Say you find yourself on a 5-hour flight to L.A. and, in the course of conversation with your seatmate, discover that he’s one of the nation’s leading cardiologists, or a world-famous cancer researcher, or a nationally recognized obesity expert. Wouldn’t you peek to see which
parts of his in-flight meal he ate — and what he left on his plate? Wouldn’t you just love to ask him — based on his extensive knowledge of disease and its causes — what he eats every day, how he exercises, what supplements he takes? Like a magician, he knows the secrets, and you’d like nothing more than to look into his hat.
Well, consider your curiosity satisfied. We rounded up many of the country’s top doctors and other health-care professionals and asked them some pretty personal questions about their daily habits and favorite foods.
The result is an incredible collection of advice (including mine, starting on page 226) from a variety of experts who focus on everything from anti-aging, to heart health, to holistic medicine. Use these 300-plus stay-healthy tips and 65 delicious recipes to set yourself on a path toward a longer, leaner, healthier life.
Dermatologist and clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, director of Tulane’s residents’ Cosmetic Clinic, and founding director of The Cosmetic Boot Camp.
What does it really take to keep your body young inside and out? According to Dr. Lupo, it’s not all that complicated. “I’m a big advocate of preventive, noninvasive measures to postpone aging,” she says. “Stay out of the sun, use topical retinoids (I’ve been using them since I was in my twenties) minimize sweets, eat right, and try Botox or fillers if you need or want them.”
Her best anti-aging secret? “Look on the bright side. Being an optimist is in my DNA.”
Know your diet triggers. “I love ice cream, but it’s high in sugar and saturated fat. It would be easy for me to go overboard, so I’m careful about how much I have and how often I eat it. And I always give it up for Lent.”
Build your “D-fenses.” “When you shun the sun like I do, you have to pay attention to your vitamin D status. (Your body makes vitamin D in response to sunlight.) D keeps bones and muscles healthy, and there’s some evidence that it protects against certain cancers. I take a supplement every day, and my blood levels are excellent — despite the fact that I never go out in the sun without sun protection.”
Say no to soda. “I stay away from soft drinks — regular and diet. A 12-ounce can of cola has 140 calories — all from the 9 teaspoons of sugar it contains! And even if you choose sugar-free varieties, drinking too many artificially sweetened sodas can increase your odds of metabolic syndrome (which can lead to diabetes and heart disease) by 50 percent.”
Sip away wrinkles. “Blueberries are rich in antioxidants that help keep skin smooth. In the morning, I’ll often whip up a smoothie with lots of blueberries, nonfat Greek yogurt, and a little honey.”
Splurge in the morning. “When most people go out for breakfast, they like to have something special. So do I, but instead of pancakes or waffles, my favorite is the Chinese breakfast at the Peninsula Hotel. It’s a combination of eggs, steamed pork buns, rice, sesame balls stuffed with red bean paste, chicken, and vegetables. It’s a bit indulgent, but it’s packed with protein and very satisfying.”
Nod off naturally. “The perfect combination for a good night’s sleep is melatonin, lavender, and the sound of the ocean. Melatonin is a hormone that controls sleep and wake cycles, and your body produces more of it in the evenings. As you get older, you make less of it; supplements can help offset that. Lavender is a soothing scent, and a white noise machine that plays ocean waves blocks disruptive noises and helps you relax.”
Go to the dogs. “I love taking my two dogs for long walks. It helps me get my exercise in and it keeps me relaxed and busy.”
Mixed Berry Ice Pops
“There are many ways to add more antioxidant-packed berries to your diet — and this is a fun one. Unlike the ice pops you probably had as a kid, these aren’t full of sugar and artificial color and flavorings.” — Mary Lupo, MD
2/3 cup blueberries
30 small fresh mint leaves
1 1/3 cups raspberries
1 1/2 cups seltzer
2 tablespoons light floral honey, such as acacia
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1. Layer the blueberries, mint, and raspberries evenly in 6 ice pop molds.
2. Combine the seltzer, honey, and lemon juice in a 2-cup measuring cup, stirring
gently until the honey dissolves. Very slowly pour the mixture over the berries and
mint. (Leave about 1/2 inch of space at the top of each mold to allow for expansion
during freezing. Adjust the amount of liquid you use accordingly.) Insert handles
or sticks into the molds.
3. Freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.
Nutrition per serving:
46 calories; <1g protein; 12g carbs; 2g fiber; 0g fat; 0g saturated fat; 0mg sodium
Head of the division of biological psychiatry at Duke University and author of The Alzheimer’s Action Plan.
“I wish restaurants posted workout time equivalents instead of calories on their menus,” says Dr. Doraiswamy. “People don’t realize how easy it is to take in 500 calories — and how hard it is to burn them off.” The Duke University neuroscientist keeps his calories in check and his mind in top condition by following a vegetarian diet. “After seeing the plaque-loaded hearts and
brains of heavy meat eaters, becoming a vegetarian was a no-brainer!” And that’s just one of the smart, healthy moves he made.
Train your appetite. “There is an old Okinawan saying, hara hachi bu: ‘Eat until you are 80 percent full.’ The people of Okinawa, a Japanese island, are known for their longevity. I especially keep this in mind when I’m at a buffet or business dinner, as I have a tendency to overeat in those circumstances. Using a small plate and taking just one trip through the buffet line helps me stay in control, too.”
Go heavy on the curry. “Most Indian vegetarian curries are low in saturated fat, which reduces stroke risk. And curcumin, an ingredient in curry, may protect against Alzheimer’s disease.”
Work your body and your brain. “I play tennis with a tennis pro three times a week. By hitting with someone much better than me, I’m pushing myself to improve. Tennis isn’t just a good cardio workout, it’s also a brain workout because it involves coordination and strategy.”
Keep things in perspective. “I keep a miniature smiling baby Buddha on my desk. It reminds me that the real source of happiness is inner peace.”
Let your mind wander. “Your brain uses five to six times more energy during daydreaming than when it’s focused on specific tasks. I also read biographies and science books to expose myself to new ideas and help me overcome my biases.”
Tropical Chickpea Salad
“This is based on sundal, a comfort food from my childhood in India. it also happens to fight the plaque buildup that can damage blood vessels in the brain.” — P. Murali Doraiswamy, MD
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup sliced mango
1 teaspoon shredded coconut
1 to 2 green chiles (optional)
1 sprig fresh curry leaves (optional)
1/4 teaspoon asafetida (optional)
1. Combine the chickpeas, cilantro, lemon juice, oil, onion, and mango in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with the coconut and freshly ground black pepper.
2. If using the chile peppers, remove and discard the seeds; chop the peppers (wear plastic gloves when handling). Add with the curry leaves and asafetida, if using, and toss to combine. Chill at least 1 hour before serving.
Nutrition per serving (about 3/4 cup):
160 calories; 6g protein; 30g carbs; 5g fiber; 3g fat; 0g saturated fat; 320mg sodium
Internist in private practice in New York City, author of Sexy Ever After, and medical advisor for the health-care Web site HealthiNation.com.
“You can’t turn back the clock, but you can age well,” says Dr. Peterson. “I think what’s most important is having a balanced life — working to live, rather than the other way around. Spending time with friends and family and having hobbies you enjoy are also key.”
Pair carbs with protein. “I love carbohydrates and would have a difficult time cutting them out altogether. So I try to add protein whenever I indulge in carbs, and I stick to whole grains as much as possible. You should incorporate lean protein into every meal and limit fat intake to healthy fats only.”
Drive away stress. “Hitting golf balls at the driving range is a great way to relieve tension. It gets me out in the fresh air and allows me to get my body moving and clear my head. Plus, it’s fun!”
Sleep better naturally. “I dim the lights well before bedtime to wind down and allow for optimal production of melatonin, which controls your sleep cycle. I turn off the TV and computer and instead read quietly to decrease excessive stimulation. I make sure my bedroom is very dark and cool. Your body temperature naturally drops when you sleep, and you can wake up if you get too warm.”
Miso-Marinated Chilean Sea Bass
“I like to serve this fish with asparagus and quinoa for a meal that’s a perfect balance of omega-3 fats, a veggie, and a healthy carb.” — Keri Peterson , MD
2 teaspoons sake
2 teaspoons mirin
2 teaspoons miso paste
1/4 cup minced garlic
1 pound Chilean sea bass
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1. Combine the sake, mirin, miso paste, and garlic in a large bowl. Add the fish, and cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Heat the broiler. Place the fish in an ovenproof glass dish and drizzle with the marinade. Broil the fish 6 inches from the heat until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Slice the fish into 4 equal portions and sprinkle each portion with chives and serve.
Nutrition per serving:
125 calories; 21g protein; 2g carbs; 0g fiber; 2g fat; <1g saturated fat; 184mg sodium
Excerpted with permission from What Doctors Eat: Tips, Recipes, and the Ultimate Eating Plan for Lasting Weight Loss and Perfect Health by Tasneem Bhatia, MD, and the Editors of Prevention.
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Note: PLEASE consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.