The alternative health icon Dr. Andrew Weil shares his 5 holistic secrets for boosting energy, strengthening immunity, warding off cancer, fighting heart disease and beating depression. He also shares his #1 cancer-fighting super meal.
Dr. Andrew Weil is credited with igniting America’s alternative health movement. He has spent a lifetime uncovering unique remedies and solutions not necessarily found in your pharmacy, your medicine cabinet, or even your doctor’s office. People ask him all the time what they can do to stay healthy, especially as they get older. Dr.Weil shares his top 5 holistic secrets to improve your overall health.
1. Secret for Your Brain: Protect Its Memory Bank
The thought of losing one’s memory is frightening. Dr. Weil recommends Huperzine A, otherwise known as Chinese club moss, a natural remedy that may help keep memory sharp and ward off Alzheimer’s.
He also recommends Phosphatidyl serine (PS), a naturally occurring lipid that’s considered a brain cell nutrient. It may have positive effects on memory and concentration to help slow age-related cognitive decline. In addition, PS may reduce stress by limiting cortisol spikes.
- Huperzine A - 300mcg daily
- Phosphatidyl serine - 200mg daily
Both of these natural remedies are available at health stores and pharmacies.
2. Secret for Your Heart: Keep Arteries Healthy
To keep your arteries healthy, Dr. Weil recommends red yeast rice extract, a source of naturally occurring statins, the prescription drugs used to lower LDL levels and control cholesterol. Dr. Weil argues that red yeast rice extract delivers a mix of these statin-like compounds rather than a single type of molecule, so it’s less likely to cause side effects, such as liver dysfunction that can occur with pharmaceutical versions. However, not everyone in the medical community agrees with him on this. If you have blood sugar problems, this is not the right supplement for you.
Niacin (vitamin B3) is less controversial than red yeast rice extract and is shown to raise HDL, the “good” cholesterol. Plus, it’s much cheaper than a prescription drug and has similar effects.
- Red Yeast Rice Extract - 600mg twice daily
- Niacin 500 mg Extended Release - Every night at bedtime
Be sure if you take either of these to do so under your doctor’s direction.
3. Secret for Your Digestive Tract: Keep It Clean
Fiber plays an important role in maintaining a healthy digestive tract. In fact, countries such as New Zealand that have a low-fiber diet have higher incidences of colon cancer. Dr. Weil recommends eating 40 grams of fiber each day, almost twice the normal recommended amount.
Use this as a rule of thumb to obtain 40 grams of fiber:
- 4 fruits (such as bananas, strawberries, blueberries, apples, peaches)
- 3 veggies (such as kale, sweet potatoes, green beans, peas, asparagus, corn, broccoli)
- 3 whole grains or beans (such as oatmeal, all-bran cereal, shredded wheat, lima beans, black beans)
If you are unable to eat this much fiber, take a supplement such as psyllium husk fiber, available at pharmacies and natural food stores. Be sure to drink it with plenty of water to avoid constipation.
4. Secret for Your Immunity: Take an Antioxidant Cocktail
By strengthening your immunity, you’ll ward off common colds and reduce your risk of cancer. Dr. Weil gets his antioxidants from a multivitamin and you can too. Just be sure you are getting the right doses of each vitamin family. Go for a cocktail comprised of a multivitamin and COQ 10.
Mixed Carotenoids - 15mg: Avoid pre-formed vitamin A, often called retinol, which can be toxic. Instead, you want to take mixed carotenoids, which are the pigments found in orange and yellow vegetables. Look for a combination of beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lycopene, astaxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin.
Vitamin C - 200mg: Too much vitamin C can be pro-oxidant rather than antioxidant, so stick to 100% of your daily value, or 60mg. This important vitamin builds strong connective tissue, maintains arteries, and is great for overall healing. Avoid sweet chewable tablets of vitamin C, which are bad for your teeth.
Vitamin E - 400 IU: This powerful antioxidant protects many parts of the body, including cell membranes and arteries, from free radical damage. However, it does have blood-thinning properties; beware of taking too much if you are taking any blood-thinning medications or supplements.
Selenium - 200mcg: This important trace mineral has strong cancer-fighting properties.
COQ10 - 120mg: Coenzyme Q10 (COQ10) maintains heart health and protects muscles.
Be sure and take your multi and your COQ10 pill with an ample meal, such as lunch or dinner, to aid absorption.
5. Secret to Keep Your Life Balanced: Gratitude Journal and 4-7-8 Breathing
Gratitude Journal: Gratitude is shown to help ward off depression. So keep a journal and during the day make mental notes of the things you are grateful for – simple things such as friendship, a sunny day, a good cup of coffee, anything at all. At night, jot them down. By doing this for just one week, you can boost your entire mood for up to 6 months.
4-7-8 Breathing: A strong correlation exists between emotions and breathing – the perfect example of mind and body unity. People who are anxious or upset breathe rapid, shallow, noisy and irregular breathes. It’s easier to regulate your breathing than flip a switch on your mood. Try this technique known as 4-7-8 Breathing.
- Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge behind and above your front teeth.
- Exhale through your mouth, making a whooshing sound.
- Close your mouth and inhale deeply through your nose to a silent count of 4.
- Then hold your breath for a count of 7.
- Exhale through the mouth to a count of 8, and make the same whooshing sound.
- Repeat for 4 breath cycles.
Do this twice a day and you’ll be amazed by how easily calm washes over you.
Bonus: Dr. Weil’s #1 Anti-Cancer Super Meal
Not everyone realizes that Dr. Weil is a passionate chef who believes the kitchen is our first line of defense against cancer. He eats his favorite cancer-fighting meal at least once a week. His pasta puttanesca with tuna is a mini-Mediterranean diet in a bowl, both healthy and delicious.
Pasta Puttanesca With Tuna
2 (28 oz) cans Italian tomatoes, drained and crushed
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried hot red pepper flakes
2 tbsp capers
1/2 cup black olives, pitted and chopped
3 mashed garlic cloves
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, minced
1 lb dried pasta
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 package/can of healthy pouch/canned tuna (low-mercury type)