The Heart according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is the ruler the emperor of all the internal organs.
Here are its functions
- Governs blood – the transformation of food-qi into blood takes place here, it circulates blood. If the heart is strong, blood is ample in supply and its circulation is good, a person is full of vigor with a strong constitution.
- Controls blood vessels – with good blood vessels, the pulse will be regular and full, that’s if the heart energy is strong.
- It manifests in complexion – the state of your heart will show up in the face. Deficient blood means a deficient complexion.
- It houses the mind – mental activity and consciousness reside in the heart. The state of the blood will affect mental activities including one’s emotional state. If the heart is strong you will have a less rocky emotional life. If the heart is weak, a blood deficient are prone to depression, poor memory, dull thinking is all a part of the issues that will arise.
- It is related to joy – Excessive joy will injure the heart and a balanced state of joy helps.
- Opens into the tongue – the colour, form, condition of the heart will affect speech.
- Controls sweat – think of circulation.
- Correspondences – it’s colour is red, the taste is bitter (morning bitter taste is deficient heart fire), the sound is laughing, it loathes heat. Controls speech.
1. It is the heart that controls the downward movement of qi and blood during menstruation
Heart weakness- how does it manifest: People with a weakness in this area will have a red or swollen-looking nose; in some cases, the tips of the nose may be seem swollen and even green in colour. The emotional state is that of not being joyful, and the complexion could also be sallow or have a dull colour. People who abuse refined foods: packaged foods, sugar, refined flours, simple carbohydrates, animal foods (excessive protein in the diet), intoxicants like alcohol, drugs; rich and greasy foods (bad fats), late-night eating, large dinners would build up to a heart weakness.
Preventing heart disease
Heart disease can be prevented very simply by altering or being mindful of diet and lifestyle, the following 5 factors are key when it comes to the prevention of heart disease.
- A wholefood diet
- A healthy body fat percentage
- Regular exercise
- Quitting smoking
- Minimizing stress
The underlying factors causing heart disease are –
- INFLAMMATION – Any ongoing inflammation is coming from a lot of different places. The root causes: Stress, bad diet, no exercise, bad sleep, loneliness, and isolation. Factors that drive inflammation: the faulty gut microbiome, that is loss of microbial diversity.
- SOME IMPORTANT MARKERS -The following could predispose you to heart disease: A faulty blood glucose level (insulin), a high HB1ac, high LDL *cholesterol, high blood pressure.
* Quality of cholesterol (patterns in cholesterol – quality matters). The same is true for HDL. Ask our doctor this question concerning the quality and size of cholesterol.
- METABOLIC SYNDROME – If you have metabolic disease – Which means you are not meeting some basic health numbers like: blood pressure, HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides; perhaps a high CRP (C-reactive protein) market.
- In India, 33% overall suffer from metabolic syndrome (MS). That is 1 in 3 people suffer from MS in India. Plus, being overweight does not help. Fewer than normal-weight people are metabolically healthy and have pre-diabetes syndrome. Being skinny is not being healthy. Insulin is one thing you want to keep a check on. Visceral adipose tissue.
- The elasticity of your arteries as opposed to big arteries full of plaque.
- A condition like a thyroid will affect cholesterol or low levels of vitamin D deficiency will affect heart disease.
The way to prevent heart disease or even help someone out of it can be done quite easily by adopting the foods and eliminating those listed below.
- Stay off sugars, sugary foods, refined carbohydrates; colas, sodas, soft drinks; hidden sugars in packaged foods, processed foods. This will keep you away from sugar spikes. Sodium. Excessive sodium has been linked to high blood pressure and heart disease. Avoid processed and canned foods, taste foods before you salt them and do not add salt while cooking, avoid foods that are visibly salted, and read labels (aim for no more than 1,500 mg sodium per day).
- Complex carbohydrates are a good source of sugars and fibre, and also promote smooth functioning of the digestive tract; ensuring proper waste elimination. Here, I cannot emphasize the necessity of whole grains from brown/red rice to any good millet that aids with the amounts of antioxidants and anti-aging benefits (brown rice alone has 70 anti-aging antioxidants). If someone is insulin resistant, it helps to keep these at a modicum in the diet. So, minimize what you may have in the day, 20% of daily volume consumption works well.
- Good quality protein helps you stay satiated, keep blood sugars stable. Protein also maintains our muscles; your intestinal lining has muscle fibres; this means lean protein if you eat fish and meats and plant-based protein if you are a vegetarian/vegan. Excess protein (animal protein) is not good for you, so balance it with vegetables and greens. We don’t want those pathways getting blocked we must maintain the quality of blood being clean and not toxic.
- Vegetables, which not only have good quality fibre; especially coloured vegetables that have plenty of beta carotene that converts to Vitamin A to repair skin (of the gut lining). Plus, leafy greens and green vegetables (also in the form of barley grass or wheatgrass), mimic the blood structure and are necessary for cleansing the blood and the much-needed chlorophyll they provide.
- Fermented foods, serve as a crucial part of any diet plan supplying good amounts of probiotics to nourish our guts. Foods like sauerkraut, quick pickles, non-dairy kefir, kimchi are highly recommended.
- Nuts and seeds bring in the trace minerals, good fats, and oils that are needed.
- Fruits again provide a plethora of vitamins and antioxidants to help gut repair.
- Just the right amount of water or liquids as too much will loosen and expand our tissues, a lot of water comes from the foods you eat. An excess of liquids puts pressure on the kidneys, bladder, and sweat glands as well; making us tired over time. We need just enough, one way of measuring this is to ask ourselves: are we thirsty?
- Adding sea vegetables like spirulina helps in detoxification, vitamins, protein, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Workout and exercise regularly, and keep your lifestyle in check by establishing regular eating habits, sleep habits, and positive thoughts.
Special foods that help the heart: Apart from the diet which is given above focus on: all whole grains especially amaranth (rajgeera); buckwheat (kuttu); include pungent foods like radish, onions, mustard, garlic; include magnesium rich foods (given in kidney section) as it will help alleviate the not so joyful state. Herbs include dill (suha), basil, chamomile (babunphul), catnip (fudina), and use ghee. Green tea. It provides EGCG, a polyphenol that may help to moderate inflammation and lower cholesterol. Substitute a cup of heart-healthy green tea for your morning coffee or afternoon soda. Whole soy protein. If you substitute whole soy protein, such as edamame or tofu, for animal protein each day, you can lower levels of homocysteine, a toxic amino acid linked to an increased risk of heart disease.