Happy New Year to you and yours! I love this time of year because of the renewed and palpable excitement people have about recreating and bettering themselves and their health!
There are many resolutions to pick from but some of the most common involve better eating, more exercise, drinking more water, or just about anything that will improve physical health and assist with weight loss. There is nothing better than being in good health and feeling like a million dollars, so I'd like to help you feel like the golden superstar that you are by offering a few simple steps to improve those outcomes to your resolutions.
Drink Water! Sounds like information you've heard time and time again but it cannot be over emphasized! You are over 70% water and you'll need every last drop for smooth digestion and increased absorption in the intestinal tract. Sick of water? Try adding a lemon slice which will not only flavor your water, but improve digestion and break up phelgm. The temperature of your water should be room temperature or warm to hot. Digestion works best when your body is like a compost pile- warm and active, not like a refrigerator- cold, slow, and meant to store foods! Supplement with one of these three powerful teas for improving digestion: green, ginger, and/or pu'erh tea.
Chew your food! Digestion starts in your mouth with enzymes called salivary amylase and lingual lipase. The more you chew, the better these and other enzymes can mix with your food and start the digestive process allowing your stomach to do what it does best- break down smaller molecules. Chewing food also reduces the chances of large chunks of food causing bacterial overgrowth which can lead to bloating, flatulence, and changes in mood.
Eat warm, cooked foods. Once again, temperature comes up when discussing digestion. Warm cooked foods are easier to digest by both the stomach and the spleen, the main digestive organs in Chinese medicine. The spleen functions best when it is warm and dry. The spleen is the powerhouse for sending nutrients from food (after being broken down by the stomach) to all of the other organs. Poor spleen function may be your problem if you notice sluggish digestion, fatigue, weight gain, frequent colds, allergies, muscle cramps, depression, dry skin, and anemia, among other signs. Make your spleen happy and keep it warm!
If you eat salads, or cold vegetables, let them warm up to room temperature for a few minutes prior to consumption. Most of the food you consume especially in winter months should be cooked.
Take Probiotics. The gut is the body's second brain. Yes, seriously. Many neurotransmitters are found in the gut including 90% of the body's serotonin supply (an important mood regulating neurotransmitter). While our brains utilize glucose for proper functioning, our guts rely on a healthy bacterial environment for proper function. In addition to taking a daily probiotic, consider eating fermented foods to supplement gut bacteria.
Regulate your gut with Acupuncture. Acupuncture is phenomenal at supporting the flow of blood, fluids, and food in the gut. Treatment can also regulate bowel movements and improve common complaints such as flatulence and bloating. If you're one of those people who feels stress in your gut like an upset stomach or a tight heavy sensation, or you find that you worry often, acupuncture is highly recommended. Combining herbal formulas to acupuncture will support treatment and keep the digestive system strong.
While being treated for improved digestion, many people find increased energy, easier breathing, better sleep, and increased metabolism. Yes, all of that and more! Keep in mind that acupuncture is a physical medicine and regular consistent treatment will allow for the best results.
The information in this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace medical advice from your physician. If you have questions regarding your health, seek medical advice from your doctor.