A How-To Guide to Holistic Health

Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Deepak Chopra, two great pioneers of the holistic health movement, review step-by-step what you need to know about preventing disease, protecting your brain from Alzheimer’s, reducing stress, boosting energy, and curing your everyday complaints.

Posted on | By Dr. Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra

Andrew Weil, MD and Deepak Chopra, MD are two of the world’s most renowned experts in the field of holistic health. Holistic, or “whole-person” medicine, means attending to the body, mind and spirit. Comparatively, conventional medicine solely looks at the physical body and is more focused on identifying and treating a problem, as opposed to trying to prevent what caused it in the first place.

Holistic medicine has become wildly popular, largely because preventive practices are increasingly valued and give the patient control over their own life. Dr. Weil and Dr. Chopra have gathered together what you need to know most when it comes to preventing disease, protecting your brain from Alzheimer’s, reducing stress, boosting energy, and curing everyday ailments. Use this essential how-to guide on what to take, what to do, and what to avoid.

 

How-to Prevention Guide for the Diseases You Fear Most

To ward off deadly diseases, it’s critical to avoid certain toxins you may be putting n your body, such as bad fats. Counter this by ramping up the good stuff.

 

1. Avoid Toxic Fats

Toxic fats are trans and saturated fats such as margarine, vegetable shortening and partially hydrogenated oils. These deadly substances raise LDL, the bad cholesterol in the blood stream, and cause plaque build-up in arteries, which can lead to a heart attack over time.

Do an Oil Sniff Test

Check all commercial products made with oil for toxicity before you eat them by doing the “oil sniff test.” If the oil is rancid, it’ll smell similar to oil paint, which is actually oxidized linseed oil. If you get a hint of this odor in anything that has fat content, whether it’s nuts, whole-wheat flour or oils themselves, don’t eat it.

 

Store Smartly

Store oils away from light, heat and exposure to air. If you can’t find a place to do this, then refrigerate them. And don’t buy oil in bulk, unless you’re planning to use it up quickly.

2. Make Smart Substitutions

Replace an Animal Protein With a Vegetable Protein
Animal protein has a much higher saturated-fat content than vegetable protein. It’s best to avoid processed meats; they contain nitrosamines, which can be carcinogenic. By implementing a more vegetarian-based diet, you can significantly lower your risk of cancer. Try swapping the meat in your diet with some of these excellent vegetarian protein sources:

  • Tempeh

  • Seitan

  • Quinoa

  • White beans or other legumes

Replace High-Temperature Cooking With Low-Temperature Cooking

High-temperatures cause AGE (advanced glycation end products) formation, a chemical reaction that can lead to inflammation and cancer. Indicators of AGE formation are browning and a strong aroma. Low-temperature baking, steaming or sautéing with a little liquid will slow AGE formation. If you are accustomed to grilling meats over high heat, marinate them first to counteract unhealthy chemicals.

3. Essential Supplements and Foods to Block Disease

It’s always best to get your vitamins from actual food sources. However, for insurance, it’s good to take certain supplements, such as these powerful antioxidants that protect against cancer:

Anti-cancer Supplements

  • Vitamin D: 1,000 IU

  • Vitamin C: 75-90 mg

  • Selenium: 55-70 mcg

  • Vitamin E: 15-20 IU

  • Carotenoids: 1.5-2 mg

Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Inflammation is the root of many diseases. To protect yourself, eat plenty of these anti-inflammatory foods:

  • Berries

  • Black cod (also known as sablefish or butterfish)

  • Bok choy

  • Ginger

  • Olive oil

For more on fighting inflammation, click here.

How-to Protect Your Brain From Alzheimer’s Disease

Twenty-four million people worldwide have dementia, most of whom have Alzheimer’s. This deadly disease is marked by two major changes in the brain: reduced cortex activity, which impairs thinking and planning, and a shrunken hippocampus, which impacts new memory formation. While the exact causes of Alzheimer’s are unknown, there are certain lifestyle choices that can delay or slow its onset. Inflammation of the brain plays a role in the development of Alzheimer’s, so an anti-inflammatory diet is an important preventive strategy.

 

1. Take Memory-Enhancing Supplements

  • Vitamin E (20 IU/day): This fat-soluble antioxidant may protect memory function.

  • Gingko (600 mg/day): Extracts from ginkgo tree leaves increase blood flow to the brain and have been shown to slow the progression of dementia in early onset of Alzheimer’s.

  • Phosphatidylserine (PS) (200 mg/twice per day): This naturally occurring lipid is considered a brain cell nutrient and may have positive effects on memory and concentration.

2. Eat to Protect

  • Egg yolks: Rich in choline, egg yolks reduce inflammation in the brain. Eat one hard-boiled egg a day.

  • Brazil nuts: These are a great source of healthy fats and are high in magnesium, a mineral that’s essential to the transmission of signals between the brain and the rest of the body.

  • Coffee: This beverage is high in antioxidants that protect the brain. Consume in moderate amounts, about 3-4 cups a day.

3. Special Triple-Threat Seasoning

Create a special seasoning using natural anti-inflammatory and memory-boosting spices that all have special protective properties against Alzheimer’s disease:

  • 1 part turmeric

  • 2 parts sage

  • 3 parts ginger

  • A sprinkling of black pepper

How-to Reduce the #1 Major Ager: Stress

Life is stressful – but there is a lot you can do to protect your body and mind from stress. Most people think that doing something for just 5-10 minutes during a stressful situation can’t make a difference so they do nothing at all. That’s a huge mistake since acting in the moment can help stop stress from escalating. Here are three stressful situations Dr. Oz viewers said they needed help with in a recent poll.

1. The Sunday Night Blues

Your Sunday night routine is crucial to your health. Compared with Sunday, 36% more heart attacks occur on Monday, probably because people are stressed out about starting their workweek all over again. Beat those Sunday night blues:

  • Make Stress-free Soup: The act of making soup is very comforting and relaxing. Click here for Dr. Weil’s Roasted Winter Squash and Apple Soup recipe, packed with healthy antioxidants. Make a big quantity and enjoy for the entire the week.

  • Stress-suppressing Supplement - Holy Basil: Considered a sacred plant in India, holy basil is enjoyed as a medicinal tea that raises spiritual energy, reduces stress, and promotes calm. It is also available in tablet form; take 2 tablets twice a day. Available at health food stores or online.

  • Change Your Alarm Clock for a Gentler Awakening: Loud noise can cause stress. Wake up gently by switching your alarm clock from a loud, jarring sound to soft, calming music.

2. PMS Stress

Research shows that women who report high stress are 2-4 times more likely to have moderate to severe premenstrual syndrome. If you suffer from PMS:

  • Reduce caffeine by avoiding coffee, tea, chocolate, soda, etc. during your period.

  • Exercise more often.

  • Black current oil contains GLA, an essential fatty acid found in mother’s milk that acts as an anti-inflammatory. Take 200mg twice a day at the start of the week you experience PMS.

3. Sitting in Traffic

Research shows that you are more likely to die of a heart attack when you’ve been sitting in traffic three hours prior. To stay relaxed in this frustrating situation:

  • Listen to calming music. Click here for a playlist of soothing choices. Click here for tips on enjoying a stress-free commute.

  • Try this simple 4-7-8 breathing technique. Breathe in through your nose to a count of 4; hold your breath for a count of 7; then breath out through your mouth to a count of 8. Repeat 4 times.

How-to Boost Your Energy and Eliminate Exhaustion

There’s an exhaustion epidemic in this country and most folks turn to quick fixes like coffee and soda to get by. Instead, try these all-natural solutions to boost your energy all day long.

Morning Routine

Drink a glass of warm water when you first wake up. It activates the gastrocolic reflex, which encourages elimination and provides an instant pick-me-up.

Before you leave the house in the morning, take 1-2 minutes to massage some sesame oil (or coconut or olive) into your earlobes, hands and feet. It’ll soothe both your central nervous and endocrine system. Sesame oil is available at grocery stores.

Lunchtime Routine

Eat lunch at the same time every day, preferably between 12 and 12:30 p.m. Digestion is strongest at midday and therefore more efficient at converting food into energy. Drink ginseng tea at lunchtime, which will also boost energy and your metabolism. Ginseng tea is available at grocery stores.

Nighttime Routine

Before dinner, drink an elixir made with lemon juice, ginger root juice and honey in water to promote digestion.

To reduce anxiety, depression or insomnia, take a valerian supplement before bed. Capsules are available at drug stores.

How-to Cure Your Everyday Complaints

To cure everyday complaints like a cough, indigestion or headaches, stock your medicine cabinet with these must-have holistic cures.

1. Cure a Cough

 

Oregano Oil

Oregano is a powerful antibacterial and antiviral agent. Next time you have cough, put a few drops of oregano oil in a bowl of steaming water. Drape a towel over you head and breath in the steam for several minutes, until your throat feels less irritated. Find oregano oil online and in health food stores.

Honey and Turmeric Powder

Honey soothes the throat and is also antibacterial; turmeric contains powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Treat a cough with 1 teaspoon of honey sprinkled with turmeric, 3-4 times a day. If needed, mix with a little warm water; however, taking it undiluted is really best.


2. Cure Indigestion

 

DGL Tablets (Licorice Extract)

Licorice extract is an herbal remedy that protects the stomach from irritation. Take 2 tablets whenever you experience indigestion. Find it in health food stores or online.

Ginger and Lemon

To prevent stomach upset, try chewing on a bit of peeled fresh ginger root topped with a squeeze of lemon before meals.

3. Cure Headaches

 

Neck and Shoulder Massage

For tension headaches, nothing works better than a neck and shoulder massage. Have a friend or spouse give you one, and make sure they apply firm pressure.

 

Butterbur

For a migraine or vascular headache, butterbur is a highly effective herbal remedy. Take 75 mg in extract form twice a day as a preventive measure. Butterbur is available in health food stores or online.

Meditation

Next time you have a headache, try this meditation: Put your hands out and then close your eyes. Watch your breath for a few seconds and bring all of your awareness into the middle of your chest. Listen to your heartbeat and tell it to slowdown. Now move your awareness into your fingertips, and focus on experiencing your heartbeat as a throbbing sensation that has moved there. This technique diverts blood from your brain into your limbs, reducing blood pressure and slowing your heart rate so your headache goes away. For an instructional video on meditation guided by Dr. Deepak Chopra, click here.

Article written by Dr. Andrew Weil
Doctor

Article written by Deepak Chopra
Holistic health guru and author