All too often, we hear about a sort of “war” between Western medicine and traditional Eastern remedies. Many health experts choose to get behind one and denounce the other – which is highly counterproductive, as both have important functions and benefits.
Because of this familiar divide, it is highly encouraging to see doctors who are embracing the medicines of the West and the East, and integrating both into their practice. This has a world of benefits for patients, who are then given more options, and more knowledge, to better navigate their health.
One such doctor is Dr. Aaron Michelfelder, a family medicine and integrative medicine physician and professor at Loyola University in Chicago. In a recent publication, Dr. Michelfelder recommends some of the principles of traditional Chinese medicine to help us thrive during the cold season.
Dr. Michelfelder states, “traditional Chinese medicine teaches us to live in harmony with the seasons to protect our health. Making certain adjustments to our diet, sleep regimen and lifestyle will make us more in sync with nature and better equipped to cope with the plunging temperatures.”
Along with eating less, due to reduced physical activity in the winter months, Dr. Michelfelder recommends warming foods and herbs. These include foods such as hearty soups and stews, made with grass-fed meats, sweet potatoes, spicy peppers and winter squash. To keep you nice and toasty, make a big pot of one of these great immunity-boosting soups.
A few of the warming herbs that Dr. Michelfelder recommends include garlic, ginger and cinnamon. Cumin, turmeric and cayenne pepper are three more great options. Use these liberally to season your meals, or add to teas and smoothies, for antioxidant power plus a boost of warmth.
Dr. Michelfelder also recommends getting more sleep – nine to ten hours instead of seven to eight. This, he explains, is dictated by traditional Chinese medicine, because the days are shorter, and the nights naturally longer to allow for more rest. Getting enough downtime is also important, he says, and meditation can help slow our minds to get into the groove.
Feeling the winter blues already? Try these fun winter exercise ideas to get you moving and out of that slump.
-The Alternative Daily