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Tuesday
Feb112014

How Healthy is Your Gut?

Gut health is important for overall healthProbiotics are supplements containing the beneficial bacteria that normally inhabit the human digestive tract. They help to complete the digestive process - there's even evidence that without them, the immune system can't work properly, lessening resistance to infection. You may want to consider probiotics if one or more of the following applies to you: 

  • You are on antibiotics, which can wipe out "friendly" intestinal bacteria along with the bad bugs that cause infections.
  • You have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, or ulcerative colitis.
  • You are traveling in underdeveloped countries, and want to reduce the risk of traveler's diarrhea.

Some good food sources of probiotics include:

  • Yogurt and other cultured milk products. Look for plain versions with active cultures or acidophilus milk and kefir. The sugar added to yogurt makes it similar to candy, essentially negating the health benefits.
  • Kimchi. This pungent, spicy fermented cabbage dish is popular in Korea. You can make your own, but when purchasing, make sure you choose kimchi with live cultures.
  • Miso paste. This Japanese food is a form of fermented soy used in everything from salad dressings to soup. To get the benefits of probiotics use miso paste that has not been boiled - using miso paste in a salad dressing is one way to take advantage of the taste and nutritional benefits it offers.
  • Sauerkraut. Along with other fermented vegetables such as pickles, sauerkraut offers up probiotics. Again, choose sauerkraut with live, active cultures - the refrigerated section should have some.

Unfortunately, concentrations of probiotics in the foods listed above may not be high enough to be effective, and you may want to take probiotics in liquid or capsule form. The dose is one tablespoon of the liquid culture or one to two capsules after meals unless the label directs otherwise. Always check the expiration date to make sure that the bacteria these products contain are alive and in good condition and look for probiotics with "colony forming units" (CFUs) in the billions. After you buy, be sure to protect your supply from heat, moisture, and air.

Eating Anti-Inflammatory Made Simple
Take the guesswork out of a healthful diet with Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging. Our shopping and eating guides, over 300 recipes, tips and videos follow Dr. Weil's recommended anti-inflammatory principles for promoting better health, from head to toe. See what it's about - start your free trial today and save 30% when you join!

Monday
Feb102014

4 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Doctor Visits

Questions to ask your doctorWith many physicians allowed only 10 to 15 minutes for an office visit, it's important to use the time with your doctor to your best advantage. A little preparation can go a long way. Use the suggestions below to create a tailored list for your concerns - in writing is best, so you don't forget anything.

  • List any symptoms, including when and how often they occur, when they first started, and how long they last. Include any treatments you have tried. It may be helpful to keep a symptom diary leading up to your doctor visit, so you can be specific. Be sure to note any food, drink or activity that coincides with the symptoms.
  • Gather your medical history. Include your personal medical history, from the present back to birth, of any serious or chronic diseases, injuries that needed medical treatment, hospitalizations and mental health issues. More information is better - lab reports, imaging study results and names and numbers of your past and present physicians will help. Also have a family history of medical issues, if possible.
  • Make a list of drugs or medications you have used. Note over the counter (OTC) and prescription drugs as well as supplements and vitamins, and any adverse reactions - including allergies to any - you may have had.
  • Bring your meds. Put all your medications and supplements in a bag, and bring them with you so that your doctor gets a complete picture of what you're taking.

When at your appointment, keep the topic focused on two or three top goals, so you can cover everything; be honest about your lifestyle, aches and pains, and concerns so your physician can give you the best feedback; and ask questions until you understand the answers. Also feel free to take notes and make a follow-up appointment if time does run short.

Friday
Feb072014

How Often Do You Eat Eggs? (Poll)

A recent Q&A discussed egg yolks and the common concerns of eating too many eggs: Are Egg Yolks Healthy? Check out the article and let us know how often you eat eggs.

Thursday
Feb062014

How to Make Turmeric Tea

Turmeric tea has many health benefitsTurmeric (Curcuma longa) is a culinary spice that spans cultures - it is a major ingredient in Indian curries, and is what makes American mustard yellow. Evidence is accumulating that this brightly colored relative of ginger is a promising disease-preventive agent as well, outperforming many pharmaceuticals in its effects against chronic, debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer's, arthritis, cancer and even possibly depression - all with virtually no adverse side effects.

To get more turmeric into your diet, consider drinking it in tea form. The recipe is simple, and you can experiment with the ingredients and flavorings until you find a combination that suits your taste:

  1. Bring four cups of water to a boil.
  2. Add one teaspoon of ground turmeric and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Strain the tea through a fine sieve into a cup, add honey and/or lemon to taste.

Some people like to add a teaspoon of ginger along with the turmeric. While ground versions are more convenient, it's worthwhile to experiment with freshly grated turmeric for a more vibrant flavor. These distinctive, deep-orange roots are increasingly available in American grocery and natural food stores. Enjoy!

Eating Anti-Inflammatory Made Simple
Take the guesswork out of a healthful diet with Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging. Our shopping and eating guides, over 300 recipes, tips and videos follow Dr. Weil's recommended anti-inflammatory principles for promoting better health, from head to toe. See what it's about - start your free trial today and save 30% when you join!

Wednesday
Feb052014

Tai Chi - Push Forward Movement (Video)

Tai chi expert Barry Brownstein demonstrates the Push Forward movement. After entering the Meditative State, you begin this tai chi movement by placing your hands in front of your body with your left hand on top of your right hand and imagine you are holding a ball. Compress the imaginary ball until your hands get close together without touching, then turn your fingers out away from your body. Push your top hand away from the body until your arm is at about eye-level and bring your bottom hand back behind your body until that arm is eye-level as well. Turn your palms up to the sky and bring your front arm down until your hand is at your lower abdomen and then bring your back arm over and compress the imaginary ball. Repeat with the other side and image you are compressing a ball of energy with your hands in a steady, fluid motion.

Want new videos from Dr. Weil? Subscribe to his YouTube channel for weekly videos!

Tuesday
Feb042014

Red Wine Versus White Wine: What’s Healthier?

Ever wondered how red wine stacks up against white wine when it comes to health benefits? It is reported that 71 percent of wine drinkers in United States choose red wine, and this majority is on the right track when it comes to the health benefits wine offers. Studies show that the compound resveratrol, found abundantly in red grapes (and blueberries), offers several heath benefits, including antioxidant properties that may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and may even may help prevent cancer. A two-year animal study found that when a daily dose of resveratrol was administered (the equivalent of two glasses of red wine daily), the risk of developing cancerous tumors went down 50%.

So next time you choose a glass of wine, opt for red for more health benefits, and consider these varietals:

Pinot Noir: It consistently has the highest concentrations of resveratrol, especially if the grapes come from cool, rainy climates (think Oregon’s Willamette Valley or New York’s Fingerlakes Region rather than California’s Napa Valley).

Cabernets, Merlots and Syrahs: While they come from different grapes (Cabernet is made from tannat grapes, Merlot is made from blue grapes, and Syrah is flavored with black currants), all contain high levels of procyanidins – an antioxidant that has been linked to longevity and cardiovascular and arterial health.

In addition, seek out dry wines – they tend to have higher levels of flavonoids, which are beneficial to heart health and cholesterol levels. Sweeter wines tend to have lower levels of flavonoids.

In my Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid I recommend organic red wine, and limiting your intake to no more than one, or at most two, servings per day. And if you do not drink alcohol, do not start for health reasons, as these health effects are subtle and one can enjoy excellent cardiovascular health without them.

Eating Anti-Inflammatory Made Simple
Take the guesswork out of a healthful diet with Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging. Our shopping and eating guides, over 300 recipes, tips and videos follow Dr. Weil's recommended anti-inflammatory principles for promoting better health, from head to toe. See what it's about - start your free trial today and save 30% when you join!

Monday
Feb032014

5 Ways to Make Your Salad Healthier

Try these suggestions the next time you make a saladInstead of choosing iceberg lettuce with a ranch dressing, why not switch out some ingredients for a salad that will not only taste delicious, but provide you with the nutrients you need to keep your energy levels high? Try these suggestions the next time you make a salad - you can use these at the salad bar too!

  1. Greens: Choose dark leafy greens such as Swiss chard, kale or spinach. They are good sources of vitamins A and K, contain minerals and phytonutrients, and add a dose of fiber to salad bowl.
  2. Vegetables: You can’t go wrong adding almost any veggie to your salad bowl, as they are a rich in flavonoids and carotenoids and have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Instead of limiting yourself, expand your veggie additions and go for a little bit of everything from the color spectrum. Consider yellow bell pepper, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, beets, carrots, avocados and onions for a variety of interesting tastes and textures.
  3. Protein: Add some protein for energy – healthful choices include cooked wild Alaskan salmon, a good source of omega-3 fatty acids; steamed edamame, which provides isoflavones that are protective against cancer; omega-3 enriched hard-boiled eggs; or some organic, hard cheese such as Jarlsberg or Parmesan. Kidney and black beans are also excellent choices, and offer added fiber in addition to protein.
  4. Grains: To help promote healthy digestion and reduce the spikes in blood sugar that promote inflammation, add some whole grains to your salad. Brown rice, quinoa and barley are tasty additions to salads.
  5. Dressing: To minimize additives and unhealthy oils, make your own dressing. A base of extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, some vinegar and fresh herbs can be dressed up however you want: add some spicy mustard, crushed garlic, red pepper flakes – the choices are unlimited and the result will be tastier and healthier than store-bought dressing.

Eating Anti-Inflammatory Made Simple
Take the guesswork out of a healthful diet with Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging. Our shopping and eating guides, over 300 recipes, tips and videos follow Dr. Weil's recommended anti-inflammatory principles for promoting better health, from head to toe. See what it's about - start your free trial today and save 30% when you join!

Friday
Jan312014

How Quickly Do You Refrigerate Cooked Foods? (Poll)

A recent Q&A discussed the question of whether reheating food is safe or not: Is Reheating Food Safe? Check out the article and let us know how quickly you refrigerate food that you recently cooked.