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Healthy Chocolate Pudding Recipe 

Looking for a quick and easy dessert to whip up?

The Dr. Weil staff loves this True Food Kitchen Chocolate Pudding recipe because it is not only delicious, but also vegan friendly and gluten-free!

Packed with potent antioxidants from dark chocolate and cocoa, this dessert makes a great addition to a barbecue and is a healthy treat that kids will also enjoy. Try this recipe and let us know how you like it!


Morning Light and Your Weight

If you want to slim down, you might try getting up earlier in the morning. A small study from Northwestern University in Chicago suggests that the timing of your daily exposure to moderate levels of light may influence body mass index (BMI) and body fat. The researchers found that people who received more exposure to moderate or high intensity light in the morning had a lower body mass index and a lower percentage of body fat than those who got most of their exposure to light later in the day. Only 23 adults, most of them women, mean age 26, participated in the study. All were healthy. They each wore a wrist monitor for seven days to determine the patterns of their exposure to light. Study co-author Ivy N. Cheung said that the results emphasize the importance of getting most of your exposure to moderate or higher intensity light early in the day, and that the new findings lend support to earlier evidence that changes in environmental light exposure may affect body weight regulation.


Lack of Sleep Affects How Others See You

You know how lack of sleep can make you feel and may agree that you don’t always look your best when you don’t get enough shut-eye. Now a study from Stockholm University has found that lack of sleep also affects how others view you and may even put you at a disadvantage when you’re looking for a job. Researcher Tina Sundelin, Ph.D. reported that sleep deprived people are often perceived as less energetic, less healthy, and less attractive than others, and that some individuals are less willing to spend time with a person who looks tired. She also found that looking tired presents a risk of being unsuccessful finding a job. Dr. Sundelin conducted four different studies in which she showed photographs of people who had obtained varying amounts of sleep to others who assessed them for attractiveness, health, reliability, leadership, employability, and how much they wanted to spend time with the person in the photo. When someone in the photos looked tired, they were viewed more negatively and rated lower than when the same individual looked alert. The study concluded that, especially given how others may view you, getting adequate sleep is more important than postponing bedtime to do work, watch TV or spend time online.



Dr. Weil's Favorite Foods: Asian Mushrooms

Beneath their humble exteriors, mushrooms are packed with healthy benefits. Many edible species contain polysaccharides - powerful anticancer compounds - which appear to boost both the activity and number of the body's natural-killer cells.

The fungi listed below are readily available in grocery or Asian specialty stores, and are good sources of polysaccharides. They are all delicious as well, so you can begin adding these mushrooms to your diet as ingredients in favorite recipes, or as a separate dish. In addition, if you've been diagnosed with cancer or are at high risk for it, Dr. Weil recommends supplementing with extracts from one or more of these medicinal mushrooms. Combining several species may be even more helpful.  

  1. Enoki (Flammulina veluptipes). Japanese farmers who grow (and regularly eat) this mushroom have unusually low rates of cancer, perhaps because enoki contains a compound called flammulin that has significant anti-tumor properties.
  2. Maitake (Grifola frondosa). According to Japanese research, this mushroom shows strong anti-cancer activity; it may also help fight viruses, boost immunity, and lower blood pressure and blood sugar.
  3. Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum). This mushroom appears to inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors and boost immune function. Perhaps that's why the Chinese and Japanese consider it a longevity food.
  4. Royal sun agaricus (Agaricus blazei).  Oncologists in both Japan and Brazil use this mushroom in treatment protocols. It may have significant anti-tumor action. 
  5. Shiitake (Lentinula edodes). Growing in popularity, this mushroom is now found in many supermarkets. That's good news, since it appears to have the ability to fight cancerous tumors.
  6. Zhu ling (Polyporus umbellatus). This mushroom may be particularly useful in the fight against lung cancer: There's evidence that it helps stimulate the body's immune response against lung tumors. It may also help counteract the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation.

4 Healthy Snacks That Can Ruin Your Teeth

When it comes to protecting your teeth, twice-daily brushing and flossing is the best route, along with consistent dental exams. But you may also want to moderate certain foods that may be harmful to your teeth. 

  • Unsweetened Dried Fruit: While raisins, figs, and dried apricots can be a more healthful snack option than a candy bar, they're still high in sugar and non-soluble cellulose fiber, which can bind and trap those sugars around the tooth to the same extent as saltwater taffy. Your best bet? Enjoy them in moderation and try opting for the fresh version as much as possible. 
  • Banana and Sweet Potato Chips: Although sweet potato and banana chips are a healthier alternative to regular potato chips, the similar texture can still wreak havoc on your teeth. Due to their texture, chips are processed as sugar when digested. Additionally, food particles from these carbs tend to linger by sticking in the grooves of teeth, creating a breeding ground for acid.
  • Popcorn: Plain popcorn itself is a healthy, low-calorie, whole grain food with four grams of fiber per three cups. Much like chips, however, popcorn can wedge between teeth and foster bacterial growth. Un-popped kernels are even worse because the hard texture can potentially break your teeth.
  • Citrus Fruits: Although fruits such as oranges, kiwis, lemons, and grapefruit are great sources of vitamin C, they are also high in enamel-damaging acid. Enjoy citrus fruits in moderation to minimize their impact on your teeth.

Healthy Protein Suggestions For A More Satisfying Salad, Part 2

Continuing on from our recent tip on adding healthy fats and grains to your salads, here are some suggestions for incorporating healthy protein into your salads to keep you satisfied longer. 


  • Beans: Beans are rich in folic acidmagnesiumpotassium, B vitamins, and soluble fiber.  And at 20-25 percent protein by weight, they are an excellent choice for vegetarians, vegans or those who prefer to minimize their meat consumption. They are low-glycemic-index foods and an important part of my Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid. Good examples are chickpeas (garbanzo beans), adzuki beans, and black beans. You can also use hummus (made from chickpeas) as a creamy, high-protein dressing!
  • Lentils: As the quickest legume to cook, lentils offer a good source of fiber, magnesium, protein, and iron. Just one cup of cooked lentils contains over 15 grams of dietary fiber and provides 37 percent of the Daily Value for iron. 

Animal Proteins: 

  • Hard-Boiled Eggs: Egg whites are a great source of protein, and the yolks contain an astonishing array of essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, D, E and K, plus iron. Choose cage-free eggs that are fortified with omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Salmon: Like other oily fish (herring, sardines, mackerel), salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation, protect against heart attacks, and possibly reduce one's chance of developing cancer. Choose wild-caught Alaskan salmon to avoid the contaminants in farm-raised fish.

Simple Steps To Making Your Salad More Satisfying, Part 1

Ever eaten a salad only to be hungry again an hour later? The key is to incorporate healthy fats, protein, and carbohydrates such as whole grains and legumes into your salad, making it both filling and delicious. Try adding these fats and grains: 

Healthy Fats: 

  • Avocados: The fat avocados contain is monounsaturated, which is heart healthy and does not raise cholesterol. Avocados also are a good source of fiber. They provide glutathione (an antioxidant), folate, and more potassium than bananas.
  • Nuts: In addition to their healthy fat profile, nuts provide you with vitamin E, trace minerals, fiber, and in the case of walnuts, vital omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts are relatively high in calories, so enjoy just a few on your next salad.

Healthy Grains: 

  • Quinoa: This grain has the highest protein content of any grain, containing all nine essential amino acids - a rarity in the plant kingdom. Quinoa is also a good source of manganese, iron, copper, phosphorous, vitamin B2 and other essential minerals.
  • Wild Rice: Although not technically a grain, wild rice is quite the nutritional powerhouse. It contains almost twice the protein and fiber as brown rice, and is also high in B vitamins, manganese, zinc, potassium, phosphorous and magnesium, while being relatively low in calories.

Don't miss our next blog post, when we cover what healthy proteins to add to a salad!


What's The Best Way To Really Get Your Hands Clean?

Many people - especially children - can be careless about washing their hands, which can lead to the spread of infection. Washing your hands is not only quick and cost-effective, but the best way to protect yourself and others from spreading germs. Wash your hands: 

  • Before you pick up anything to eat
  • Before, during and after preparing food
  • After using the toilet, changing a baby's diaper, or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After you blow your nose or sneeze
  • After touching garbage.

In addition, be sure to wash your hands before and after caring for someone who is sick and after touching animal food or waste.

So what's the best way to wash your hands? Good old soap and water: work up a lather and scrub well, cleaning the backs of the hands, between the fingers and under the nails. Doing this should take about 20 seconds; afterwards rinse and dry on a clean towel or under an air dryer.

If soap and water aren't available, try an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol - but note that these products don't eliminate all types of germs, and aren't effective when hands are visibly dirty.

And skip the antibacterial soaps and gels for home use - in healthcare settings there is a need, but at home, there is no proven purpose for them, and they may be counterproductive by accelerating the development of resistance to antibiotics.