• The Acupuncture Clinic of Tom Ingegno L.Ac 907 Lakewood Ave Baltimore, MD 21224
  • P: (443) 869-6584
    • 11 FEB 13
    • 0

    The aging process

    Many people seem to believe that certain ailments, such as backache, joint problems, memory loss, cataracts, and diseases, such as osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disorders, strokes and Parkinson’s disease, are associated with growing older. They think that it is inevitable that they will eventually fall victim to one or more of these disorders once they become senior citizens. Although the aging process usually does involve some physical decline, so called age related conditions can occur at any stage of life and are not necessarily going to just because we are approaching, or are in, our ‘winter years’. According to oriental medicine, it is our individual constitution and lifestyle that will determine how we age. In TCM our vitality is controlled by the state of our kidneys. ”Jing”, vital essence, must remain strong throughout our lives in order to slow down the aging process. According to Ayurveda, the latter years are a time of vata dominance. There is a tendency for skin to become drier and duller and appetite to decrease. Sleep becomes lighter, there is a greater sensitivity to cold, and emotionally we become more anxious, nervous and fearful. In TCM this corresponds to deficient yin and yang. As assimilation of nutrients weakens as we grow older, a healthy diet becomes more important than ever. The following guidelines may help increase vitality and slow down the aging process.

    • Eat less as you grow older. Overeating is one of the main causes of premature aging. Learn to eat till you are only two-thirds full, and chew each bite of food thoroughly.
    • Eat more organic minerals obtained from seaweeds. These are the most fundamental nutrients. Avoid the use of refined sugar which will quickly deplete the body’s mineral condition. If you must have a sweetener, honey is the best, but remember not to heat or cook with it.
    • Eat more sprouts and baby vegetables. Think: young plants, young body. Always lightly cook them, unless you have symptoms of heat or excess conditions.
    • Eat more yin moistening foods (walnuts, black sesame seeds, flax seeds, seaweed, bananas, almonds), if you tend to be dry and thin, or vata dominant.
    • Include jing nurturing foods and tonics where appropriate. Be thoughtful of the rules of moderation and individual constitution and condition when choosing specific foods to build jing. In general, the following have the ability to protect the mind/body from premature aging in varying degrees: micro-algae, fish, liver, kidney, cereal grasses; almonds, milk* (of highest quality), ghee; nettles (cook lightly or use as a herb); royal jelly and bee pollen (good for conditions of deficiency); chicken, mussels, prepared rehmannia root; deer antler (for those with severe depletion of jing).
    • to tonify the kidneys directly, use black beans, seaweed, millet, wheat, black sesame seeds, black soybeans, chestnuts, mulberries, raspberries, strawberries, walnuts. Using black or dark colored food, and even clothing, can all help nourish kidneys and conserve jing.
    • For problems of senility in old age, try gingko biloba leaf, which has been shown to increase blood flow to the brain and reduce memory loss, ringing in the ears, vertigo and depression.

    * A note on the use of dairy products in old age. These can be beneficial if they are tolerated. However, they should be used cautiously in a person who is more robust or is already eating high-fat foods. If you are prone to being lactose intolerant, fermented dairy is a wiser choice, such as yoghurt, kefir and cottage cheese, etc.

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