BLOOD - The stuff of life.
Blood is the essence of life. We know this intellectually and we know it carries oxygen via iron and nutrients to each and every cell of the body, and then carries away with if the de-oxygenated blood for cleansing and replenishing. However there is so much more to blood than meets the eye.
Blood is an organ in of itself. It’s acts as a whole and is the super-highway that carries not only precious nutrients but also glucose, hormones and a myriad of other communication cells that then travel the body passing on directions to organs and cells alike. It’s responsible, for example for relaying the adrenaline from the adrenals that sit on top of your kidneys to your heart saying ‘beat faster we need to run’ and to the muscles increase their uptake so that we can run, simultaneously diverting blood away from the gut (no time to digest now, we must run!). And then, when the crisis is over, the blood then delivers the Nor-adrenaline to you brain and body to relax, heart can slow, excess metabolites in the muscles and cleared (lactic acid that if not cleared gives you a painful cramps) and allows blood to return to your gut ready for a meal.
This is just one of the millions of messages relayed in the blood stream including messages to the liver to release glucose for stores as the need arises, time to sleep, time to wake, time to cleanse the toxins from the liver, time to feed the brain, time to make love, time to dream. Literally everything, even the nerve cells that relay electrical and chemical messages need good blood to do their job.
This is why understanding more about this precious fluid of life is vital for a good healthy, happy long life.
Blood is approximately 90% water, this hydration is vital for blood health, and as blood functions through osmosis, salt and protein levels must be balanced or we wrinkle up and dehydrate, or if your protein levels are low your blood leaches the water into the surrounding tissues resulting in Oedema (I see this in many people who do not eat animal protein (meat/eggs/dairy) without replacing with enough lentils, nuts, seeds, beans etc). So it vital to eat good protein in every meal as well and small amounts of good quality sea salt so that the blood can transfer their nutrients to our cells as salt acts as the ‘gates’ that open and ‘close’ the cell. Every single cell.
Blood also contains our immune cells that destroy bacteria, eat foreign invaders and Natural Killer Cells that destroy and consume cancer and other damaged cells in the body. Blood is made in the bones, so very amazing when you think about it. Every day the bone marrow produces 200Billion red blood cells, 10 Billion White blood cells and 400 Billion platelets. Mind blowing.
No wonder, in Chinese medicine theory we understand that blood not only is a chemical cocktail, it is the essence and residence of the shen (spirit of essence of life). This is why when you loose a lot of blood, you can go into psychosis, or is you have chronic low blood levels or poor nutrition your emotions become unstable and you cannot sleep well. If there is not the right nutrients being delivered to your cells, they simply cannot do their role, this includes the brain.
Good blood foods include, fresh leafy greens such as Kale (cooked as raw it can affect thyroid function), spinach, red cabbage beetroot, carrots, Gou Ji Berries, grapes, blueberries, blackberries, Mulberries. Soups with well soaked and well-cooked beans such as red kidney beans, adzuki beans etc, and lots of good root veggies and greens are fantastic and not just for winter!! Feel free to pop into the clinic for receipe ideas.
Until Next time Stay well
Dr Angela Palmer
Kinglake Chinese Medicine