Dr. Andrew Weil practices integrative medicine, a field that emphasizes the body’s natural healing power and focuses on correcting the underlying causes of disease rather than just managing symptoms. As a result, Dr. Weil’s recommendations often focus on illness prevention through simple lifestyle choices. He maintains that there are easy things you can do every day at home to improve your health. Here, Dr. Weil shares his five essentials to provide an immediate boost to your well-being! Learn about the tools that could change your life forever.
Essential #1: Iodine
Dr. Weil considers this multi-purpose mineral essential for good health. Iodine regulates all key metabolic functions including blood cell production, muscle function, body heat, and hormones. An iodine deficiency causes weight gain, fatigue, intolerance to cold, and can result in gastrointestinal problems, skin abnormalities and even neurological issues. With so many symptoms, it’s shocking to learn that millions of women are deficient in iodine. The problem is the American diet; so many processed foods don’t contain iodine and our bodies don’t naturally produce it.
One of the major signs of iodine deficiency is an enlarged thyroid gland. Without iodine, the thyroid cannot produce the proper amount of hormones and it reacts by enlarging itself. A person with an iodine deficiency might experience signs of hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid doesn’t make enough hormones. These symptoms include puffy eyes, dry skin, brittle hair and nails and exhaustion.
If these symptoms sound familiar, try this self-test to see if you’re iodine deficient. Tip your head back while looking at the reflection of your neck and thyroid area. Swallow several times. Feel for swelling, lumps or bumps on both sides of throat; these may indicate that you have an enlarged thyroid and you should consult your doctor.
Take preventative steps by ensuring you’re getting enough iodine. The National Institutes of Health recommends adults get 150 mcg daily. Chances are that you’re getting enough iodine already if you have a well-rounded diet. Good sources include dairy products and seafood like tuna, shellfish, lobsters and sardines. For an extra-rich source of iodine, try kelp. With 2500 mcg of iodine per gram, this superfood is considered the best natural source in the world.