Eat ‘Yang’ Food This Winter

10 January, 2012 at 17:38 | Posted in Body & Mind, Food | Leave a comment
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By Ellen Wang, M.S. CHHC

According to traditional Chinese medicine, there is a close relationship between having nutritious food in the winter season and finding balance between yin and yang.

What we eat will create or remove blockages in our energy channels, as well as change our qi (energy) and blood circulation. During the cold winter season, having nutritious food is especially effective in improving our overall health and strengthening our immune system.

“Supplement the body when it is weak; warm the body when it is cold.” This is an important principle in traditional Chinese medicine. In winter, when it is cold, the key in eating well is to follow the course of nature (eat seasonally) and pay attention to cultivating “yang” energy in the body.

One should eat more food that is “warm” or “hot” in its energetic nature, especially the type of food that can strengthen the kidney energy. These types of food help improve the body’s ability to resist cold.

One may choose from grains like wheat or a variety of hearty whole grains, soybeans, peas, and vegetables like chives, garlic, turnips, or cauliflower. Eating warm, rich soups and roasted nuts also helps heat the body’s core and keep us well-nourished.

Avoid raw foods during the winter as much as possible, as these tend to cool the body.

Having food high in protein and fiber also helps. One of my favorite protein sources in the winter is duck. Duck meat is good to have with ginger to help with digestion. Chicken is good as well. It is “warm” and energetic, rich in protein, and the nutrients in chicken help prevent of colds.

Avoid ‘Cold’ Food

According to the theory of Chinese food energetics, there are five different categories of food: hot, warm, cool, cold, and neutral. In different seasons, we should eat different foods, including different fruits.

When the weather starts to turn cold in the fall, we should eat fewer melons such as watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, and cucumber, which is referred to as “green melon” in Chinese. Because they are “cool” in nature, eating a lot of melons in the winter can cause diarrhea.

Eating according to the seasons is especially important for older people because their organ functions are weaker, and they tend to have a cold stomach.

My number one winter fruit suggestion is pear. Pear nourishes “yin” and hydrates. Skin tends to become thinner and dry, even itchy in winter. Eating pears eases coughing and dry, itchy skin. Apple is another favorite fruit of mine in winter. Both apples and pears are “neutral” in nature, thus making them the preferable fruit choices in winter.

Ellen Wang is a certified holistic health counselor at Tao Institute of Mind & Body Medicine. She can be reached at ewang@taoinstitute.com.

via Eat ‘Yang’ Food This Winter | Nutrition | Health | Epoch Times

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Bacteria on Skin Affects Attractiveness to Mosquitoes

10 January, 2012 at 07:28 | Posted in Funny things :-), Nature, Science | Leave a comment
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By Ginger Chan
Epoch Times Staff

Having more types of bacteria on your skin might not sound very desirable, but it could save you from a mosquito bite, according to a study published in PLoS ONE on Dec. 28.

Human skin is host to a wide range of microorganisms, many of which metabolize components in sweat to produce compounds that make up an individual’s specific body odor. The research findings suggest that how attractive you are to mosquitoes depends on your unique scent, or in other words, the diversity of your skin microbes.

The results might have profound implications in the field of malaria prevention.

Niels Verhulst of Wageningen University in the Netherlands and colleagues collected scents from the feet of a group of male volunteers and exposed the odors to Anopheles gambiae, a major species of mosquitoes that carry the malaria parasite.

The researchers also cultured bacteria samples from the participants and found that individuals who were more attractive to the mosquitoes had a higher bacteria load but lower microbial diversity.

Participants with a higher count of Pseudomonas or Variovorax bacterial species or altogether higher microbial diversity were less attractive.

The team postulates that individuals with a wider range of microbes are more likely to host specific bacterial types that produce compounds that somehow interfere with the skin’s attractiveness to this African mosquito species.

“The discovery of the connection between skin microbial populations and attractiveness to mosquitoes may lead to the development of new mosquito attractants and personalized methods for protection against vectors of malaria and other infectious diseases,” wrote the study authors in their paper.

You can read the research paper here.

via Bacteria on Skin Affects Attractiveness to Mosquitoes | Inspiring Discoveries | Science | Epoch Times

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