Examine Heart Health with Traditional Chinese Medicine

Cardiovascular disease is the deadliest disease in the world. The World Health Organization estimates that 17.9 million people die from it each year.

What does Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) say about cardiovascular disease? The Epoch Times looked at TCM and its relationship to heart health.

It’s no secret that eating habits are an important factor in cardiovascular health. In fact, a long-term study in Japan showed that people who ate more salt and fewer vegetables, fruits, and fish had a significantly higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

Researchers from Japan’s Shiga University followed 9,115 Japanese people, aged 30 to 79, for 29 years. The study, published in Japan’s Circulation Journal, aimed to assess participants’ daily vegetable, fruit, fish and salt intake.

The researchers found that a low intake of vegetables, fruits and fish, combined with a higher intake of salt, increased the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. When daily vegetable, fruit, and fish intake was less than 175 grams, 100 grams, and 40 grams respectively, and salt intake was greater than 8 grams for men and 7 grams for women, deaths from disease cardiovascular increased by 2.87 times. . The study researchers produced a Cardiovascular Risk Assessment Chart, which encourages individuals to assess their diet to ensure they are eating a certain amount of vegetables, fruit, fish and salt. This table can be used as the basis for nutrition and health advice by registered dietitians.

The Japanese study highlights the role daily diet plays in cardiovascular health. This fits well with an TCM approach, which emphasizes that people should exercise restraint and balance in their daily diet, rather than eating whatever they want.

Xiaoxia He, a former traditional Chinese medicine doctor in Shanghai, told The Epoch Times that cardiovascular disease is one of the most common illnesses among the elderly and is difficult to cure.

Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that long-term stress leads to Qi stagnation. Qi is one of the fundamental concepts of Chinese medicine and can be understood as “vital energy”. Qi stagnation occurs when the energy inside the human body does not flow as smoothly and freely as it should, which in turn leads to poor blood circulation. Additionally, overexertion, irregular meals, or overeating can put an extra load on the heart. Therefore, stress relief, positive thinking, a moderate and regular diet, and lifestyle changes are essential elements for cardiovascular health.

In addition, diabetic, hypertensive and hyperlipidemic patients are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. Therefore, maintaining normal blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol are also critical factors in cardiovascular health.

food as medicine

“Let food be your medicine” is one of the theoretical tenets of traditional Chinese medicine. Dr. He offered five dietary recommendations for the prevention of cardiovascular disease:

1. Eat less sugar and fat. Avoid a strong flavored diet.

2. Eat more seafood like kelp, jellyfish, mussels and seaweed. Seafood contains high quality protein, unsaturated fatty acids and a variety of inorganic salts. Seafood can help block the intestinal absorption of cholesterol, while softening blood vessels.

3. Follow a low-salt diet. The sodium in salt can cause high blood pressure, which exacerbates coronary heart disease.

4. Eat more foods rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C can promote the hydroxylation of cholesterol, thereby reducing the buildup of cholesterol in the blood and tissues.

5. Be disciplined at every meal. Stop eating after you feel 70% full.

Dr. He quoted the classic work of traditional Chinese medicine, The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine: “Stay detached and mindless, and true Qi will flow easily. By connecting with the inner spirit, how could illness arise? The essence of traditional Chinese medicine is to calmly nurture the mind and promote optimism. Happiness, joy, anger, sadness, concern and fear should not be excessive. This mind-body connection makes it perfect for an age when so many people struggle with mental illness.


Ellen Wan has worked for the Japanese edition of The Epoch Times since 2007.

Weber Lee


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