Health is far more than the absence of illness. Dr. Weil discusses his positive conception of health, and how that can inform the process of achieving and maintaining a healthy body and brain.
What does health me to you?
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The problem is not what you would expect: new research has shown that happier marriages seem to foster a tendency to gain weight. These findings were a surprise because earlier research has shown that happy marriage is beneficial to health in that these couples more likely to take medications on time and to schedule annual physicals, according to study leader Andrea Meltzer, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at Southern Methodist University in Texas. But Meltzer noted that the role of marital satisfaction and actual health is less clear. In this study, the couples who kept their weight in check were those who were dissatisfied with their marriages and potentially would consider divorce and the need to attract another mate. This indicates that these couples viewed weight in terms of appearance, rather than health. The investigators tracked 169 newlywed couples for four years. The couples checked in with the research team twice a year reporting on their marital satisfaction and steps, if any, toward divorce. They also reported on their height and weight. The investigators concluded that happy newlyweds should be encouraged to think about their weight as a health issue. The study was published online on March 11, 2013 by Health Psychology.
Andrea L. Meltzer et al, “Marital Satisfaction Predicts Weight Gain in Early Marriage”. Health Psychology. March 11, 2013. [Epub ahead of print]
Here’s more good news about fish oil. We’ve known for some time that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon and other cold water fish, is good for the heart. New research has now shown that seniors whose omega-3 levels are highest outlive those whose levels are lowest by an average of 2.2 years. Researchers from Harvard and the University of Washington reported study findings that elderly adults with the highest blood levels of omega-3s may reduce their risk of death by up to 27 percent and cut their risk of death from heart disease by about 35 percent.
A recent Q&A discussed incorporating coconut oil into your daily diet and new research associated with the source of fat: New View of Coconut Oil? Check out the article and tell us what source of fat your prefer to include in your diet!What’s your preferred source of fat?
This warning comes from the FDA, which has been receiving reports of serious and long lasting reactions to black henna, the dye sometimes used for some temporary tattoos. Adverse reactions reported to the agency include redness, blisters, raised red weeping lesions, loss of skin pigmentation, increased sensitivity to sunlight, and even permanent scarring. The reactions can develop immediately after getting a temporary tattoo or up to two or three weeks later. Not everyone who gets these tattoos is affected. “Black henna” is often substituted for traditional red henna (which has been safely used for centuries) to create darker and longer-lasting tattoos. In addition to reactions to black henna, you should be aware that some inks sold as black henna may be combinations of red henna plus coal-tar hair dye containing p-phenylenediamine (PPD), an ingredient known to sometimes cause dangerous skin reactions. Sometimes, tattoo artists may use a PPD-containing hair dye alone. By law, PPD is not permitted in cosmetics intended to be applied to the skin. States have jurisdiction over tattoo parlors and regulations differ from state to state (some may not have any regulations). If you develop a reaction to a temporary tattoo, see your doctor and also report the reaction to the FDA’s MedWatch program at 1-800-FDA-1088.
“Temporary Tattoos May Put You at Risk”, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, accessed March 28, 2013, http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm343932.htm
Seattle, Wash., played host to the 2013 Nutrition & Health Conference. I am delighted that the conference completed its tenth year and is stronger than ever!
(Next year's conference will be in Dallas, Texas. Find out more from the Nutrition & Health Conference's website.)
Check out the delicious recipes found in this photo album:
Get moving if you want to dial down the effects of hot flashes. New research from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation at the University of Pittsburgh tracked 27 white and 25 African American menopausal women ages 54 to 63 who were dealing with hot flashes and night sweats. The women wore sleep monitors when they went to bed, kept diaries and completed questionnaires on their daily activities including household chores and the amount of physical effort each required - light, moderate or vigorous. They also reported on the amount of exercise they performed and their participation in sports. The results showed that more activity meant better sleep, despite the hot flashes. The exercise the women reported was mainly related to household chores, not sports or exercise. Improved sleep occurred most often in white women who were not obese. The investigators said that more research is needed to see why African-American women and obese women didn’t seem to get the benefits of physical activity connected with housekeeping and caregiving. The study was published online March 25, 2013 by the journal Menopause.
Maya J. Lambiase, Rebecca C.S. Thurston, “Physical activity and sleep among midlife women with vasomotor symptoms.” Menopause, March 25, 2013 doi: 10.1097/GME.0b013e3182844110:
The benefits of meditation make it well worth learning the basics. Practiced regularly, it can help lower stress, reduce blood pressure, slow a racing heart, increase blood flow, and promote relaxation. The good news is that you may be able to put yourself in that enviable space with a simple walk in the park, according to a new study from the U.K. Researchers from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh found that the brain enters a meditative state when you’re in "green space."
A recent Q&A discussed the possibility that carbohydrates may influence mental decline: Can Carbs Cause Alzheimer's? Check out the article and tell us how you would describe your daily diet!How would you describe your diet?
Residents of Ikaria, an island off the coast of Greece, are famous for living long and healthy lives. A team of researchers from the University of Athens looking for the key to the longevity on Ikaria suspect that it may be the Greek coffee the islanders boil and drink daily. Other studies have shown that coffee has a beneficial effect on the endothelium, the cells lining blood vessels, and that regularly consuming coffee may reduce the risks of heart disease. To investigate the effect of coffee on the health of seniors who have spent their lives on Ikaria, the research team randomly selected 71 men and 71 women from 673 islanders over the age of 65. To account for possible contributing factors, they checked the participants' blood pressure, determined whether they had diabetes or other medical conditions, tested their endothelial function and gathered health and lifestyle information via questionnaires. The investigators found that 87 percent of their study participants drank boiled Greek coffee daily and that those who did had better endothelial function than participants who reported drinking other kinds of coffee. More studies will be needed to determine exactly how Greek coffee benefits cardiovascular health, the researchers wrote.
Attaining a goal is one of the greatest feelings a person can experience. Oftentimes, however, we get discouraged when we do not achieve the goals we set. Dr. Jim Nicolai provides a simple acronym, SMART, to help you achieve your goals. Set a goal today and see how SMART can help you!
- Realistic & Relevant
What are some goals you have in your life? Tell us in the comment section below!
Looking for more videos? Check out Dr. Weil's YouTube channel for a great selection.-->
By keeping your blood pressure in check, you may be able to lower your odds of developing Alzheimer’s disease, even if you have a genetic mutation that puts you at higher risk for the memory-robbing disorder. Results of brain scans performed on 118 adults age 47 to 89 showed that those whose blood pressure was under control had fewer of the beta-amyloid plaques in the brain that are characteristic of Alzheimer’s. As expected, participants with a genetic risk of the disease and high blood pressure had significantly more of the tell-tale brain plaques than the other study patients, according to researchers at the University of Texas, Dallas. While this study didn’t prove a cause and effect relationship between high blood pressure, the genetic mutation and increased amounts of brain plaque, it suggests that keeping your blood pressure under control can do more than just lower your risk of heart disease. It may be the way to keep your brain healthy, too. The study was published in the March 18, 2013 issue of JAMA Neurology.
Karen Rodrigue, “Contribution of Cerebrovascular Health to the Diagnosis of Alzheimer Disease." JAMA Neurol, 2013 Feb 18:1-2. DOI: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2013.1862. [Epub ahead of print]
"Hands on" osteopathic treatment of low back pain brought significant relief to patients after six sessions during a study at the UNT Health Care Center in Fort Worth, TX. The investigators compared osteopathic manual treatment (OMT) with and without ultrasound therapy and sham OMT with and without ultrasound to see which worked best for the 455 adults participating in the study. (Ultrasound has been used to warm an area of acute low back pain, which can bring blood flow to the site of the pain or injury.) Results showed that nearly two thirds of the patients receiving OMT had at least a 30 percent drop in pain levels and half of those treated with OMT had a 50 percent pain reduction.
A recent Q&A discussed the healthy eating habit of juicing: What's So Healthy About Juicing? Check out the article and tell us how often you juice and supplement a meal with juicing!How often do you juice?
If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, probiotics may turn out to be your best friend. A study in mice at the University of Michigan has found that probiotics can reverse the effect of stress on the digestive system. The introduction of these microbes seems to help by regulating a key digestive system component inflammasome, which is needed to keep the microbe population in the gut normal. The researchers explained that when stressed, mice produce a hormone (corticotropin-releasing hormone or CRH) that interferes with the action of inflammasome leading to inflammation. In the study, pretreating the mice with probiotics reduced stress-induced small bowel inflammation. (Probiotics are products containing the "friendly" bacteria -usually Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium - that normally inhabit the human digestive tract.) Still to come: figuring out optimal probiotic treatment for humans with IBS. In the meantime, the researchers recommended stress management and healthy diets to help ameliorate the impact of stress on the digestive tract. The study was published online on March 7, 2013 in Gastroenterology.
John Y. Kao et “Stress-Induced Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone-Mediated NLRP6 Inflammasome Inhibition and Transmissible Enteritis in Mice. Gastroenterology, 2013; DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2013.02.
If you’re watching your weight, you might want to include some extra olive oil in your diet to help you feel full longer. Researchers in Germany and Austria tested four edible fats: lard, butterfat, rapeseed oil and olive oil to assess their ability to satiate appetite. Over three months, the investigators gave study participants daily 500-gram portions of low-fat yogurt enriched with one of the four fats. Otherwise, the participants continued with their normal diets. Of the four fats, olive oil proved the most satiating based on participant reports, and blood tests showing that regular consumption of olive oil led to higher blood levels of serotonin, a hormone associated with satiety.
When both are part of your daily diet, green tea and coffee may help reduce your risk of stroke. In fact, the more green tea or coffee participants in a large Japanese study reported drinking, the lower their overall stroke risks compared to people who rarely drank either beverage. For the investigation, 83,269 Japanese adults were asked about their green tea and coffee drinking habits and then followed for about 13 years. Here are the surprising results:
• One cup of coffee daily was associated with about a 20 percent lower stroke risk;
• Two to three cups of green tea daily was associated with a 14 percent lower risk of stroke; at least four cups of green tea, a 20 percent lower risk.
• At least one cup of coffee or two cups of green tea was associated with a 32 percent lower risk of intracerebral hemorrhage (a stroke due to a burst blood vessel in the brain).
More research will be needed to elucidate how the combination of coffee and green tea works to influence stroke risks. The study was published online March 14, 2013 in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.
Yoshihiro Kokubo, et al “The Impact of Green Tea and Coffee Consumption on the Reduced Risk of Stroke Incidence in Japanese Population: The Japan Public Health Center-Based Study Cohort.” Stroke, March 14, 2013.
New scientific advances have revealed the remarkable potency of simple strategies for optimizing our health. This talk will highlight surprising, yet highly practical nutritional and mind/body interventions that can make an enormous difference in maintaining wellness. When further steps are needed, a path to balanced medicine will be discussed-combining the best of both natural approaches and conventional medicine.
Stephen Devries, M.D is a preventive cardiologist and Executive Director of the Gaples Institute for Integrative Cardiology, a nonprofit organization that promotes natural approaches to heart health. He is also an Associate Professor at Northwestern University. Dr. Devries has had unique training, including a Fellowship in Integrative Medicine with Dr. Andrew Weil at the University of Arizona. He previously wrote the weekly Chicago Sun-Times column, "Heart Beat" and authored the Time/Warner book, What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Cholesterol. Dr. Devries has been voted by his peers many years over as one of the "Best Doctors in America" and lectures internationally on integrative approaches to prevention of heart disease.
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A recent Q&A addressed the concern that consuming too many anti-inflammatory agents can be detrimental to health: Sabotaging Helpful Inflammation? Check out the article and tell us what you do in your daily life to combat inflammation!What are you doing to reduce whole body inflammation?
…And the sausages, the salami and all other processed meat: the more of it you eat, the greater your risks of death from heart disease, stroke and cancer. That’s the conclusion of a newly published European analysis that collected data from almost a half-million people in 10 countries. The researchers found that consuming more than 20 grams of processed meat per day (equivalent to a single thin strip of bacon) was enough to raise the risks. The good news for meat eaters is that the findings don’t apply to unprocessed red meat. Part of the risk of processed meats is the fat content. But lead researcher Sabine Rohrmann, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology at the University of Zurich, suggested that the salt, smoke and nitrates used to preserve meats could be to blame. Another possibility: people who eat a lot of processed meat have other less-than-healthy habits: in this study they tended to eat fewer fruits and vegetables and were more likely to smoke, drink alcohol and forego exercise than participants who ate little meat. The study was published on March 7, 2013 in BMC Medicine.