Dr. Weil’s Head-To-Toe Wellness Guide – 8 of 9

IMMUNE SYSTEM

The immune system is your body’s natural defense network – when it is weakened or compromised, you are more susceptible to disease and infection. You can encourage your natural healing response with these suggestions:

Lifestyle

  • Get regular exercise. It strengthens the immune system, in part by maintaining good circulation. Aim for 30-45 minutes of moderate intensity most days of the week.
  • Wash your hands frequently. Most of our contact with germs is with our hands, and scrubbing them with soap and water can ward off colds, flu, and other infectious illnesses. Make it a point to wash your hands often and when you are in a potentially infectious environment – antibacterial soaps aren’t necessary, just use regular soap and water.
  • Make time for rest. Inadequate rest can have negative effects on your immune system, energy levels and mental alertness. Create a sleep and rest schedule and stick with it.
  • Learn to manage your stress. Increased levels of stress hormones such as cortisol can weaken the immune system, leading to a host of health issues. Try writing out your thoughts in a journal, taking a “news fast” – avoiding the news on TV, the internet, papers and magazines – and practicing relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises and visualization.
  • Get social and be positive. People who stay socially active and have a positive outlook tend to be healthier and live longer than those who are negative and isolated.

Nutrition

  • Eat plenty of fresh (preferably organic), whole fruits and vegetables. Aim for a variety of colors, from greens to bright reds and yellows. A synergistic mix of antioxidants helps boost the immune system and decrease the risk of illness.
  • Eat an anti-inflammatory diet. The regular consumption of inflammation moderating foods in combination with herbs such as garlic and cooked Asian mushrooms (shiitake, oyster mushrooms, maitake and enoki) can help support a healthy immune system.
  • Minimize your consumption of sugar and alcohol. It can impair the function of white blood cells and other immune issues.

Supplements

  • Take a daily antioxidant supplement. A quality supplement can help fill in any nutritional gaps in a healthy diet and support overall immune function.
  • Astragalus. This root of a plant in the pea family has antiviral and immune-enhancing properties and a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine to ward off colds and flu.
  • Echinacea. The dried root and leaves of the purple coneflower can help stimulate immune activity and boost resistance against bacteria and virus.
  • Immune-enhancing mushrooms. Maitake, reishi, agaricus, and enoki all provide immune-strengthening benefits. Combination products are often more effective than individual species.
  • Arctic root or rhodiola. Also known as “golden root” or “roseroot,” this is traditionally used in Eastern Europe as a general tonic and can help reduce the harmful effects of stress on the immune system.

Dr. Weil’s Head-To-Toe Wellness Guide – 7 of 9

ENERGY

Persistent mild fatigue or a chronic lack of energy due to day-to-day stressors or hectic schedules can be addressed with simple preventive steps. Try the suggestions below:

Lifestyle

  • Get enough rest. Quality sleep and rest encourage optimum energy levels. Retiring one hour earlier will yield huge dividends in your overall productivity. Try different amounts of sleep and see what works best.
  • Get regular exercise. Physical activity brings oxygen to the brain, resulting in a revitalized feeling. Aim for 45 minutes of some form of moderate exercise most days of the week.
  • Catch some sun. Expose yourself to natural sunlight every day. UV rays affect the production of melatonin, a hormone that controls the sleep cycle.
  • Try the Stimulating Breath. Energize the mind and body with the Stimulating Breath: Sit with your back straight and place the tip of the tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind the upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. Rapidly breathe in and out through the nose for 10 seconds.
  • Cultivate a positive nature. Harboring anger, resentment, guilt and fear can deplete energy.

Nutrition

  • Eat a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables (preferably organic) for their protective phytochemicals and micronutrients needed for optimal metabolism.
  • Become a grazer. A large meal can trigger the body to release more insulin, resulting in low blood sugar levels and a fatigue-inducing slump. Smaller meals or healthy snacks throughout the day can help keep blood sugar levels steady.
  • Stay hydrated. Dehydration is a common cause of fatigue – drink purified water or other healthy liquids throughout the day.
  • Snack right. Choose healthy snacks that contain some protein, carbohydrates, and beneficial fats or select whole foods that are low in fat. Good options include a handful of unsalted nuts, fresh or dried fruit, yogurt, vegetable sticks, and whole grain bread or crackers.
  • Eat more fiber. Navy beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, and lentils are all rich in fiber, which slows the release of insulin and helps maintain a steady supply of energy.

Supplements

  • Magnesium and calcium. Oral magnesium supplementation has been shown to help reduce symptoms of fatigue, especially for those with low magnesium levels.
  • Coenzyme Q10. This vital nutrient is involved in cellular energy production throughout the body.
  • Cordyceps. A traditional Chinese medicinal fungus that may help fight fatigue and boost energy levels. It is used as an energizing tonic and to help increase aerobic capacity and endurance.
  • D-Ribose. A five-carbon sugar used in the generation of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), it helps maintain energy production in cells and can be especially beneficial for those with chronic fatigue.
  • Ginseng (American or Asian). Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) and American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) are used for stimulant and adaptogenic (stress-protective) properties, respectively.
  • Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus). A woody shrub from northeastern Asia with properties similar to those of ginseng, it has a long history of use to maximize athletic performance. Studies show that eleuthero can help enhance mental activity as well.
  • Arctic root (Rhodiola rosea). An adaptogenic herb that helps prevent fatigue, stress and the damaging effects of oxygen deprivation.
  • Vitamin B complex. B-vitamins act as cofactors in many metabolic reactions and assist in the metabolism of carbohydrates into energy.

7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude

“Stop feeling sorry for yourself,” we are often told. And while it can be hard to avoid self-pity entirely, mentally strong people choose to exchange self-pity for gratitude. Whether you choose to write a few sentences in a gratitude journal, or simply take a moment to silently acknowledge all that you have, giving thanks can transform your life.

Here are 7 scientifically proven benefits:

  1. Gratitude opens the door to more relationships. Not only does saying “thank you” constitute good manners, but showing appreciation can help you win new friends, according to a 2014 study published in Emotion. The study found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship. So whether you thank a stranger for holding the door or send a thank-you note to that colleague who helped you with a project, acknowledging other people’s contributions can lead to new opportunities.
  2. Gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and report feeling healthier than other people, according to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences. Not surprisingly, grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health. They exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular check-ups, which is likely to contribute to further longevity.
  3. Gratitude improves psychological health. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Robert Emmons, a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.
  4. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. Grateful people are more likely to behave in a prosocial manner, even when others behave less kindly, according to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky. Study participants who ranked higher on gratitude scales were less likely to retaliate against others, even when given negative feedback. They experienced more sensitivity and empathy toward other people and a decreased desire to seek revenge.
  5. Grateful people sleep better. Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep, according to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. Spend just 15 minutes jotting down a few grateful sentiments before bed, and you may sleep better and longer.
  6. Gratitude improves self-esteem. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that gratitude increased athletes’ self-esteem, an essential component to optimal performance. Other studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons. Rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs—a major factor in reduced self-esteem—grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments.
  7. Gratitude increases mental strength. For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma. A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of post-traumatic stress disorder. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September 11. Recognizing all that you have to be thankful for —even during the worst times—fosters resilience.

https://www.psychologytoday.com

Dr. Weil’s Head-To-Toe Wellness Guide – 6 of 9

DIGESTIVE HEALTH

If you suffer from occasional indigestion, constipation, gas, irritable bowel syndrome or other digestive complaints, consider incorporating these simple, healthy strategies into your daily routine. Diet modification, stress management, regular exercise, and prudent supplementation can all be helpful:

Lifestyle

  • Exercise daily. Regular physical activity tones your intestines and is essential to regular bowel movements.
  • Manage stress. It can interfere with relaxation of the whole body, affecting how you digest food. Practice some form of relaxation technique daily, such as breathing exercises, biofeedback, or cognitive behavioral therapy.
  • Avoid stimulants. Caffeinated beverages, coffee (including decaffeinated coffee), tobacco and other stimulants can irritate the GI tract.
  • Check your meds. Talk with your physician about over-the-counter and prescription medications you are taking, as some can affect digestion.
  • Don’t eat right before bedtime. Give your meal adequate time to be broken down and digested.
  • Stop smoking. Tobacco smoking has been linked to several digestive disorders including heartburn, peptic ulcers, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
  • Limit or avoid alcohol. Strong spirits can irritate the digestive system. If you do consume alcoholic beverages, do so only with meals.

Nutrition

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help keep digestive systems running properly. Drinking fluids after, rather than during, a meal may help minimize symptoms of indigestion.
  • Eat a diet rich in fiber. Consume at least 40 grams of soluble and insoluble fiber a day, including whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
  • Keep a food log. It can help you identify the causes or triggers of your digestive issues.
  • Eat small meals. Smaller portions place less demand on the digestive tract and are easier to digest than large meals.
  • Drink herbal tea. Pure peppermint-leaf tea, steeped for three to five minutes, is an excellent stomach soother. (However, it may worsen esophageal reflux by relaxing the sphincter where the esophagus joins the stomach.) Chamomile tea is an alternative.
  • Drink ginger tea. Also try candied ginger or take a 500 mg capsule of ginger root extract after a meal.
  • Avoid spicy foods. They can irritate the digestive tract and trigger indigestion.
  • Monitor how you eat. Don’t chew with your mouth open, don’t talk while eating and don’t eat too quickly – all can contribute to indigestion.

Supplements

  • Probiotics. These products contain “friendly” bacteria that can stabilize the digestive tract and aid in digestion.
  • Plant-derived digestive enzymes. For example, bromelain, derived from pineapples, can help digest specific nutrients.
  • Artichoke-leaf extract. It may help with indigestion by increasing bile flow needed to digest fats.
  • Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL). This herbal extract can soothe and protect the lining of the stomach and duodenum.

Healthy Skin from the Inside Out

Your skin is your largest organ but very often the most neglected.  The relationship with your gut health and your skin is intertwined.  You might be excited to learn (since it may all make sense now) that your skin is one of the only ways (besides orally or via the bowels) that your skin can push out toxins or waste it can’t deal with.  So when we see issues like acne, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, rashes and alike, naturally my first point of call is the gut health.  Investing in a good probiotic alongside broths that contain quality collagen for lining repair will help to nourish and support good digestion.  You can check out a post on probiotics here and broth here.  If your acne is predominantly around your mouth and cheeks, it’s a little clue into your gut health being your issue.

Combat Inflammation
Many skin conditions are also a result of crazy inflammation as a result of poor diet.  Inflammatory foods including gluten, sugar and dairy can wreak havoc with our insides and really wear away good gut flora.  My suggestion – apply the 80/20 rule. You might like to pick one of these and remove it (say gluten) as a start and see where that takes you.  Gluten is a disaster for most people, it’s super hard to digest and leads to a plethora of problems.  Cut it out for a few weeks as a starting point and see.

Cleanse
If your acne or poor skin is a result of toxic build-up (as opposed to hormone imbalance, although even then a cleanse can really help) invest in a good cleanse.  In a perfect world we wouldn’t need to detoxify but sadly pollutants are everywhere; found in our water, air, food and environment in general.  Let it be noted, cleanses don’t need to be harsh and drastic. Cleansing yourself should be about eating really easily digested foods, cleaning out the gut and regulating the liver gently.

Your Skin Is An Extremely Vulnerable Organ!

Contrary to mainstream thought, our skin is far more susceptible to toxins than our digestive system! If you had to choose one area to invest in organics, it may be far wiser for me to invest in non-toxic beauty products than organic fruits and vegetables. Evidence shows strong proof of how the absorption of nitrosodiethanolamine (NDELA), a carcinogen found in shampoos and other beauty products, was shown to be over 100 times greater when absorbed via skin versus the mouth.

Our digestive system is built to fight toxins. When we consume toxins, such as pesticides in fruits and vegetables, the enzymes in our saliva and stomach manage to break down a lot of them. Our livers and kidneys also help in detoxing the pesticides – and generally many of the toxins are flushed out.

Unfortunately, the toxins in mainstream beauty products bypass our liver and kidneys and go straight into our bloodstream and tissues. This is because we have no defense systems that work to protect us when toxins are absorbed through our skin.

Even when we put shampoo or conditioner on our scalp for a few seconds, the toxins are immediately absorbed by the 20 blood vessels, 650 sweat glands, and 1,000 nerve endings that make our scalp their home. From there the toxins travels throughout our blood stream and end up in our entire body.

We have a wonderful, and organic, skin care line that you can use with confidence, and try our Organic Facial so your esthetician can analyze your skin.

Dr. Weil’s Head-To-Toe Wellness Guide – 5 of 9

BONE & JOINT HEALTH

As we age, both men and women experience a loss of bone mass as well as normal wear and tear on the joints. Small preventive measures can help to protect joints and keep bones strong – use these suggestions:

Lifestyle For Healthy Bones:

  • Get regular exercise. Weight-bearing exercise (walking, jogging or any exercise done on the feet) and strength training for muscles can help fortify bones and build bone mass.
  • Don’t smoke and keep alcohol intake moderate. Both changes will help preserve bone and slow bone loss.

For Healthy Joints:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Losing just a few unnecessary pounds can alleviate excess mechanical stress on the affected joint(s).
  • Avoid intense activities that can injure or strain the joint cartilage.
  • Get exercise. Performed at a level that does not stress the affected joint(s), exercise can be helpful – it can strengthen surrounding muscles that support and protect the joint. Swimming, stationary cycling and light weight training are good choices, as are stretching exercises such as yoga and T’ai chi.

Nutrition For Healthy Bones:

  • Get enough calcium. Non-fat dairy products (such as yogurt and non-fat milk); non-dairy, calcium-rich foods such as sardines and canned salmon (with bones); dark leafy greens; whole soy foods such as tofu; and calcium-fortified products such as soymilk and orange juice are good sources.
  • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit. Potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and beta carotene (found in fruits and vegetables) have been linked to higher total bone mass.
  • Eat magnesium-rich foods every day. Spinach, tofu, almonds, broccoli, lentils, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are good sources.
  • Watch protein intake. Excessive dietary protein can promote calcium loss from bones.
  • Cut back on caffeine, and decrease sodium intake. Too much of either can promote calcium excretion.

For Healthy Joints:

  • Eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Focus on foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as cold water, oily fish like salmon and sardines, and walnuts or freshly ground flaxseeds and spices like ginger and turmeric – all help reduce inflammation. Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid has more information and specific recommendations.
  • Eat foods rich in antioxidants. Found in fresh vegetables and fruit, antioxidants may help reduce tissue damage from inflammation.

Supplements For Healthy Bones:

  • Calcium. People who don’t get enough calcium may lose bone mass faster and fracture bones more easily. Taking half as much magnesium with supplemental calcium will help offset any constipating effects.
  • Vitamin D. It facilitates the absorption of calcium, helping to support healthy and strong bones. It also promotes bone mineralization.
  • Vitamin K. It helps activate certain proteins that are involved in the structuring of bone mass. Low intake of vitamin K has been linked to low bone density.

For Healthy Joints:

  • Glucosamine and chondroitin. These two supplements are from substances naturally found in healthy cartilage and appear to relieve pain, improve joint mobility, and slow osteoarthritis-related damage to the joints.
  • SAM-e. This naturally occurring molecule (S-adenosylmethioine) delivers sulfur to the cartilage, which helps build strong joints.
  • Evening primrose oil. A source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) which may help maintain healthy joints.
  • Anti-inflammatory herbs. Ginger, holy basil, turmeric, green tea, rosemary, Scutellaria and hu zhang all have naturally occurring anti-inflammatory compounds that act as COX-2 inhibitors.

Omega-3 fatty acids. Use varieties that are molecularly distilled from the oil of fish or krill and contain EPA and DHA, which have been shown in studies to help maintain bone health and joint flexibility.

Dr Weil’s Head-To-Toe Wellness Guide – 4 of 9

LUNG HEALTH

The ability to breathe properly is fundamental to good health. Don’t take the health of your respiratory system for granted, even if you are not a smoker. Simple dietary and lifestyle steps can help promote healthy lungs – start today:

Lifestyle

  • Don’t smoke. Tobacco addiction is the single greatest cause of preventable illness, greatly increasing the risks of developing lung cancer and respiratory diseases.
  • Get regular exercise. It helps promote healthy lung function and optimal oxygen delivery throughout the body.
  • Practice deep breathing exercises to increase lung capacity, improve respiratory efficiency, and promote general relaxation.
  • Maintain normal weight. Excess pounds tax both the heart and lungs. If you’re overweight, you’re more likely to experience shortness of breath.
  • Avoid exposure to environmental air pollutants. High ozone levels, smog, car exhaust, asbestos and metal dusts are unhealthy for lungs and can lead to lung disease. Use a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter to reduce exposure to smoke and smog, and wear a protective mask when you are in close proximity to lung irritants such as drywall dust or fiberglass insulation fibers.
  • Limit exposure to toxic household cleaners. Chlorine bleach, petroleum distillates, ammonia, formaldehyde and nitrobenzene can harm the lungs. Use safer alternatives for cleaning such as baking soda, lemon juice, and vinegar.
  • Monitor your breathing. See your doctor if you have a prolonged dry cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
  • Increase the quality of air you breathe. Consider investing in a HEPA-style air filtration system for your home and office.
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home.
  • Practice good hygiene all the time, not just during cold and flu season. Regular, frequent hand washing may prevent upper respiratory infections, which are potential precursors to more serious lung issues. Soap and water are just as effective as antibacterial soaps, and are better for the environment.
  • Keep well hydrated. Maintaining proper fluid balance and moist respiratory tissues is critical for optimal respiratory functioning, immune surveillance, and oxygen exchange.

Nutrition

  • Eat more food with beta-carotenes. Peaches, melons, mangoes, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkins, tomatoes, dark leafy greens, winter squash and carrots all contain carotenoids – antioxidant compounds which may help minimize the risk of developing lung cancer.
  • Eat more apples. These pomaceous fruits promote overall lung health, likely due to their high concentration of anti-inflammatory flavonoids such as quercetin.

Supplements

  • Daily multivitamin. Look for products containing 15,000 IU of mixed carotenoids, including beta-carotene.
  • Vitamin C. This water-soluble vitamin can provide additional protection against the oxidative effects of air pollution and smoke.
  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). This powerful antioxidant can improve the use of oxygen at the cellular level.
  • Cordyceps and reishi mushrooms. These Chinese medicinal mushrooms may be useful in promoting optimal respiratory efficiency and protecting against chronic lung disease.
  • B vitamins. Especially B-6, may help protect against lung cancer by supporting immune function.
  • Vitamin D. This fat-soluble hormone may help prevent the cellular changes that promote lung cancer.
  • Aspirin. A daily aspirin may reduce the risk of lung cancer through its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Mullein. The flowers and leaves of this Mediterranean native can help relieve dry, bronchial coughs and help alleviate chest congestion.
  • Zhu ling (Polyporus umbellatus). This mushroom may be particularly useful in protecting against lung cancer: Research suggests it may help stimulate the body’s immune response against lung tumors.

Detoxification and Wellness

Detoxification and Wellness
By: Michael J. Anderson

Toxicity: The question is no longer if or whether we are toxic, but rather how toxic are we?

In the CDC’s (Center for Disease Control) Fourth National Report on Humans Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, they tested 212 chemicals and found ALL to be in the blood or urine of most Americans! So where are we getting all these toxins? They are found in household cleaners, the surrounding air, insecticides in non-organic foods, they leach from plastic water bottles and there are also heavy metals are everywhere. Based on one’s lifestyle choices, along with their DNA, will determine what these chemical do in your body. Do they flow out naturally as in a healthy person, or do they get trapped and grow.

So how do we know if we need to make a change; how do we know that toxicity is impacting one’s health? We look for symptomatic signs that may have changed, over the past weeks or months, in your overall feeling of wellness. For example:

  • Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue,
  • Chronic muscle aches,
  • Difficulty concentrating,
  • Food allergies or chemical sensitivities, e.g. more sensitive to perfumes or odors than in the past,
  • Irritability or any behavioral changes,
  • Changes in your gastrointestinal function such as abdominal pain

Some or all of these symptoms may indicate that toxicity is affecting your wellness.

So what can we do about it? First is to look at your surrounding environment such as your household cleaners, are they all natural and optimally organic or are they loaded with chemicals. Similarly, make sure your body care products are organic. Look at the labels of the products we use and it is no wonder our bodies are loaded with chemicals.
Next, look at your food and drinks that you ingest. Look for hormone, antibiotic free meat and dairy products. Choose only cold-water fish instead of farm raised, and try to eat 100% USDA organic fruits and vegitables. The following list, coined the Dirty Dozen, are those that are typically higher in pesticides, and should be eaten only if organic and washed thoroughly prior to eating:

  • Celery
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Nectarines
  • Bell Peppers
  • Spinach
  • Cherries
  • Kale
  • Potatoes
  • Grapes

Finally, it is a good idea to do a periodic metabolic detoxification program. I strongly suggest the Clear Change 10-Day Program by Metagenics which is a scientifically based program that provides the proper support for effective liver detoxification. I have done it on numerous occasions, so trust me when I say, you will feel great afterwards. However, in the spirit of full disclosure, if you have never done one and if you are highly toxic, you may feel a bit uncomfortable the first time you detox. As your body gets more pure, and the more you avoid chemicals, the less dramatic the detoxification process will be with each attempt.

The benefits are numerous… You will feel more energetic, your cognition level will improve, less dependent on coffee or other artificial stimulants, reduced water retention and a natural loss of excess weight. Another positive side effect of doing a cleanse is that it may reveal a food you might be allergic to. Therefore, after the cleanse, introduce foods methodically in order to see if your body reacts negatively.

StressBusters Wellness Day Spa is an approved Metagenics provider.

Dr Weil’s Head-To-Toe Wellness Guide – 3 of 9

HEART HEALTH
Simple preventive measures, including maintaining the right mix of healthy lifestyle habits, rather than drugs or surgery, are the best way to achieve optimal cardiovascular function. Use the following to promote the health of your heart:
Lifestyle

  • Exercise. Regular, moderate exercise helps maintain the health of blood vessels, strengthens the heart muscle itself, and can help reduce heart disease risk factors including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and stress. Aim for 30 minutes a day of moderate aerobic activity on most days of the week. For individual guidance, consult a personal trainer.
  • Lose weight. Even a modest amount of weight loss can significantly lower cardiovascular risks.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease, and has negative health consequences for your entire body, from your taste buds to your energy levels to your skin. Seek support and guidance in quitting.
  • Manage stress. Uncontrolled stress can raise blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and homocysteine levels. Practice breath work, meditation, guided imagery, visualization or another relaxation technique, and participate in regular moderate exercise (including yoga and T’ai chi), stay social, and laugh often.

Nutrition

  • Reduce intake of saturated fats. They can contribute to high cholesterol; avoid whole-fat dairy foods such as cheese, cream and milk, as well as red meat.
  • Limit consumption of trans-fats. Found in most margarines, snack foods, heavily processed foods and some cooking oils, these fats (often listed on food labels as “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oil) can reduce HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels and raise LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels.
  • Eat some nuts every day. Nuts, especially almonds, walnuts and cashews contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
  • Substitute whole soy protein for animal protein. Excessive animal protein has been shown to raise homocysteine levels. Aim for two servings of whole soy protein, such as tofu or edamame, per day.
  • Use fresh garlic regularly. This traditionally medicinal herb has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels. Use one or two raw or lightly cooked cloves a day.
  • Drink green tea daily. It provides EGCG, a polyphenol than may help to moderate inflammation and lower cholesterol.
  • Eat plenty of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber has a powerful cholesterol-lowering effect. Beans, legumes and whole grains are good sources.
  • Limit refined carbohydrates. A diet full of cookies, cakes, crackers, fluffy breads, chips and sodas can increase triglyceride levels and lower HDL.
  • Limit sodium intake. Excessive sodium has been linked to high blood pressure and heart disease. Avoid processed meals and canned foods, taste foods before you salt them and do not add salt while cooking, avoid foods that are visibly salted and read labels (aim for no more than 1,500 mg sodium per day).

Supplements

  • Fish oil. Several studies have linked omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil with a reduced risk of heart attack and stroke, as well as lowered triglyceride levels and reduced blood pressure.
  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). This is a powerful antioxidant that promotes the efficient utilization of energy at the cellular level and is especially beneficial to the heart muscle. It is a particularly important supplement for those who take cholesterol-lowering statin medications, which can inhibit the body’s ability to synthesize CoQ10.
  • B vitamins. Low levels of B vitamins have been associated with increased blood levels of homocysteine, a toxic amino acid linked to heart disease risk.
  • Vitamin C. This antioxidant vitamin has been shown to help lower blood pressure in people with mild to moderate hypertension.