The season of summer corresponds to the fire element and according to Chinese medicine the heart and cardiovascular system. Generally, people are much more physically active during the summer months, than any other months so it may not be surprising that many people become susceptible to symptoms of heart disease in the summer due to overexertion, overheating, and dehydration. However summer is also an opportunity to strengthen and revitalize your heart through appropriately paced cardiovascular exercises, joyful attitude, and heart-healthy eating.
Heart disease is currently one of the highest-ranked causes of early mortality in adults. There are many factors involved in heart health. Besides regular exercise, mental attitude and diet are among the most important.
Happy Mind Begets Healthy Heart
Since the heart tissue consists of more nerve cells than muscle cells what you feel emotionally actually takes place in your heart. So when poets lament love loss and the aching heart they are stressing their hearts out. Studies confirm that depressed and melancholic people are twice as likely to develop heart disease than non-depressed people. Likewise, joy and laughter are emotions that benefit the heart and reduce risk for developing heart disease and stroke. So dust off your favorite comedy shows or get together with happy friends for a laugh-fest that will make your heart very happy too!
An Apple a Day Keeps
the Heart Doctor Away
Studies have confirmed that apples significantly contribute to a healthy heart. In fact, eating two to three apples per day results in decreased cholesterol levels due to the fruit’s rich pectin content. Pectin also helps prevent colon cancer; you can think of it as a broom that sweeps our intestines. Munching apples is one snack temptation that is healthy to give in to!
Dr. Mao’s Braised Chicory with Red Wine Vinegar: A Heart-Healthy Side Dish
Chicory is a vegetable eaten in Asia and parts of Europe. In the United States, the root is more commonly roasted and brewed as a coffee substitute but it is also delicious when braised as a vegetable. Chicory contains a compound called inulin that has been found to be useful in preventing and treating congestive heart failure.
It is also helpful with lowering cholesterol and slow hardening of arteries. Similar benefits can be derived from vinegar, which is used as part of this simple but tasty recipe. Enjoy a new vegetable that not only satisfies your taste buds but also makes your heart strong and healthy.
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 8 chicory heads, trimmed
• 1/3 cup chicken stock
• 2 tsp red wine vinegar
• 1 tsp maple syrup
• 2 tbsp walnut oil
• 1 tbsp finely chopped chives, for garnish
1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over moderate heat. Add chicory and lightly brown on all sides. Add stock, vinegar, and maple syrup; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until tender, about 30 minutes. Uncover and continue to simmer until nearly all the liquid had evaporated. It depends on the heat setting, but generally, on low heat, it will take 10 to 15 minutes for full evaporation.
2. To serve: Ladle into bowls, drizzle with walnut oil and garnish with chives, if desired.
Chinese Herbs for Heart Health
There are three aspects to healthy heart function. First the blood supply to the heart muscles must be unimpeded to ensure abundant oxygen and nutrients. Second the heart organ itself must be strong and able to withstand physically and emotional demands place upon it. And last the rhythm of the heart must be regular and consistent in order to transport critical nutrients and oxygen to the rest of the body. Chinese medicine has long recognized these three aspects of optimum heart function and traditional herbal formulas have been carefully put together to support healthy function of the heart. One such formula is the heart formula, which combines herbs like schisandra berry, codonopsis and ophiopogonis. For more information about the formula, go to www.taostar.com
Enjoy your summer with a healthy and joyful heart! May you live long, live strong, and live happy!
Dr. Mao Shing Ni, popularly known as Dr. Mao, is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine and board certified anti-aging expert. He practices acupuncture, nutrition and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, a Wellness Medicine group that won the “L.A.’s Best” Award. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni founded Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica over 25 years ago. In addition, he is the cofounder and Chancellor of Yo San University in Venice/Marina del Rey. To subscribe to a free newsletter please visit www.taoofwellness.com To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment please call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at email@example.com