The bottom line on Soda, Energy Drinks, Diary, Soy, Vitamins (esp. Vitamin D), Omega-3, Cell Phone Radiation, Eye Health, Antioxidants, Atkins, Trans Fat, Depression, Exercise, Juice Cleanses and Tea… whew!
IN THIS insightful exchange, Kevin Rose, the co-founder of Digg, interviews Dr. Andrew Weil, medical doctor, integrative medicine specialist and botanist, about many of the hot health topics of the day.
You’ll enjoy the video, but I’ve also made a transcription below of the interview (not verbatim, mind you) organized within the topics discussed, with my comments or amplification [in brackets]. Enjoy.
Sugar is the big problem. Sugar drives obesity and type 2 diabetes in the U.S. If you want a carbonated drink try sparkling water with lemon, or a bit of fruit juice. Beware high fructose corn syrup masquerading as some good form of sugar. It’s not. It’s a marker for cheap, low quality foods. [Corn is a heavily subsidized crop in the U.S. which accounts for its use as a sugar. Read more about this here]
They may keep you up at nights for some all-night bender or work effort, but the usual ingredient that enables this is caffeine. [Caffeine spikes cortisol levels. Cortisol is the "stress hormone".] Added to the caffeine is sugar. You can at least avoid one bad ingredient (sugar) by drinking caffeinated coffee or tea , though if addicted to caffeine, you’ll get an insufficient “lift” for your all-nighter.
In Japan, they often drink Matcha Tea, developed to help keep monks awake during meditation. Another energy drink alternative is a drink with bitter orange in it. Chino, made by San Pellegrino, contains some variety of bitter orange and is known to help keep people alert.
Cow milk and its derivatives, such as cheese, can be problematic for some. High in saturated fats [more about fats], milk can challenge artery and heart health. For some, milk sugars (lactose) and/or the milk protein (casein) are indigestible. Casein protein can irritate the immune system and can cause or exacerbate allergies.
If one or both parents have a history of milk intolerance, it would be wise to keep their infants off milk for first two or three years of life in order to prevent skin issues, allergies and sinus problems.
Another issue with milk concerns how it’s made. It’s common to produce milk from cows given a steady diet of hormones and antibiotics.
A Mongolian physician studied diary practices in Mongola and the U.S. and reported her findings in a Harvard journal. She found that farmers in the U.S. keep their cows always lactating, resulting in a high level of sex hormones being produced in their milk. In Mongola, farmers did not attempt to do this; the cows there only produced milk during their natural cycle.
[The value of soy in the diet has become a hotel debated issue] It’s important that whole soy, not fake hot dogs with soy isolates or soy supplements, be consumed. Don’t over do it. A half cup per day is fine.
Does quality matter? Yes, although price is not always equivalent to quality, it’s worth going for quality. Although vitamins are not a substitute for food, they do provide insurance against gaps in your diet, and for specific therapeutic and preventative effects.
Deficiency is the rule. Most of us are not producing enough vitamin D via sun exposure, which other than supplementation, is the only sure way of getting it. Latitudes north of Atlanta, the sun too low in the winter to get enough. 2,000 units per day with your largest meal for absorption [with vitamin A is a good idea to help prevent toxicity, although this is rare]. Latest research indicates that vitamin D users contract flu much less often than those bereft of it. Even 4,000 units per day is not too high. Get tested [a blood test] to find out your level [before taking more than 2,000 units per day].
This is our biggest nutritional deficiency. Two to three grams fish oil supplemented every day is a good idea, even if you eat fish. Sockeye salmon (not farmed cause only eats insects and algae) sardines, anchovies are good choices as they’re lower on the food chain and therefore less likely to contain contaminants. Krill oil is great but is being over-harvested, and the population is not sustainable.
Vegetable sources of omega-3 such as hemp, flax and chia are good to have in your diet, but they have a different molecule of omega-3 than fish oil, which isn’t as effective. Algae is a better option, but currently is not well developed.
Cell phone radiation
There’s contradictory research here. Money seems to be an influence, as large industries have a stake in the outcome. Err on side caution. Limit your use. Distance yourself from the source of radiation. Don’t glue the phone, or phone apparatus to your ears. The radio magnetic field falls off exponentially to distance, [meaning that for each increment of distance from, say, your head, there's a multiple reduction in the strength of the field]. Use the speaker phone.
[Knowledge workers today stare constantly at computers causing eye problems as is described here.] Every few minutes look away from whatever you’ve been staring at intently close up. Two things that help eyes are glasses that protect from UV radiation, and vitamin supplements like carotenoids, vitamin E, zinc, vitamin C and selenium. There are good formulas in the market. [Check out Envision Good Eyesight.]
There’s no need to consume lots of the so-called “super fruits”. Pomegranate juice is fine, but expensive and unnecessary. Blueberries are cheaper and a good fruit antioxidant. Make sure you eat across the color spectrum. Consume lost of different colored fruits and vegetables. Tea, red wine and dark chocolate with 70% or more coca, are all good antioxidant-filled foods.
Bittersweet (dark) Chocolate
There are several reasons for eating bittersweet chocolate. Dark chocolate has a stimulant called theobromine, a bitter alkaloid in the cacao plant. The fat in chocolate gives a pleasant mouth feel. It contains antioxidants, and might lower cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and contain mood enhancing chemicals. [More in this article: Make Love with Bittersweet Chocolate]
[The Atkins has fallen out of favor of late over claims that it isn't healthy nor sustainable.] A better diet is the South Beach diet, a relatively easy way to drop weight quickly. An anti-inflammatory diet is also a good way to go. It’s similar to the Mediterranean Diet, consisting of low glycemic foods, the healthy fats. [Eating Fats is Good and A Blueprint for Eating Right]
One quick diet tip: Avoid products with flour and sugar.
[This is a type of fat created to help maintain a long shelf life for processed foods] It’s similar to high fructose corn syrup in that it is unhealthy, doesn’t belong in food and is evidence of low quality food. Read labels.
Tip: If you don’t recognize the ingredient and/or you wouldn’t use it to make the food at home, don’t buy it.
If mild to moderate, you can self manage depression through daily aerobic exercise (at least five days per week), and consuming supplements like vitamin D, fish oil (up to five grams/day) and SAMe. It’s also very helpful to get enough sleep, and reduce the consumption of caffeine and alcohol. [More: Do Depression Drugs Work? and How Depressing is Your Food? ]
At a minimum, get your heart rate up every day. If you’re dealing with depression, 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least five days per week. [If you're not into biking, ruining, or gym machines, simply walk up a hill. If there's more gas in the tank, lean and do yoga stretches.]
Vegetable juice oriented cleanse are better than fruit juice cleanses because of the high sugar content in fruit. But the first best detox method is to stop putting toxins in the body! Next, enhance the regular forms of detoxification by drinking more water to increase urination, aerobic exercise to increase breathing [which by this I think Dr. Weil is referring to the sweating that helps toxins inside the body exit through the skin]. [More on cleansing: Detoxifying Your Way to Nirvana and It’s Detox Time.
There are many good teas, but Green tea has been researched the most. A report last year conducted in Japan showed lower death rates among those drinking four to five cups of green tea each day.
Dr. Weil drinks Matcha tea each morning. He’s also intrigued by the fermented Turmeric Tea drunk in Japan, which is excellent for reducing inflammation. They drink the Turmeric Tea unsweetened and cold. Controlling inflammation seems to be a secret to avoid chronic disease. In India turmeric is used daily. Try a level teaspoon added to stews and soups. In Other than tea
The key to tea is quality which can be sourced in tea shops, tea parlors or online.
Well, that’s it. Let me know in the “comments” section below if any of this was useful, or if you possess an alternative reality. Also, let’s show Kevin Rose that we liked his interview by “Digging” his story… just click on the “Share This” icon below and then click “Digg”.
- Dr. Weil’s Four Alternatives to Antidepressant Drugs
- Dr. Weil on Larry King: What to Do about the Swine Flu
- Why Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid May Be The Best Diet
Published on January 28, 2010