Happy summer! This season can be a very energetic time of year: Many of us head to the outdoors for increased activities during the longer, warmer days. All the extra movement, relaxation and time in nature can do wonders for your health. But it’s also important to pay attention to your body’s vulnerabilities during the hottest time of year. In particular, we want to do everything possible to keep inflammation down, as the summer season tends to make inflammation and its many related conditions that much hotter.
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), summer relates to the fire element. On a physical level, TCM emphasizes the health of your heart and circulatory system during this season. As daylight increases, our energy and activity naturally expands, requiring strong circulation and balanced inflammatory responses to keep up with the increased demands.
Even more critical, however, is the fact that poor circulation creates a condition of stagnation in the body. Stagnant blood generates inflammation: the hallmark of a wide variety of chronic illnesses, including heart disease, dementia and cancer. Inflammation and poor circulation also contribute to hyperviscosity (thick blood).
This condition is sometimes due to genetic tendencies. About 25 percent of the population exhibits one or more genetic “defects” including elevated Lp(a), PAI-1 and/or or homocysteine. But hyperviscosity can also be caused by lifestyle, dietary habits, infections and traumas. When inflammation and hyperviscosity come together, they negatively affect every system in the body, especially the heart and cardiovascular system.
Heat brings more heart attacks
During summer, the combination of hot weather, chronic inflammation and lack of circulation can turn deadly, increasing the risks of heart attack, stroke and other serious cardiovascular events. Additional summer health risks such as heat stroke/heat exhaustion, burns and dehydration are all related to excess inflammation, causing our physiological engines to overheat.
So the most important step you can take to protect your health during summer is to keep chronic inflammation in check. This degenerative process of continuous overheating degrades your body through wear, tear and oxidative stress, serving as a primary function of the aging process and of countless degenerative, life-threatening diseases.
Control inflammation with botanicals and nutrients
Cardiovascular and circulatory health are a big focus in my clinical practice. For my patients, I recommend a Tibetan-based herbal formula that embraces the principles of both Ayurveda and Chinese medicine for a unique, natural and extensively researched approach to maintaining cardiovascular health. Its positive effects on circulation and inflammation are well-documented and have been the subject of numerous published clinical trials. Additional circulation boosting botanicals and enzymes include:
- Hawthorn berry
- Chinese salvia
- Omega-3 oils
- Enzymes such as nattokinase, lumbrokinase and others
Repairing chronic heat damage
When you live a high-paced lifestyle and don’t take time to relax, cool down, rehydrate or lubricate your body, your engine can overheat. Sometimes, this damage from chronic excess heat can be serious, requiring replenishment not just in the form of extra fluids and electrolytes, but also via fluid-generating herbs and botanicals that can help hydrate and maintain moisture in your tissues and organs.
This type of heat damage can be addressed by a group of botanicals called “body fluid regenerators.” They are classified as yin regeneration herbs in traditional Chinese medicine:
- Tian Men Dong (asparagus tuber) and Mai Men Dong (Ophiopogon tuber) work to promote blood and fluids in the heart, the lungs and the stomach.
- Shu Hu (Dendrobium stem) helps maintain moisture in the lungs, the stomach and the eyes.
- Zhi Mu (Anemarrhenae root) is an herb that’s very important for the stomach when you have severe dryness.
- Sheng Di Huang (Rehmannia) is significant for nourishing the blood which, in turn, moisturizes all body’s organs.
The nutraceutical supplement Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP) is becoming recognized for its ability to control the inflammatory protein, galectin-3. When galectin-3 levels in the body are elevated beyond the normal range, they fuel chronic inflammation and the progression of inflammation to fibrosis (uncontrolled scar tissue buildup).
Fibrosis is a potentially deadly, degenerative process that plays major roles in congestive heart failure, hardening of the arteries, kidney disease, cirrhosis of the liver, arthritis and much more.
According to the scientific literature, MCP is the most well-researched galectin-3 inhibitor. It has a unique molecular structure that allows it to enter the circulation and bind to excess galectin-3 molecules, blocking their harmful effects. MCP has also been shown in clinical research to remove toxic metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic from the blood without affecting essential minerals.
To learn more about how MCP fights inflammation, heart disease and much more, check out the new book by health author Karolyn Gazella, called New Twist on Health: Modified Citrus Pectin for Cancer, Heart Disease, and More.
A whole-foods diet rich in fruits, vegetables, unprocessed whole grains and essential fatty acids is also a crucial part of a strong, healthy circulatory system. The antioxidants, fiber and omega-3s provided by this type of diet minimize the effects of free radicals, promote healthy arteries and cool excessive heat.
Summer can be an exciting and rewarding time of year, offering more time in nature, new adventure, an abundance of healthy fresh produce and celebrations. If we take the right steps to promote our health in the midst of this season’s warmth and activity, we can reap the benefits of increased vitality and energy, rather than wilting away under the heat.
For more practical health and wellness information, visit http://www.dreliaz.org/