From the category archives:

infection

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

by Ed

Contribution from freelance writer, Jackie.

How to Go on An Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Eating the Right Foods To Prevent Diseases

Your immune system works hard to protect your body against infection and injury. This reaction called inflammation is how your body naturally reacts to fight off viruses or chemicals – basically anything that may cause potential harm to the body. But in some cases, inflammation can still occur even though there are no threats to your health, and this can lead to certain health conditions and diseases.

Reversing chronic inflammation has long been a way of life among the Chinese as they are quite adept at the use of certain herbal medicines to restore the body to its optimum condition, but Westerners have yet to catch on when it comes to correcting this health problem. Experts say that ongoing inflammation can lead to chronic diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Moreover, chronic inflammation can become better or worse depending on the types of food that you eat. The good news is that going on an anti-inflammation diet is much more straightforward than you think it is. It’s easy enough to follow that you can eat anti-inflammatory foods no matter where you are, and in time, you begin to see what works to stop chronic inflammation from affecting your body.

Here’s how to go on an anti-inflammatory diet.

Avoid unhealthy foods

Unhealthy foods that contribute to weight gain such as processed food, fried food, and trans fat which can be found in a lot of fast food can contribute to inflammation. You should also reduce your consumption of refined flour and sugar as these foods raise insulin and blood sugar levels which can trigger inflammation.

Try incorporating some Chinese medicinal herbs into your diet

Studies have shown that Chinese herbs such as Coptis Chinensis (Huang Lian), Isatidis Folium (Da Qin Ye), and Patrinia Herba (Bai Jian Cao) have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties to keep the balance between yin and yang and maintain the body’s overall health. You can make an herbal decoction of these Chinese herbs and drink it like tea a few times a week.

Increase your intake of whole foods

Experts say that one-ingredient foods such as apples, broccoli, and chicken can keep inflammation at bay. Fish, especially cold-water varieties, are also recommended, so try eating fish at least three times a week. You should also incorporate more whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds into your diet.

Switch out your cup of coffee for a cup of green tea

If you love drinking coffee twice a day, consider switching out your afternoon cup of joe for a healthful cup of green tea. This contains catechins and polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory properties.

Flavor your food with healthful ingredients

To add seasoning to savory food, use spices with anti-inflammatory properties such as cinnamon, rosemary, ginger, and sage. If you’re craving for a hint of sweet flavor, add berries, apples, pineapples, or other fruit to your dish. Pineapple, in particular, contains an anti-inflammatory called bromelain, which improves protein digestion, so combining pineapple with chicken makes for a satisfying and anti-inflammation meal.

Indulge in dark chocolate

An anti-inflammatory diet doesn’t have to be boring – in fact, dark chocolate has anti-inflammation properties, and you can indulge in a few pieces every now and then. Consider eating dark chocolate with pieces of apple or berries to further reduce inflammation.

Consume less dairy

Dairy contains saturated fat which you need for a healthy body, but too much of it can cause inflammation. Try cutting back on dairy or consuming dairy alternatives such as soy milk or almond milk.

It has been said that chronic inflammation is the root of most diseases, so choosing the right food can go a long way to keep you healthy. Choose to go on an anti-inflammatory diet and enjoy the full health benefits for years to come.

Preventing Childhood Ear Infections

by Ed

Every once in a while, as I’m browsing the web, I run into a post I wish I had written. Dr. Daisy has this great post about preventing childhood ear infections. Being an acupuncturist, the only thing I would add is to try Chinese Medicine to treat your child’s ear infection. Since antibiotics can perpetuate the problem of repeated ear infections, you need to find another way to treat them. Chinese Medicine has some very effective antibacterial herbal formulas. Like antibiotics, they can be overused and they can lead to a deficiency of beneficial bacteria in your gut, but they have certain advantages.

  • Bacteria are less resistant to them because they have not been overused, also because each formula has more than one antibacterial component.
  • Chinese Medicine has always been holistic, looking at the forest, instead of the needles on the trees. Therefore, formulas are designed to lessen side effects. Your child’s digestive tract is far more likely to come out unharmed and their immune system won’t take a beating.
  • They taste terrible, so your child will get better quickly to avoid taking them again. (Just joking, there are many child friendly formulas these days.)

Do check out Dr. Daisy’s great post on preventing childhood ear infections, and consider a practitioner of Chinese Medicine the next time your child gets one.

Prostate Health

by Ed

Prostate problems are much more commonly talked about, these days, than they were 10 years ago. There are basically four problems you can have with your prostate. Younger men are more likely to get acute or chronic prostatitis, and older men, benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH or enlarged prostate) and prostate cancer. If you have any urinary symptoms, such as difficulty starting or stopping or weak flow of urine, it is important to get your prostate checked by your doctor. Once you know what you have, it may be better to go with alternative medicine than western.

For acute prostatitis, if you are not a frequent user of antibiotics, and your immune system and digestive system are in good shape, antibiotics are probably the fastest and best way to treat your condition. Be sure to take a probiotic, such as acidophilus, after the antibiotics, to rebalance the intestinal flora. For other men with acute and for all men with chronic prostatitis, I recommend Chinese Herbal Medicine. For the chronic condition, antibiotics have a very poor success rate, and you will have to be on them far too long for the health of your gut and immune system. Chniese herbs are very effective at killing the bacteria in the prostate, with a much lower impact on the good bacteria in the intestines. However, you will still want to take probiotics to keep the intestines healthy. Chronic prostatitis will take many months to resolve, and your herbalist may recommend various lifestyle changes to help the process.

For BPH there are several excellent herbal formulas available now. Ask your health food store to recommend one, if you do not have a herbalist. At the very least, take saw palmetto for the symptoms. It is not a bad idea for any man over 50 to take saw palmetto to keep the prostate healthy.

Cancer is a scary subject for most people, and often a difficult condition to treat. Luckily most prostate cancer is very slow growing. In fact, more men die with it than of it. However, there are some faster growing ones, which seem to be on the rise. Also, with men living longer than before, even the slower growing ones are life threatening. Older men would do well to get their PSA levels checked regularly. Personally, I would choose Chinese herbs at the first signs of potential cancer, but I would certainly not rule out Western Medicine. If you have a slow growing cancer and Chinese herbs work, you will be a lot better off than if you treat it with Western Medicine.

Finally, unresolved emotional issues can be a contributing factor in prostate problems, especially chronic prostatitis and BPH. For younger men, I would ask myself if there were any childhood messages about sex being bad or dirty, or if you are aware of any guilt or shame around sex. For older men it is more likely to be feelings of losing manliness along with virility. Working through those issues can be very helpful in reducing symptoms and overcoming the disease.

Beware of hospitals

by Ed

Yesterday, I saw a program on CBC about infections in hospitals. You can see it here. It was a scary eye opener. In Canada, 8,000 people a year die from infections they picked up in the hospital. That’s as many as die from AIDS, car accidents and breast cancer, combined. They estimate that if hospital workers washed their hands as often as they should, that 30 to 50 percent of those deaths would be prevented. Healthcare workers usually only wash their hands between 5 and 30 per cent of the time, and doctors are the worst offenders. If you go to the hospital for treatment you have a one in nine chance of catching an infection while you are there. If you have to go, the best recommendation is to make sure you have hand cleanser in your room, and ask everybody that comes in to use it.