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Physical Activity and Breathing (Video)

There is more to being healthy than eating right. Here Dr. Weil gives his thoughts on physical activity and stress management practices; in each case the emphasis is on repetition.


Rhodesian Ridgebacks (Photos)

Dr. Weil has had several generations of Rhodesian Ridgebacks and thoroughly enjoyed every minute with these intelligent, affectionate dogs. Because they come from hot, dry South Africa, they are well adapted to living in arid southern Arizona.

Though sweet-natured, they are also fearless, and excellent at keeping the javelinas, raccoons and mountain lions a safe distance away from the home. Dr. Weil enjoys taking them on hikes to the nearby park and loves taking them to his summer home on Cortes Island, British Columbia.


Fish and Young Women’s Hearts

Cardiovascular disease isn’t generally much of a worry for young women, but the amount of fish they eat growing up appears to have a powerful role in keeping their hearts healthy. A new study from Denmark shows that women of childbearing age (between 15-49) who rarely or never ate fish had 50 percent more cardiovascular problems over an eight-year study period than those who ate fish regularly. And when the missing fish meal was high in omega-3 fatty acids, the risk was 90 percent higher among the women who rarely or never ate fish. The researchers, from Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, surveyed some 49,000 women via phone interviews or food frequency questionnaires about their fish consumption, lifestyle, and family history. Over the eight years on which data was gathered, 577 of the women developed cardiovascular problems (five died) although they had no prior diagnosis of heart disease. Hospital records showed that admission for cardiovascular disease was much more common among women whose diets didn’t include fish. And the researchers found that over a 30-week period women who never ate fish had a risk of cardiovascular disease that was three times as high as those who ate fish weekly. The investigators said that the greatest benefits come from eating fish as a main meal at least twice a week. The fish most commonly consumed by the women in the study were cod, salmon, herring and mackerel. The study was published online on Dec. 5 in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.


What is Your Take on the HPV Vaccine? (Poll)

A recent Q&A discussed the HPV vaccination: HPV for Pre-Teens? Check out the article and let us know your thoughts on the HPV vaccine and if it is beneficial!


Reducing Breast Cancer Risk

Women may not be able to sidestep the two biggest risks for breast cancer - being female and getting older - but a new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) lists strategies that may help protect against the disease. The IOM focused on environmental contributors, including exposure to ionizing radiation from CT scans and other medical tests, and advised avoiding unnecessary ones. It views the current use of oral contraceptives by premenopausal women, as well as hormone replacement therapy and obesity among postmenopausal women as “clear links” to breast cancer risk. While evidence on chemical exposure is conflicting or contradictory, the IOM suggested avoiding benzene, 1,3-butadiene and ethylene oxide - chemicals found in the workplace, gasoline fumes, car exhaust and cigarette smoke. The IOM also said, “the jury is still out” on a breast cancer connection to the chemical BPA (bisphenol A), pesticides, cosmetics, dietary supplements and shift work (here, some evidence suggests that exposure to light at night may pose a risk). But it saw no good evidence of risks from hair dyes, use of cell phones and other electronics. To further reduce risk the IOM recommended that women increase their physical activity and minimize weight gain after menopause.

My take? This report might have benefited more women by having gone further in stressing the importance of physical activity. Exercise - at least 30 minutes a day - is a key protective measure because it can lead to weight loss and a decrease in body fat, which results in lowering circulating estrogen levels. I would also encourage women to avoid common pesticides and other chemical sources of xenoestrogens - compounds that have estrogen-like activity. And I suggest increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids by eating more cold water fish such as wild Alaskan salmon and sardines, using extra virgin olive oil for salad dressings and in cooking, eating more whole soy foods, drinking green tea, and limiting alcohol consumption (even modest amounts are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer).


How Do Supplements Fill Dietary Gaps (Video)

Dr. Weil discusses supplements and how they should be used for insurance against any gaps in your diet. Dr. Weil stresses supplements are not intended to be used in lieu of varied diet full of natural vitamins and minerals.


Living Plant Walls (Photos)

Indoor plants and home gardening are nothing new, but Joe Zazzera and his Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company, Plant Solutions, have spent the last decade literally taking plant design to the next level by utilizing neglected vertical space.

One of Joe's largest "living wall" installations graces the patio of Dr. Weil's True Food Kitchen restaurant in Newport Beach, Calif., where it has dazzled all who have seen it.

There are many ways to "go vertical" - all of which can be implemented at home, whether you are new to gardening or a seasoned green thumb.


Cherry Juice for a Good Night’s Sleep

Tart cherries may help relieve muscle pain, arthritis pain and the pain of gout better than anti-inflammatory drugs, but here’s a potential new use that might be worthwhile if you need help sleeping. Researchers at Britain’s Northumbria University found that adults who drank two daily glasses of tart cherry juice slept up to six percent more efficiently (less non-sleep time in bed, and about an additional 39 minutes of sleep) than usual. This was a small study - only 20 volunteers participated. They all drank two servings of tart cherry juice concentrate diluted in a half pint of water or a non-cherry fruit drink for seven consecutive days at a time, one glass when they woke up and the second when they went to bed. Researchers who tracked the participants’ sleep habits found that after drinking the cherry juice they slept longer and napped less during the day than they did when they drank the non-cherry fruit drink. They attributed the sleep improvements seen with tart cherry juice to the small amounts of melatonin it contains. The study was published online on October 30 by the European Journal of Nutrition.