Since time immemorial, the human have been dreaming of immortality. Unfortunately, the cycle of nature continues its work inexorably. Instead of proposing a new kind of fountain of youth, Dr. Andrew Weil teaches us to how to age with health and serenity through a comprehensive program. Learn how to age in good health!
Andrew Weil and Integrative Medicine
A Graduate from Harvard University in botany and medicine, Dr. Andrew Weil has worked for the National Institute of Mental Health America. He is currently the director of the department of “Integrative Medicine” at the University of Arizona, Tucson. He offers a comprehensive program for long life by safeguarding our quality of life. Here is the very substance of this program to help you apply it to your life now!
Better safe than sorry. This adage states at the outset that one way to avoid health problems as you age is to know the risks we take in the different stages of our lives. Here are some suggestions:
- Assemble a folder of your medical history (family history, treatments received, etc.).
- Make sure your immunizations are up to date.
- Make a comprehensive health assessment (blood test, blood pressure, etc.).
- Learn about medical tests recommended for people your age (for example mammography or bone density,).
- Eliminate smoking and avoiding obesity.
The Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Good nutrition is an effective way to counter the ravages of time and disease. The anti-inflammatory diet is not meant to help you lose weight. This is a nutrition program that helps resist aging changes. Inflammation is a natural reaction of the body in fighting an attack.
Inflammation is healthy when it is temporary and intended for injury or specific body parts. The inflammation becomes abnormal when it extends to areas of the body that are not abused and when it persists even when the problem is resolved. Several diseases involve uncontrolled inflammation, for example autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes and rheumatic fever. Dysregulation of autoimmunity could also lead to other diseases such as asthma, multiple sclerosis and even atherosclerosis.
The anti-inflammatory diet helps in reducing the deleterious effects of uncontrolled inflammation by taking advantage of the properties of many foods. Here is a summary of this innovative diet:
- Avoid all forms of hydrogenated oils, including margarine and such products.
- Eliminate fried foods in restaurants, especially fast food. Oils from deep fryers are oxygenated and thus can cause inflammation.
- Take all your oils, nuts, flour and cereals rancid (rancidity can be recognized by its smell of “Oil Painting”).
- Reduce your consumption of polyunsaturated vegetable oils because of their high susceptibility to rancidity (safflower, sunflower, corn, sesame and soybean). Prefer the monounsaturated oils like canola oil or olive oil (extra virgin cold pressed). Protect your oils from exposure to air, heat and light.
- Do not heat your oil until the smoking point.
- Increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids from animal and vegetable origin (for example fatty fish like salmon and flaxseed).
- Get an index of glycemic load of foods and reduce consumption of those whose burden is high (pastries, soft drinks, bread, potatoes, etc.).
- Choose foods with low or medium glycemic load, such as whole grains and various vegetables, including beans.
- Reduce your consumption of products made from flour, but not totally.
- Reduce your consumption of meat, poultry and other animal products as animal fats are saturated.
- Increase your intake of vegetable protein (products made from soy, legumes, whole grains, and nuts).
- Watch the variety and origin of fish you eat to reduce ingestion of toxic chemicals.
- Increase the intake of vitamins and minerals through the consumption of fruits and vegetables that also provide fiber and phytonutrients.
- Eat vegetables with as many colors as possible and in great variety, as each color is associated with various protective phytonutrients.
- Eat at least 120 grams of cooked fruits and vegetables varying them each day (or 250 grams if uncooked).
- Drink tea every day (preferably green tea).
Dr. Weil believes that three types of physical activities are important for good health as you age. They are:
This category includes all activities that make us gasp and increase the heart rate. Brisk walking, cycling, swimming are good examples. These activities help regulate metabolism, reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, burn calories and help us maintain a healthy weight.
Strength training is particularly useful for developing and maintaining bone and muscle mass, which decreases with age.
Flexibility and balance
Exercising to increase your flexibility and balance will help you guard against falls, which can cause severe disability. Yoga or tai chi are recommended because they combine the postures of flexibility exercises, breathing and meditation.
Chronic stress can cause various problems, ranging from cardiac arrhythmia imbalances immune and gastrointestinal. To reduce stress, Dr. Weil suggests practicing breathing, mental visualization, meditation and massage therapy.
Here Is A Relaxed Breathing Technique:
1. Place the tip of your tongue behind the upper teeth on the edge of the gums, and stay in this position throughout the exercise.
2. Audibly exhale completely through your mouth.
3. Breathe deeply and calmly through the nose while counting to four (mouth closed).
4. Hold your breath for a count till September
5. Audibly exhale through the mouth counting to eight.
6. Repeat steps 3, 4 and 5, for four complete breathe cycles.
Rest and Sleep
Your body also needs rest and quality sleep. In the end, here are some interesting assets which will help you recover well:
- Treat yourself to a nap of 10 to 20 minutes per day.
- Accept the possibility of doing nothing from time to time (being passive on both physical and mental fronts).
- Spend some time outdoors each day to properly receive some bright sunlight.
- Give yourself a moment of subdued light before bedtime.
- An infusion of valerian (a sedative herb) can help you sleep.