The Spleen and Stomach rule the late summer season. That means these organs most active, accessible, and unfortunately prone to problems RIGHT NOW. They are also associated with the “Earth” element. Earth provides support and nourishment for all life. Likewise, these active organs provide the body with nourishment through what we eat. Food is ingested, digested, transformed, transported, and assimilated into the physical body, creating bone, muscle, energy, and blood. Literally we are what we eat!

The health of these organs is critical to our feeling well. Digestive troubles plague modern society. Check out your local drugstore and you’ll find an entire isle dedicated to items designed to suppress various symptoms of poor digestive health- probiotics, antacids, antiemetics, Pepto… The only problem is that they DON’T get at the root cause of the problem. They are a bandaid. 

Over time, a poor diet coupled with irregular eating habits, over-concentration, worry, excessive studying, or sitting too long can injure our Spleen and Stomach. Adopting a few new eating habits may allow your digestion to function better. In turn, the health of your entire being may improve. Caring for your health, naturally, with acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help get to the root cause of digestive troubles as well as other problems that you are experiencing.

 

So. How is Your Spleen Doing?

 

Below are a few symptoms that appear when a Spleen/Stomach disharmony is present:

 

•Abdominal distention, bloating, aches or pain
• Flatulence after meals or with stress
• Watery, loose stools, or diarrhea
• Blood or excessive mucus in stools
• Bruising easily
• Nausea, vomiting, or lack of appetite
• Sallow complexion or pale lips
• Pale and swollen tongue
• Weakness and heaviness in the arms, legs, or muscles
• Fatigue, lethargy, or low energy
• Dizziness or history of anemia
• Susceptibility to colds and flu
• Cold hands and feet

• Difficulty Concentrating

• Infertility 

 

If you said yes to a few of these, Give us a call at 405-693-5121 or schedule online to get started towards better digestive health today!

 

 

Bon Appetite and enjoy the rest of your summer!

 

acupuncture okc

Dr. Toni Twitty, owner of Be Well Acupuncture OKC in Oklahoma City, OK is an expert Acupuncturist. She specializes in resolving pain, treating chronic conditions, general wellness, and fertility. Learn more about Toni and get started on your road to better health at: www.bewellokc.com

Eating According to TCM: Five Foods for Spring

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by Toni Twitty, M.Ac., Ph.D.c 

Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture OKC Expert

 

Spring is a time of renewal, regeneration, growth and energy. The plants and animals awaken from the slumber of the cold winter months. The vital nutrients that have been stored in the roots of the plants and the bodies of the animals, comes to the surface and life becomes more vibrant and fluid. Human beings are no different. Humans tend to stay indoors more during the winter months and sometimes pack on a little extra weight in the process. As the weather warms, humans become more gregarious and spend more time outside enjoying nature. This is just a natural process

Therefore, it makes sense that what was observed by the ancient Chinese should still hold true today. Humans are supposed to take their cues from nature. As a species, humans should be more active during the warmer spring months. And to do this, we need proper nourishment. Qi (pronounced “chee”) is sometimes translated into energy. This Qi is the vital substance that keeps our bodies functioning until the day we die. To keep the Qi plentiful, we need to eat the proper foods at the proper times.

During the spring, we should be eating foods that have upward energies, such as green, sprouting vegetables. But we also need foods that will provide the extra nourishment needed for the increased amounts of activity that accompany the season of spring. This is where sweeter foods play a vital role. But be careful not to overdo it. Too much sweet can overload the body and make it sluggish.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, spring is the season of the liver and the gallbladder. These organs regulate a smooth flow of energy throughout the whole body. However, they are prone to stagnation because we do not take proper care of ourselves. This can manifest as anger, irritability, depression, insomnia and even pain. Stagnation can occur when people eat too many foods of poor quality that may be full of chemicals.

Here are some foods recommended to eat throughout the season of spring.

  1. Green Foods: During spring, it is recommended to eat foods green in color and rich in chlorophyll that help accelerate rejuvenation of the liver. This includes things like spirulina, chlorella, parsley, wheat grass, kale, Swiss chard and collard greens.
  2. Radishes: Pungent in flavor, radishes are perfect for the spring time. They help move liver Qi and open up the liver meridian.
  3. Sour Citrus Fruits: Foods like lemons, limes and grapefruit are all good choices that help cut fats that may have been stored up in the body during the winter months, while also keeping the liver Qi moving smoothly.
  4. Bitter Leafy Greens: Spring is the appropriate time for liver cleansing, which is what the bitter flavor does. So adding things like dandelion greens, arugula, radicchio, mustard greens and spinach will help tremendously.
  5. Chicken: Ever heard the term “spring chicken”? Well this is the appropriate time of year to enjoy pasture-raised, locally grown chicken. And pairing chicken with some of the aforementioned foods can make for a very healthy and liver happy meal.

Contact us if you are curious about how to eat according to the seasons. We can guide you along your healing journey through the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine and nutritional counseling.

Fermented Foods and Intestinal Health

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fermented food for digestive healthThe modern world is changing every single day. Because of this constant state of change, our bodies are frequently having to adjust. We have a food supply being degraded and depleted of nutritional content, which in turn, causes our bodies to become depleted. Our soil and water is contaminated with antibiotics and deadly fertilizers. All of which become part of the food chain we rely upon. Because of this, antibiotics are failing and superbugs like MRSA are on the rise. Lack of nutrition and the overuse of antibiotics are just a couple of the things wreaking havoc on our intestinal health. But there are ways to combat this and keep the gut healthy. continue reading »