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Natural Ways to Up Your Game

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In addition to using acupuncture and other forms of traditional Chinese medicine, there are other ways professional and Olympic athletes seek to up their game. One of the simplest ways to increase performance is by watching what you are consuming. You ever heard the saying you are what you eat? Chances are you have, if not, well I am glad that now you have, because there could not be a truer statement.

By carefully calculating what we put into our bodies we can increase athletic performance in addition to bettering all aspects of our life. It doesn’t have to all start with a full meal, there are little additions you can make to foods and snacks within your normal dietary routine, which will increase performance and herbs are one of the most crucial things to add to your diet in order to better your physical potential.

Arnica – Arnica is an herb native to the mountains known for its very interesting and healing properties. Arnica is utilized by lots of distance runners. It is known to wipe out muscle soreness, which is pent up after long-distance runs. Some popular ways arnica is consumed, is in teas and dairy-based desserts. It will help you help those muscles so you can sustain a high level of athletic performance.

Astragalus – Ah, another fun name to say. But, a very beneficial name to be saying, it is always good to have astragalus around the house. This herb is known to boost overall health and goes by the names Huang Chi or Huang Qi (hah-Wong chee). With names like that, which directly apply to energy (Qi), you know it is a good choice to increase your performance.

Straying away from the herb’s side of things, let’s look at some specific foods to add to your diet in order to boost energy and performance levels.

Beets – Beetroot contains lots of nitrates and does wonders for your circulatory system, this is key for an athlete. You need to have a healthy-functioning circulatory system in order to complete the tasks you wish to accomplish, adding a steady dose of this veggie to your diet will help with that.

Salmon – How many times can you say Omega-3s? Omega-3s, Omega-3s, Omega-3s. What a coincidence, three times! But, truthfully you could say Omega-3s much more than this amount. Salmon, like most fish, is packed full of these fatty acids, which are great for muscle repair and anti-inflammatory properties.

Whether it be adding a powerful-enhancing herb to your day to day routine, or changing some of the foods you eat within your diet, there are vast amounts of ways to up your game naturally. We are barely scratching the surface with this list. Don’t forget, acupuncture is also one of the best ways to increase athletic performance, so visit a licensed acupuncturist today.

Healthy Eating According to Traditional Chinese Medicine

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Do you consider yourself a healthy eater? Do you follow the guidelines set forth by the government for healthy eating? Or have you gone rogue? There are as many different definitions of healthy as there are colors in the rainbow. But according to traditional Chinese medicine, there are certain guidelines that will keep the body happy and healthy throughout life. Let’s explore this a little deeper.

The Traditional Chinese Medicine diet is based on energetic principles that encourage balance, clean burning digestion and a well-functioning body that remains free of disease and full of energy. Eating for balance is a way of life in Traditional Chinese Medicine theory. There are certain foods that help the digestive system function properly and allow the body to utilize the nutrients it needs to perform. When food enters the mouth, it travels through the stomach and intestines. This is where the energy is extracted from the food and the waste products are excreted. The energy that was extracted become your life force or Qi (pronounced “chee”). Digestion, in TCM theory, should be an unnoticeable event. The digestive system should be clean and quiet, allowing the body to extract the most nutrition and energy from the food that is ingested. If the digestive system becomes clogged, the energy does not get adequately absorbed and there is leftover residue that sticks to places within the body thus causing blockages and affecting the body’s daily functions.

Dampness is the most common byproduct of eating foods that create blockages in the digestive system. Foods that create dampness include cheese, yogurt, white flour and sugar. Dampness causes blockages or stagnations that can then lead to pain and disease. Symptoms of accumulated dampness include mucus, loose stools or constipation, excess weight gain and swollen joints. Chronic allergies and arthritis are two Western medicine diseases that are very closely linked to dampness.

To avoid disease, the TCM diet recommends things like steamed rice, cooked vegetables and small quantities of animal protein. Vegetables play a major role in draining dampness and are packed with nutrition. The more colorful the vegetables, the healthier they are for the body, as they contain lots of antioxidants that promote health and longevity. Your plate should begin with large quantities of brightly colored and lightly cooked vegetables. Leafy greens are very important also as they are some of the most balancing and nutrient dense foods available.

Rice is a balanced food that is easily digested. Rice is also hypo-allergenic and this is advantageous to those who are dealing with allergies as it is very gentle on the digestive system. White rice tends to be more cleansing, while brown rice is considered more nourishing. Rice is a clean burning food that gently drains dampness from the body.

Protein is the final component of a healthy TCM diet. Animal proteins and beans are difficult to digest and therefore are only suggested in small quantities. Beans are better overall than animal proteins as they do help absorb dampness and they provide fiber.

There are several things that should be avoided in the TCM diet. Dairy is one of the biggest culprits of creating dampness. It is also cold in nature and this is a hindrance to the digestion. Cold, raw foods are culprits in the formation of dampness, as it is difficult for the body to process them. This is why foods ingested should be at least at body temperature. When the body has to heat the food, it drains the energetic resources of the body, which weakens the body over time. So things like salads, chilled food, iced drinks and frozen foods should not be included in the daily diet.

When it comes to healthy eating, it is obvious that most of the United States doesn’t adhere to the aforementioned guidelines. If you are truly trying to eat healthy and you are dealing with illness, why not consider trying the TCM way of eating? You might be surprised at how your body changes.

How to make a natural sunscreen at home

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Although sun protection is extremely important to protect against harmful UV-rays and to prevent skin cancer, next time you pick out your sunscreen, consider what you’re buying. Many common sunscreens actually contain chemicals that can be harmful to your body.

Chemicals to avoid in common sunscreens:
Oxybenzone
Retinol palmitate
Methoxycinnamate
Octinoxate
Padimate O/PABA
Nano or Micronized mineral particles

There are several and easy ways to make effective and natural homemade sunscreen.

Natural Ingredients:
1 tbsp Jojoba oil or sesame or sunflower oil
3/4 C coconut oil
2 tbsp Zinc Oxide
2 tbsp shea butter
1 tbsp Vitamin E oil
30 drops ( 15 of each) Eucalyptus and lavender essential oils

Directions: First step is to combine coconut oil, shea butter and jojoba/sesame/sunflower oil into a Pyrex measuring cup. Next, make a double boiler by placing the Pyrex inside a pot filled with 2-3 inches of water. Heat on low until the shea butter is melted. Remove from double boiler and let cool. After cooled, wear a mask to cover your nose and mouth when you measure out the zinc oxide to avoid inhaling fine particles. Add the zinc oxide, Vitamin E oil and essential oils to the original mixture. Stir until ingredients are mixed. The last step is to pour the mixture into a dark jar and refrigerate.

Homemade sunscreen can last for around 6 months and should be refrigerated. Apply generously to skin and reapply every few hours while during periods of sun exposure. It gives a 15-20 SPF rating.

6 Truths About the Not-so-sweet Side of Sugar

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A study published by the JAMA Internal Medicine found that more than 70 percent of Americans consume more than the recommended daily amount of sugar. Sadly, most of us are addicted to sugar, which happens to be hidden in most of the foods and drinks we consume. Added sugar can cause a whole array of problems that can be short term as well as long term. If you are experiencing health problems, lowering your sugar intake may be one of your best options. Below are 6 truths about the ugly side of sweets.

No nutrients
Refined sugar has no nutritional value and it is recommended to consume as little as possible. The first step in eliminating sugar is from drinks such as soda, juice and mixed alcoholic drinks. Because of the large amounts of sweetener in these drinks, it can make them very addictive and hard to quit drinking.

Harms your liver
Sugar can be just as damaging on your liver as alcohol and lead to fatty liver disease. When you consume too much fructose, your body becomes insulin resistant resulting in various problems that can cause disease.

Raises cholesterol
One study done in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that participants who ate the highest levels of added sugars showed the biggest increase in bad cholesterol levels and triglyceride blood fats and the lowest levels in the good cholesterol levels.

Leading cause of obesity
In America, sugar is one of the leading culprits of obesity. It is estimated that 80 percent of food products in the U.S. contain added sugar. The best way to lose weight and lower your risk of obesity is to eliminate all processed foods and drinks.

Bad for your teeth
It should be a no-brainer that sugar is bad for your teeth. You may remember growing up having the dentist tell you as a kid to eat less candy to prevent cavities. As an adult, we know it’s not only candy that will cause cavities, but sugar that is found in your favorite drinks and everyday foods as well. Best way to sustain healthy teeth and gums? Cut the processed and refined sugar.

Can lead to type 2 diabetes
When your body is consuming too much sugar, your glucose levels become too high, which can be toxic to the body. When this happens, your body has a harder time producing enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels normal. This can then lead to type 2 diabetes.

7 Ways Acupuncture Can Help Men’s Health

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Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a complete medical system that has been around for nearly 3,000 years. It combines nutrition, herbs, acupuncture and other modalities to help keep the body functioning properly, while also treating any ailments that might occur. TCM has been used to treat both men and women, regardless of their age, and TCM is frequently becoming the medical choice for those who prefer to use holistic forms of medicine to heal themselves.

There are certain health issues more prevalent in men than women, and many of these conditions can be easily controlled or treated using Traditional Chinese Medicine. Afflictions such as high blood pressure, depression, urinary issues, stress and prostate problems are just a few of the issues that are more frequently seen in men than women. And these issues, along with many others, respond very favorably to acupuncture and TCM.

Prostate issues are a prominent concern for men. From enlarged prostates to prostate cancer, this area of the body gets a lot of attention. One of the most common problems facing men is benign prostatic hyperplasia or what is commonly called the enlarged prostate. An enlarged prostate often leads to bladder, kidney and urinary problems, especially urinary retention. This is very easily controlled with acupuncture and herbs because the combination of the two help alleviate the inflammation of the prostate allowing the urine to flow freely.

Cardiovascular disease is another big concern for men and it is the leading health threat to men. Acupuncture has been found to be particularly beneficial in lowering blood pressure, which often helps prevent cardiovascular disease. Acupuncture stimulates the release of natural opioids in the body, which then decreases the heart’s activity and lowers the need for excess oxygen. All of this lowers blood pressure.

Another area where men need more help is dealing with mental health issues and depression. Men are much less likely to discuss their feelings and emotions, which can frequently lead to depression and even thoughts of suicide. In fact, men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women. Acupuncture helps balance the chemicals released by the brain and the hormones released by the endocrine system. All of these imbalanced chemicals can lead to mental health issues that manifest over time.

Insomnia and sleep-related disorders are another major concern for men. Acupuncture has been shown to be beneficial at restoring balance and allowing the body to relax and rejuvenate. In fact, acupuncture often times outperforms many prescription and over-the-counter sleep aids.

Men tend to suffer from pain more than women, just because their jobs can be more physical. It is statistically shown that men are less likely to seek out help when they experience pain, as they don’t want to appear weak. This is where something like acupuncture can be a great asset for men. Regular acupuncture treatments as preventive medicine can help keep them in top shape, thus avoiding aches, pains, strains and pulls.

Fertility is not something that usually comes to mind when it comes to men’s health issues. However, stats show that 35-40 percent of all fertility issues are male conditions. Studies have shown acupuncture and Chinese herbs are very effective at improving sperm quality and the instructional integrity of the sperm. This is why many acupuncturists who focus on fertility issues treat both the male and the female as a team.

Lastly, acupuncture is a great way to combat digestive issues frequently related to added stress and this occurs more in men than it does in women. The most common digestive disorder is heartburn or acid reflux, which is usually caused by stress and poor diet. When stress levels are decreased, then stomach acid can decrease also, thus alleviating heartburn.

These are just a few of the issues acupuncture can help with when it comes to men’s health. But it is easy to see why choosing acupuncture to help keep the body in
alignment is a great option, especially for men.