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Monday
Aug102015

Want to Spring Clean Your Diet?

You spring clean your home – why not do the same to your diet? These four simple steps can make a difference in how you feel, your energy levels, and your sleep habits. Give them a try!

Why not make this season the one in which you optimize what you eat? Try these simple suggestions:

  1. Cut out trans fats. Avoid margarine, vegetable shortening and anything that contains hydrogenated oils. Instead, use heart-healthy extra virgin olive oil.
  2. Eat "true whole grains" - that is, grains that are intact or broken into large pieces rather than ground into flour - instead of refined grains. You will feel fuller, in part because of the higher fiber content whole grains provide.
  3. Load up on fresh fruits and vegetables. Make a colorful salad - with red and yellow peppers, dark leafy greens, ripe tomatoes - part of one meal every day. And add a fresh fruit salad as a delicious and healthful alternative to unhealthy desserts.
  4. Take in fewer calories. A simple way to do this is to skip the fast food and prepackaged snacks - instead have veggies and hummus, almond butter and an apple, or a homemade sandwich with organic proteins and fresh vegetables.

 

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging has more healthy eating tips - start your 14-day free trial now and save 30% when you join!


Friday
Aug072015

Seasonal Recipe: Shaved Asparagus and Arugula Salad

Asparagus is in season in April – making this a wonderful recipe to try this week! It not only tastes delicious, but the asparagus is a good source of vitamins K and C, potassium and folate, all of which help support heart health and healthy fluid balance. Find out how to make this company-worthy starter!

When making the Shaved Asparagus and Arugula Salad, placing the "shaved" slices of peeled asparagus spears in cold water causes them to curl up into a unique, spiral shape, adding to this beautiful salad's visual appeal. White asparagus has a mild flavor that we prefer for this salad. However, green asparagus will actually curl better than the white.

Make the recipe this week!

Check out other great recipes!

Wednesday
Aug052015

Tired of a Cloudy Outlook?

Pessimism can do more than depress your mood  – it can harm your physical health as well. But some simple steps can help you reverse pessimism – try them out!

Did you know that habitual pessimism has been linked to a higher risk of dying before age 65? On the other hand, regularly expressing positive emotions, such as optimism, is associated with a variety of health benefits: lowered production of the stress hormone cortisol, better immune function, and reduced risk of chronic diseases. If you are stressed-out or anxious, which can be either a cause or an effect of a pessimistic outlook, try the following:

  1. Take care of yourself by eating a healthy diet, execising regularly and getting adequate sleep.
  2. Express your emotional reactions honestly so you can effectively deal with what's bothering you.
  3. Confide in someone - your mate, a good friend or a trusted relative.
  4. Laugh. Even fake laughter has healthful benefits. Watch a comedy, tell stories with close friends and family or just start smiling and laughing in the mirror.
  5. View the cup as half full instead of half empty.
Monday
Aug032015

Why You Should Eat More Grapes!

A childhood favorite, grapes should also be part of your diet once you reach adulthood – the benefits they offer are numerous. Learn more!

Whether you eat the fruit, seeds or skin; drink the juice; or sip on red wine, grapes can help reduce the risk of heart disease. These bright fruits are rich in polyphenols (naturally occurring plant compounds known to have antioxidant activity and other health benefits) including resveratrol, phenolic acids, anthocyanins, and flavonoids, which help to:

  1. Slow or prevent cell damage caused by oxidation, which is an important step in deterring the development of atherosclerosis.
  2. Reduce blood clotting and abnormal heart rhythms.
  3. Lower blood pressure in patients with hypertension.

Choose the darker colored varieties of grapes for the most polyphenol benefits and opt for eating the fruit or skins rather than juice when able.

Friday
Jul312015

Want to Minimize Stress in Your Life?

 

Not all stress is unhealthy – but when stress seems to be persistent and taking over, managing it is important for your body, mind and spirit. Learn how to manage stress before it becomes an issue.

This tip is brought to you by SpontaneousHappiness.com, Dr. Weil's 8-week plan - visit today to start your 10-day free trial!

If you want to reduce unhealthy stress, start by identifying the problems and situations that create stress, then learn to manage them by practicing general techniques of stress protection, such as breathing exercises. As for supplements, consider the following:

  1. B-complex. B vitamins can help balance mood, calm the nervous system, and increase the efficacy of certain prescription antidepressants.
  2. Omega-3 (fish oil) supplement from molecularly distilled fish oil. A deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids has been associated with increased anxiety and depression.
  3. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis). An extract from the root of this flowering perennial contains essential oils that have been shown to help some people more effectively deal with stress.
  4. Calcium and magnesium. Both are involved in many key physiologic processes and may help support healthy sleep, as well as muscle relaxation.
  5. St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum). Extracts of this flowering herb, indigenous to Europe, may help boost mood and maintain a healthy emotional outlook.
  6. L-Theanine. This extract of tea can help promote a sense of calm and relaxation without sedation.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor has more information on these supplements - get your free recommendation and see if they are suggested for you.

 

Wednesday
Jul292015

Want to Clean Up Your Diet?

If you want to start eating and drinking foods and beverages that make you feel good inside and out, start by eliminating drinks that contain this drug from your diet.

Caffeine is an addictive drug that four out of five American adults use every day, whether it be in coffee, soft drinks, tea or another form. If you feel you may be addicted to caffeine and wish to give it up, try the following:

  1. Start by choosing a period of time when you have relatively few obligations, such as a long weekend.
  2. Commit to trying three caffeine-free days, and see how you feel afterwards.
  3. Prepare to experience tiredness, irritability and a very bad headache, especially after avoiding caffeine for 24 hours. Diminish the discomfort by keeping yourself busy: take walks, spend time in the garden, or do other light, soothing activities.
  4. Avoid anything that may aggravate a headache, such as prolonged TV watching or reading in low light. These side effects will eventually diminish - and are worth it in the long run.

Or, consider weaning yourself off caffeine by gradually reducing your intake. Substitute green tea or decaffeinated coffee for caffeinated coffee, and drink water or fruit juice mixed with sparkling water in lieu of cola. Breathing exercises, physical exercise and a diet that incorporates plenty of fruits and vegetables may also help reduce the severity of side effects.

Monday
Jul272015

5 Ways to Minimize Cough and Cold

Don’t let a cough or cold ruin your day – try these five natural suggestions to minimize their effects.

If you are looking for effective, safe herbal treatments for coughs and congestion, I recommend the following natural treatments. All can be used safely by both adults and children:

1. Echinacea: The adult dose is one teaspoon of tincture in water four times a day or two capsules of freeze-dried extract four times a day. Give children half those amounts.  

2. Garlic: The best home remedy I have found for colds is to eat one or two cloves of raw garlic at the first onset of symptoms. You can chop the garlic fine, let sit for 10 minutes to “activate” and mix it with food, or cut a clove into chunks and swallow them whole like pills.  

3. Elderberry (Sambucus nigra): The flowers and fruit of this shrub have a long history of use for treating colds and flu.  

4. Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra): This remedy from the inner bark of the red elm tree is available as lozenges, powder, capsules and extracts. Use the lozenges as needed for sore throats due to colds. 

5. Zinc: In moderate doses, this mineral can enhance immunity.

Friday
Jul242015

Is Cooking with Aluminum Harmful?

Aluminum pots and pans are inexpensive and lightweight – but when using them, are you doing harm to your body? See what Dr. Weil says.

Aluminum is all around us - it is widely distributed in soil, plants and water, including our food and drinking water, where it is always bound to other substances. But there is no known need for pure aluminum - the kind found in cookware - in human nutrition. Because it is so chemically reactive, it is probably not good for us, and evidence suggests that ingesting aluminum can be harmful to the kidneys and may weaken bones by depleting the body of phosphorus and calcium.

Since aluminum is a superior heat conductor, many cookware products contain it. While I find aluminum ideal for stovetop work, I advise choosing cookware that does not allow food to come in direct contact with it. Look for quality pots and pans that cover the aluminum with stainless steel or some other non-reactive material.