Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Healthy Aging - Interview with Dr. Andrew Weil

We’ve all heard the basics on healthy aging, right? Eat well, stay active, adopt daily stress relief habits… So now it’s time for the specifics. This month we have a special guest, Dr. Andrew Weil, a world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine. Dr. Weil gives us his personal and professional recommendations on heart health, brain power, and keeping the immune system strong. General Health
  • Adequate intake of omega-3 essential fatty acids every day is a good way to ensure not only heart health, but also general physical and mental health.
  • There aren’t many dietary sources of omega-3s; the best sources are oily fish from cold Northern waters.
  • However, there are concerns about fish, such as sustainability and contaminants.
  • Dr. Weil recommends a fish oil supplement to ensure adequate intake of omega-3s. Fish oil is distilled for purity and easily available.
Healthy Brain Function
  • Supplements do have their place for brain health, but it’s important to be an informed consumer because of widespread misinformation.
  • Fish oil is one of the best supplements for the brain, as are antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. A specialized compound for brain health is PS (Phosphatidylserine) but it’s always a good idea get the advice from a professional.
  • It is best to get antioxidants from foods; supplements are useful as insurance against gaps in the diet, but are not substitutes for the foods that contain them.
Healthy Bones
  • Strength training and calcium are important for building healthy bones.
  • Dr. Weil calls Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” the single most important vitamin recommendation for bones.
  • Vitamin D is necessary to absorb calcium and to build strong bones.
  • The best way to get Vitamin D is careful sun exposure.
  • Many people are deficient in Vitamin D, even in sunny locations, and one reason is that sunscreen blocks Vitamin D synthesis in the skin.
  • Dr. Weil recommends that everyone get tested for Vitamin D blood levels.
Healthy Immune System
  • For immune support, the single most important habit is to wash hands frequently.
  • Regarding supplements that support the immune system, Dr. Weil recommends an effective remedy from Chinese Medicine called astragalus, the root of a plant that is inexpensive and safe.