Foods to Eat to Help Depression

Many have heard the question posed what came first, the chicken or the egg? But how does that concept apply to depression? It’s well-known that when we’re depressed, our motivation and interest in maintaining a healthy and balanced diet subsides in the same way our energy does. Harvard Medical Students positioned that same question in relation to depression; what came first, depression or a poor diet?

Thankfully, researchers have addressed this question and found that a healthy diet was indeed associated with a significantly decreased risk of developing depressive symptoms. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, patients were treated for two years with antioxidants or placebos. After two years, those who were treated with antioxidants had a significantly lower depression score. 


WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

Eating healthy foods gives you a better chance to reduce your depressive symptoms than eating a diet of processed food that may be high in sugars and fats.

Additionally, it’s known that there are approximately 10 times as many bacterial cells as human cells in the body. These bacteria serve many purposes including the curation of Vitamin K, digesting the food we consume and even regulating our immune system.

This implies that maintaining a healthy gut bacteria and overall diet can improve your mood.

SO, WHAT SHOULD I EAT?


Suggested foods to eat are lots of green leafy plants (including fruits and vegetables), whole unprocessed grains, seeds & nuts, and lean proteins such as yogurt or fish. To break them down even further, take note of the following foods and their purpose (all of which fight depression):

 Inflammation: Spinach, Kale, Swiss Chard, Berries, Mushrooms and Onions.

Mood Boosting & Omega 3: Walnuts, chia seeds, Fish (salmon, tuna and sardines), and even certain brands of egg or yogurt.

Oleic Acid: Avocado, cheese, pasta and meats such as chicken, beef or pork

Antioxidants: Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries are some of the highest antioxidant foods available to us. Other foods include sweet potato, oranges, and peppers. 

Folic acid and alpha-lipoic acid: Tomatoes, broccoli, spinach and brussels sprouts.

WHICH FOODS SHOULD I AVOID?


Avoid foods made with added sugars or flours such as baked goods (donuts and pastries), breads, pastas and cereals. One should also minimize the consumption of animal fats, processed meats such as bacon, and even butter.

OTHER ITEMS TO CONSIDER


It’s important to remember that health starts from within. Maintaining a healthy balance of self-care, such as providing yourself with adequate sleep, hydration and physical activity is just as important as eating well.

There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that supports the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Having balanced health helps with everything from cardiovascular disease, dementia, cancer and even mental health disorders including- you guessed it – depression!

If this article has inspired you to turn a new leaf and start becoming healthier, be sure to follow our social media pages. We post other content on health, acupuncture, traditional chinese medicine and so on that can help you keep your life on track.

Don’t forget! Schedule an acupuncture appointment with us if you have any questions about depression and how traditional Chinese medicine can help.

Every Day Health Link

Harvard Health Link

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Top Health Benefits Of Acupuncture

Acupuncture is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and is practiced in many different forms which include herbal remedies, cupping, and massage, which have all been used for thousands of years. The basis of TCM is the idea of qi, the body’s vital energy.

TCM treatments promote the movement of qi throughout the body in order to help bring balance back to the body. The goal of acupuncture is to correct this imbalance which can cause a variety of ailments and conditions that you may currently have.

Acupuncture uses very thin needles (which have been compared to being as small as cat whiskers) that stimulate pressure points and other areas of your body. It stimulates qi by placing needles in specific spots, often along meridians. Meridians are the channels that qi travels in the body.


Acupuncture can help with many health conditions, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Chronic pain, including joint pain
  • Depression
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Trouble sleeping and insomnia
  • Nausea and digestive trouble
  • Back pain and sciatica
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Tinnitus (ringing ears)
  • Weight loss

Below are the top five ways that acupuncture can help

  1. Relieves Pain

    Acupuncture can help alleviate many types of pain that may range from headaches and migraines to neck and back pain. These studies have shown its effectiveness in treating lower back pain, migraines, tension headaches, and knee pain. Acupuncture works differently for everybody. For some, a single treatment can alleviate symptoms for several months while others need a more routine treatment schedule.

  2. Improved Sleep

    Another thing that we Acupuncture can help improve is sleep and insomnia. Scientists believe that acupuncture increases the production of brain chemicals that promote relaxation, thus allowing for better sleep.

  3. Uplift Mood

    Acupuncture can help with improving mood, including helping with depression, stress, and anxiety. The needles from acupuncture treatment release endorphins in the body. Endorphins are hormones that provide a boost in mood, encouraging happiness and relaxation.

  4. Help the Heart

    Acupuncture is also good for your heart due to the relaxation and stress reduction that one achieves from the treatments, which are also known to reduce blood pressure. Stress and high blood pressure are commonly related to heart attacks and heart disease.

  5. Support the Immune System

    Research has shown that acupuncture can boost immune system function. The placement of acupuncture needles can release immune-boosting cytokines. Cytokines are messenger cells that regulate the body’s immune response. By triggering the immune system, acupuncture can help fight infections or illnesses like colds and the flu.


  6. If you deal with any of the above symptoms or think that acupuncture may be right for you- schedule an appointment with us! We’d be happy to support you in achieving your health care goals right here in Duluth Minnesota!

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Traveling the Energetic Highway: What Are Meridians?

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a system that seems quite foreign to many in the Western world. However, this medical system has been around for over 3,500 years, in comparison to the Western medical system, which has been around since the 19th century. One of the concepts of TCM is that of the meridian or energetic pathways. This article will explore this concept a little more deeply.

What is a meridian? This is something that every acupuncture student asks when they begin their training. The simplest definition is that a meridian is an energetic highway in the human body. Meridians allow for the flow of energy, known as Qi (pronounced “chee”), to circulate throughout the body. Meridians exist in corresponding pairs and each meridian has multiple acupuncture points along the pathway. While it is tempting to think of meridians in the body the same way we think of the circulatory system, this would be incorrect. According to TCM, the meridian pathways are responsible for the “distribution” of the substances throughout the body, but physically, meridians have yet to be identified. Therefore, it is more logical to view the meridian system as an energetic distribution network.

All together there are fourteen main meridians throughout the body. One that runs up the center of the body on the front, another that runs along the spine and the other 12 run from head to toe along the rest of the body. Each limb is traversed by six channels, three that are considered yin in nature and three that are considered yang in nature. Yin channels are located on the inside surfaces and the yang channels are located on the outside surfaces. Each meridian is a yin yang pair, meaning that each yin organ (lung, heart, kidney, liver, spleen) is paired with its corresponding yang organ (large intestine, stomach, small intestine, bladder, gallbladder). In every living thing, there is yin and yang. Yin corresponds to water, darkness and cold, while yang corresponds to fire, daylight and heat. For the body to function properly, there must be balance between the yin and yang.

In addition to the main meridians, there are other meridians called “Extraordinary” meridians that are not associated with the major organ systems. These meridians have very specific functions. They act as reservoirs for Qi and blood. They circulate “substances” around the body, as they have a strong connection to the kidneys. They help circulate Wei Qi, which acts as the immune system. And they provide connections between the 12 regular channels.

When the Qi flows freely, the body remains healthy. However, due to outside causes like stress, the body’s meridians can become clogged or stagnant. When a blockage occurs along the meridians, illness can take hold.

Acupuncture is a wonderful way to unclog the meridians. Acupuncture points, herbal formulas, exercise and proper dietary habits all work in conjunction to keep the body aligned and functioning properly. To learn more, give us a call at (218) 724-3400 or stop by our office on 205 W. 2nd Street, Suite 502, in Duluth Minnesota. We’d love to help!

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Research Update – Acupuncture for Pain Management

Multiple studies have shown acupuncture can be very effective at managing pain. But a study performed by Albrecht et al, is probably one of the most frequently referenced studies. The researchers studied the effects of acupuncture on 424 patients who suffered with chronic shoulder pain. The analysis of the results showed acupuncture as an effective treatment, the participants reported decreased pain and increased range of motion and that it was even superior to the results achieved using conservative orthopedic treatments. This, as well as many other studies, show hope for the future of acupuncture becoming mainstream medicine in the battle against pain.

THE PAIN METRIC


Pain. Who hasn’t dealt with it? It is so common in the United States that it affects more people than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. Pain is the most common reason people go to see their doctor and also why we are currently experiencing an unprecedented opioid epidemic. Chronic pain is the most common cause of long-term disability according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Approximately one in every four Americans have suffered from pain that exceeds 24 hours. The type of pain and location of the pain will determine how it is treated when you go to see your doctor. And typically, the doctor will prescribe over-the-counter or prescription pain medications and they may also order more tests to determine if there is something more serious going on.

ACUPUNCTURE AND PAIN

This is where acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can work in conjunction with your primary care physician. Multiple studies have shown acupuncture can be quite effective at treating pain, both acute and chronic. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration is now urging doctors to obtain information about alternative treatment methods like acupuncture and chiropractic care. This came about in response to the opioid crisis occurring in the U.S. and killing thousands of people, including the rich and famous.

Since acupuncture has no real adverse side effects when performed by a qualified and professionally licensed practitioner, pain relief can begin the very first time a patient is treated.

Acupuncture treatments are very customizable because as a medicine, it’s not a “one size fits all” type of solution. This means that as the pain shifts and changes, the patient will receive customized treatments that not only address the pain and inflammation, but also work on resolving the root of the problem. Most patients who are dealing with pain also have added stress, insomnia and depression or anxiety. Acupuncture is great at treating all of these conditions. So the patient gets more than just pain relief.

THE EFFECTIVENESS OF ACUPUNCTURE

The stimulation of acupuncture points triggers the brain to release endorphins, which are painkilling chemicals that saturate the brain and decrease pain signals, both short-term and long-term. Acupuncture is so effective at treating and relieving pain it is now showing up in hospitals and emergency rooms. In fact, Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota is now successfully using acupuncture in its emergency room to treat conditions ranging from car accident injuries to kidney stones. Their initial results show that pain scores are just as low with acupuncture as they are with those given analgesic painkillers.

With these kinds of recommendations, it is hard to believe only about 10 percent of Americans have ever tried acupuncture. But that statistic is slowly changing as more and more people are seeking natural and alternative methods of dealing with pain and disease. If you suffer from pain of any kind and you are located in Duluth Minnesota, give us a call at (218) 724-3400 so we can give you the relief you’ve been seeking.

SOURCE: Science Direct Article

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Opioid Addiction: What Is It and Why Is It Prevalent Today

Opioids. A word all too common to today’s society. Since the late 1990s, the number of opioid-related deaths has increased dramatically, having taken the lives of nearly 64,000 Americans each year.

The opioid epidemic is considered to be the deadliest crisis in United States history and overdoses have also become the leading cause-of-death in people under the age of 50 in the United States.

OPIOID HISTORY

There are many theories regarding the opioid epidemic and how we got to this point. One thing is for certain is that it began in the 1990s and it started in the medical pharmaceutical industry.

During this period of time, medical doctors were being pressured to treat chronic pain more aggressively. In response to this pressure, doctors began prescribing long-term use of opioids so that patients could better deal with their pain. At the same time that this was happening, pharmaceutical companies were touting opioids as non-addictive and not harmful.

Doctors were prescribing drugs at higher rates and according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), by 2015, there were enough pills being prescribed to medicate every American daily for three weeks straight.

ADDICTIVE NATURE


There are many who may not know just how addictive opioids can be. Studies have shown that patients who take the medications for as little as a week have a higher chance of developing an addiction.

It’s a common occurrence for those who have previously been prescribed opioids to begin misusing them. Oftentimes, if their supply ran out or their prescription expired, getting medication from friends, family or buying them illegally was how people gathered them.

This behavior led to the medications being harder to obtain and people turning to black market forms of the drugs or using illegal drugs like heroin, to help battle their chronic pain.

USE OF OPIOIDS


Opioids are used to relieve pain because they lower the number of pain signals the body sends to the brain. They also change how the body responds to the pain. Opioids include codeine, fentanyl, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone and tramadol.

They tend to be safe when taken as prescribed, but since they are highly addictive, they can be easily misused and people don’t even realize they have an addiction.

This type of medicine alters the brain by creating artificial endorphins, which make you feel good. Overuse of them can cause the brain to actually stop making natural endorphins if opioids are used too frequently and at high dosages. Thus, the body becomes dependent on the synthetic drug and builds up a tolerance, which requires more and more of the drug to achieve the same level of pain relief.

ACUPUNCTURE AND OPIOIDS


Unfortunately, it seems this epidemic is not going away anytime soon. As doctors start to crack down on the prescriptions they are handing out, more and more people are seeking out other forms of pain-relief and that’s where Acupuncture comes into play!

The stimulation of acupuncture needles improves blood circulation and helps you heal naturally. Undergoing treatment from Traditional Chinese Medicinal practices can also help your body begin producing natural chemicals that are used as painkillers, thus relieving chronic pain without the addiction. 

Acupuncture is believed to rebalance energy and qi (the body’s life force) in order to alleviate pain and boost overall health from the inside out!

While there are numerous ways to treat opioid addiction, the fact remains the crisis is one that will be dealt with for generations to come, both physically and financially. If you have additional questions about opioid addiction and how you may benefit from acupuncture treatments, reach out to us at (218) 724-3400 and schedule an appointment!

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