Tag Archive: community


Keeping Your Heart Healthy

I’ve been a bit lax on writing my blog, but I’m happy to say I’ll be posting much more regularly from now on. This week’s topic turns out to be news on some foods that are especially beneficial for cardiovascular health.

I’m very happy to bring you this exciting news about pomegranate juice: It turns out that there’s good evidence that drinking as little as 50 ml (about one-fifth of a cup) of pomegranate juice daily can help to not only prevent the progression of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) but can actually reverse heart disease, by as much as 30% in three years. See the following articles:

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/how-clean-your-arteries-one-simple-fruit

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/article/pomegranate-reduces-intima-media-thickness-size-artery-while-also-reducing

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/article/pomegranate-juice-has-potent-antiatherogenic-effects-healthy-humans-and

Also on the subject of heart disease, it’s widely known that one of the most common class of drugs prescribed for this are statins, which are meant to reduce cholesterol. In fact, some doctors suggest that statins ought to be prescribed for children!. But are there any natural alternatives? This author argues that supplementation with niacin does as well or better than statins, with fewer side effects: http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v01n10.shtml.

Actos is a drug commonly prescribed for lowering blood pressure; however an unfortunate side effect (one of several) is that it often raises the risk of stroke. It turns out that there’s evidence that simply eating cherries or drinking cherry juice does just as well or better than Actos, without the dangerous side effects. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130423102129.htm, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080407114647.htm. While these are studies on specially bred rats and not on humans, the results are encouraging.

And then we have hibiscus tea. I mentioned hibiscus in an earlier blog post, which referred to evidence that hibiscus is one of the most antioxidant-rich plants out there. It turns out that some studies show a positive connection between hibiscus tea consumption and successful management of metabolic syndrome (which includes diabetes), and that it also tends to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. See http://www.naturalnews.com/043393_hibiscus_herbal_tea_cardiovascular_health.html#ixzz2qL5KP8Pm. You can get hibiscus leaves in bulk from your local supermarket and make a tea by simply immersing a couple of tablespoons of it in a pitcher of water overnight (you can leave it in the fridge). With a squeeze of lemon and some mint it is really quite delicious, similar to fruit punch.

All this news about food and supplements is encouraging, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the most important and powerful ways you can help keep your heart healthy: be part of an active social community! It turns out that social isolation increases your risk of death from heart disease by up to 250%: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21492978, http://www.pnas.org/content/110/15/5797.full, http://eurjhf.oxfordjournals.org/content/14/7/748.abstract, and also increases your risk of heart failure, stroke, and other illnesses http://wellness.unl.edu/wellness_documents/lack_of_social_support_and_effects_of_coronary_heart_disease.pdf. This is true even when correcting for factors like body weight and so on. The good news in this, of course, is that by not being socially isolated – by cultivating a social network of people you regularly meet physically (Facebook doesn’t count, we need physical contact!) – you become healthier. Real human contact is not yet something one can put in a pill!

Starting Saturday, April 21st, we are going to offer a free Veteran’s clinic at OHCA, first and third Saturdays of the month from 1 to 5 pm. Acupuncture can help relieve pain, reduce symptoms of stress and trauma such as PTSD, boost energy, and reawaken the inherent healing processes of the body to restore health and well-being. The acupuncture will be free of charge to veterans. You can make an appointment online (Click here), or by calling (206) 659-9598; walk-ins are also welcome.

OHCA is not officially affiliated with AWB (Acupuncturists Without Borders) or SAVe (Seattle Acupuncture for Veterans), mainly because I don’t want us to be limited to the 5 needle protocol. AWB and SAVe have been doing excellent work with the 5 NP, and veterans going to those clinics “are experiencing benefits such as a full night’s sleep for the first time in years and fewer bad dreams. They are reporting improved mental clarity, less anxiety and a reduction in stress. Acupuncture is currently being investigated by the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington D.C. as a viable treatment modality for PTSD in returning veterans and the military has started using acupuncture in the battlefield to help with pain” (from http://blog.seattlepi.com/sassycitygirl/2011/11/06/11-11-11-what-are-you-going-to-do-sing-the-blues-for-veterans/). But I’ve long felt the need to provide a space where veterans can be treated with attention to their individual complaints, so at OHCA we’re going to treat individually, just like regular community acupuncture.

If you know any veteran who could use our services – or practitioner willing to donate their time here – please pass this info on. Thank you!