Dr. Andrew Weil once appeared on the popular Dr. Oz show. Dr. Oz likely needs no introduction, but perhaps Dr. Weil does.
Andrew Weil, M.D., is one of the most respected doctors in the world because of his work to pioneer integrative medicine. To understand Dr. Weil fully, it is important to understand what integrative medicine is and what it is not: a blanket endorsement of alternative medicine.
Instead, integrative medicine is about rigorous testing of alternative techniques, and when those techniques hold up under that exhaustive scientific challenge, it becomes about integrating them into current practices in a productive way. This takes the mysticism out of alternative medicine. Dr. Weil likes to differentiate by calling it complementary rather than alternative. With complementary techniques, we know how they work and why they’re the better option.
On the show with Dr. Oz, Dr. Weil explored his “8 Weeks to Optimum Health” book and program, which discusses the various ways that we can protect our brain, heart and lungs by controlling what we put into our bodies, including the food we eat and the air we breathe. Although Dr. Weil discussed too much material to cover in one article, we will hit on all of the major points in the four sections ahead.
The Food Pyramid
As the basis for the diet outlined in his books, Dr. Weil uses what he calls the anti-inflammatory food pyramid. The core concept here is to recognize the foods that reduce inflammation and to focus our diets on integrating those foods Here are the five primary bullet points of Dr. Weil’s food pyramid:
- Mushrooms are low in calories, high in protein, vitamins and minerals. Eat as much as you want, but always cook them because raw mushrooms are indigestible and thus have no health benefits.
- Eat a couple of whole soy servings every day. Soy helps to defend from prostate and breast cancer which are hormonally-driven cancers. Avoid processed soy, such as fake meats, as a substitute.
- Eat four or more servings of cruciferous vegetables, such as brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower, which have strong cancer-defending properties.
- Do not avoid fat. In fact, eat five to seven healthy fat servings a day. A whole egg once a day is fine. Other good fat sources include olive and walnut oil.
- Eat a couple of servings of cracked and whole grains daily. Avoid processed flour and sugar. Eat pasta cooked al dente.
Protecting the Brain
The brain is the control center. It is also highly susceptible to infection and chemicals, and when disturbed, there is a ripple effect throughout the body. A daily supply of Omega 3 fatty acid is important to keeping the brain healthy. A common source is salmon, but sable and butterfish actually contain much more. The supplements Alpha Lipoic Acid and Acetyl L-Carnitine help to promote growth within the brain. Lastly, steam food rather than opt for a high-temperature method. High temperatures create sugars that are detrimental to the brain in large quantities.
Protecting the Heart
The best way to protect the heart is through lifestyle choices which include exercise, proper sleep and air quality. In terms of nutrition, it helps to eat a clove or two of garlic each day by integrating it into your meals. Garlic is highly effective at lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure. It also helps fight infections and has some cancer-defending properties. Dr. Weil also suggests a CoQ10 supplement which should be taken as part of a meal that includes healthy fats.
Protecting the Lungs
Proper nutrition and exercise are vital to lung health, but the most important factor is air quality. In terms of nutrition, Dr. Weil recommends foods with high levels of beta-carotene as well as the supplement Zhu Ling. Zhu Ling is a medicinal mushroom known to reduce the risk of lung cancer and disease. Concerning indoor air quality (IAQ), Dr. Weil stressed that it is generally more dangerous than outdoor air due to the concentration of pollutants and contaminants. To combat that, he recommends HEPA filtration, which removes 99.97% of all harmful material from the air. He also recommends use of a HEPA vacuum cleaner since traditional vacuums tend to recirculate contaminants.
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