Points - Ask the Doctor

Q: Iíve heard about chronic fatigue syndrome and I suspect that Iím suffering from it. What is CFS and how can it be diagnosed? Also, what foods would you recommend for someone who suffers from CFS, or simply wants to improve their energy and feel more vital?

A: The medical community has classified CFS as a "syndrome" because it is a group of symptoms that are present at the same time with no discernible underlying medical condition. These symptoms include severe exhaustion, recurrent fatigue that gets worse with physical exertion, muscle aches, headaches, sore throat, and recurrent colds that linger for long periods of time. Currently, there are no definite tests for diagnosis. Your healthcare provider may make a diagnosis based on the symptoms alone. But if you suspect that you may be suffering from CFS, you need to discuss it with your medical doctor or seek help from a qualified alternative medicine practitioner. Acupuncture, Chinese herbal and nutritional therapies, lifestyle counseling, Tai Chi and Qi Gong are a combination of methods Iíve used to help my patients successfully overcome CFS, build up the bodyís energy reserve, and bring the body back to its natural state of balance and harmony.

Fatigue is usually a sign that your body lacks the vital nutrients it needs to support your current level of activities. An important way to provide your body with the vital nutrients is to eat the right foods Ė the kind that give you energy instead of sapping your precious life energy. I typically recommend my patients to eat more foods that nourish Qi and the blood, such as winter melon and squash, pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, yams, sweet potatoes, lima beans, black beans, soybeans, adzuki beans, daikon radish, pearl barley, shiitake mushrooms, eggs, cabbage, carrots, buckwheat, berries, pineapple, papaya, figs, pears and jujube dates.

Organic sources of proteins such as chicken, turkey, lamb and wild-caught deep-sea fish are very nourishing, as well, and can be consumed in moderation. And spice it up! Add ginger, scallions, garlic, oregano, cilantro, rosemary, sage, dill, turmeric and some cayenne pepper to your dishes. This will not only spice up your dishes, but also strengthen your immunity and give you a boost of energy.

About our Doctors

This month's Ask the Doctor question was answered by:

Dr. Mao Shing Ni, Ph.D., D.O.M., L.Ac. . from his website:


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