Improving eye health can be as simple as switching up your diet and adding some healthier choices. Certain foods can have a great impact on not only overall health but vision as well. Below are some natural foods that are great to eat on a daily basis.
Carrots: Carrots are filled with beta-carotene, a vitamin A that is good for retina health and overall eye function.
Leafy greens: Spinach, kale, arugula and other similar greens are full of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin that have been shown to lower the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. Bottom line, up your salad intake!
Fish: Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and trout are packed with the omega-3 fatty acid DHA. DHA is known to help chronic dry eyes. Those with dry eye syndrome tend to have a lower level of DHA than average. Another option can be fish oil supplements with DHA.
Eggs: Eggs are overall a great health food, filled with calcium, iron, zinc and folate. Eggs also have lutein and vitamin A, which helps night blindness and dry eyes.
Whole grains: Whole grains are another food that can be important in any diet for a healthy lifestyle. Grains such as quinoa, buckwheat and spelt have a low glycemic index, which can help lower the risk of macular degeneration.
Citrus fruits and berries: Not only are they tasty, but fruit such as oranges, berries and grapefruit are full of vitamin C, which can reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
Legumes: Legumes such as kidney beans, black-eyed peas and lentils contain high amounts of bioflavonoids and zinc, which can help retina health and reduce the risk of eye disease.
Pistachios. Most nuts are good for health, but pistachios are especially helpful for the eyes. This nut contains lutein and zeaxanthin as well at vitamin E. These vitamins can significantly lower the risk of cataracts and other eye diseases.
Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that eye diseases are related to deficiencies in the liver and kidney organs and result from an imbalance in the body. There are many ways to improve eye health and prevent damage down the road. Finding the root of the problem and taking preventative measures is important when it comes to eye health. Below are simple ways for healthier vision.
Eat right. Certain foods are great for eye health. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables has been known to improve eye health. Specifically, try adding in more spinach, kale or collard greens into your diet. Fish such as salmon, tuna and halibut are filled with omega-3 fatty acids, which are also great for eye health.
Give it a rest. If you’re like most working adults and spend hours on the computer every day, make sure you’re taking breaks from screen time to reduce eye strain. The best strategy is the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes looked 20 feet away from your computer for 20 seconds.
Protect your eyes. Protect your eyes just like you would your skin when in the sun. Make sure to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from damaging UV rays. Make sure to find sunglasses that offer both UVA and UVB protection.
Quit smoking. There are many health reasons to quit smoking. A lot of people aren’t aware that smoking can expose your eyes to high levels of oxidative stress, which damages blood vessels. Smoking can increase your risk for many health problems that affect the eye. Contact a doctor to discuss ways to quit.
Know your history. Many eye problems can be genetic. See if family members have any eye conditions and make sure to get regular check ups if this is the case to help maintain healthy vision.
Take care of your contacts. It is easy to get into bad habits when it comes to contact wearing. Make sure to replace your contacts at the recommended time. Wash your hands before touching your contacts and take them out at night to give your eyes the rest and oxygen it needs.
Acupuncture. A number of studies found that acupuncture may have positive effects on people who suffer from chronic dry eye. One study showed that acupuncture could help reduce tear loss that those with dry eye usually experience. Common eye problems that acupuncture can treat include glaucoma, cataracts, chronic dry eyes, macular degeneration, optic neuritis, optic atrophy.
Oh yes, pollen counts this week are high high high and let me tell you, those of us with tree pollen and grass allergies are definitely feeling it. Itchy eyes, post nasal drip, headache, fatigue ah... so much fun.
It is certainly lovely that there are sites like Pollen.com (as referenced above) that can tell us what is expected and coming so we can plan accordingly. But if you are tired of the flonase - claritin - allegra routine, or if you find that these interventions including immunotherapy therapy just aren't enough, Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine might be just the ticket.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine recognize allergies as a specific energetic deficiency in the body which decrease your physical and energetic ability to deal with external pathogenic factors. Typically this includes some combination of Spleen, Kidney and Lung weakness which leads to a "Wei Qi" or "protective Qi" deficiency. It is Wei Qi that prevents you from getting sick.
By clearing the attacking pathogen out of the body and then strengthening the Lung, Spleen, Kidney and Wei Qi specifically, we can bolster the bodies' defenses thus decreasing allergy symptoms in the immediate and, over time, decreasing your reactivity overall.
It can be a long cycle of treatment since it is two fold:
Step One: during the active allergy season, is to clear allergens from the body and focus on Wei Qi to get through the season. This is typically done through a combination of Acupuncture and herbs that primarily address symptoms. Common formulas are Cang Er Zi Wan, Chuan Xiong Wan and Blue Earth Dragon.
Step Two: during the off season, is to tonify or strengthen the Spleen, Lung and Kidney towards a long terms solution of bolstering these organs and their ability to generate (super) strong Wei Qi. This too is done through tonic herbs and acupuncture. Often herbs are emphasized here. Most common formula is called Jade Windscreen.
Herbs will be individually matched to your symptoms and needs, just like treatment. We call this Syndrome Differentiation in Chinese Medicine, which refers to the fact that everyone presents a little differently and therefore is treated in an individual and unique way.
So, what does this mean for allergy suffers right now? There's help and support that is natural and effective! As an allergy sufferer myself, and someone who has treated too many allergy sufferers to count over the past 10 years of service, I can definitely assure you that acupuncture is an effective option. It can be used in combination with western methods to enhance their effects or alone as a sole solution. The severity of your symptoms, their duration and the timing of your treatment with relation to the season will determine what interventions are recommended.
If you have questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me anytime - I have lots of experience to speak to and offer! And if you're ready to give it a try, please book in online at your earliest convenience. And read on if you want to know more about Acupuncture research for strengthening the immune system - it works!
Research into Acupuncture for Immunity
Acupuncture has been proven to be benefcial to the immune system in numerous studies. One study published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 2014 analyzed cancer patients after they received acupuncture treatment. The study found that there was a signi cant increase in blood cells as well as a decrease in fatigue after the acupuncture treatment. Overall, the study concluded acupuncture can boost the immune system and increase immune cells. Another study published in Evidence- Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that acupuncture has been reported to improve symptoms of allergies,
which is an abnormal immune response. The study concluded that for the patients tested, there was evidence that acupuncture treatment helped lower in ammatory properties in the body to alleviate symptoms. If you are su ering from any form of an autoimmune disorder contact an acupuncturist to learn more about how treatment could help you.
NADA, which stands for the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association, was established in 1985 to promote the NADA protocol acupuncture treatment for addiction. The non-profit organization promotes advocacy and the use of a non-verbal, pharmaceutical free approach to behavioral health. The protocol uses five specific acupuncture points on the ear to treat addiction and to be an alternative to methadone.
The NADA protocol differs slightly from other acupuncture treatment. The treatment usually involves needling in both of the patient’s ears for about 30 minutes. The treatment is done in a group setting for support for those being treated as they recover from addiction.
The NADA protocol is about more than just acupuncture, but really about being a step in a sometimes long road to recovery.
Patients are treated in a quiet, peaceful room. Each patient gets the exact same treatment. Group treatment is emphasized to address feelings of denial and create an open, safe environment.
Those in recovery from addiction commonly report feelings of an improved sense of purpose and well being after treatment. Acupuncture is known for its relaxing benefits, which is especially helpful for those in recovery. Patients are able to destress in their treatment process to help them continue to make progress.
Most common effects of the NADA protocol include:
There are a lot of factors that come to play in addiction treatment. Along with counseling, support groups and/or 12-step programs, the NADA protocol can help make recovery easier and more successful.
For more information about NADA go to: http://www.acudetox.com/
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.