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The Walnut Brain Connection

   

In Chinese medicine walnuts are classified as both a nutritional food therapy and an herb.  In Chinese medicine we take into account the flavor, quality, temp and color of a particular food to determine which elements are beneficial to a patient that needs to balance corresponding parts of the body. In this case, walnuts are considered to be warming in nature.  This means that they nourish the yang qi- the outward, upward and warming energy of the body.  From a treatment standpoint, walnuts would be a good food to eat after an over consumption of foods that are cold in nature causing digestive issues.  The warming nature and oily character of walnuts helps to improve and move the gut.

In TCM foods have different characteristic elements which explain which organs they are beneficial for.  Walnuts are believed to benefit the lungs, kidneys and large intestines.  They help the lungs by treating chronic cough, skin conditions and asthma.  Walnuts help to lubricate and warm the large intestine thereby treating constipation.  They are especially good as a kidney tonic by treating libido, pain in the back of knees and low back and fertility.  In fact in a recent Asian medical study consumption of walnuts showed an increased sperm count in study participants.  Walnuts are also used to help treat insomnia but raising serotonin levels in the body.  Finally, we also look at what organs foods look like to determine which organs they treat.  Its well known that walnuts look like the brain and its even more well known that walnuts are an excellent food for brain organ health.

Walnuts are also very hight in Omega-3.  An essential fatty acid (EFA) that supports heart and brain function.  Walnuts are packed with antinflammatory properties.  This means that they help fight cancer and diabetes. They’re also packed with vitamin E, minerals and B vitamins.  As if that weren’t enough, they also help with weight loss by giving the stomach a full feeling. 

Food recommendations in Chinese medicine are rarely a one-off.  Its usually part of an overall treatment plan.  Walnuts, for example, are not a one size fits all cure for anything but rather an important part of a whole package.  I love discussing nutrition with my San Diego acupuncture patients.  Hop on into my Bankers Hill, North Park or Mission Hills office for acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine.   

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