Dr. Andrew Weil is known for establishing the field of integrated medicine, which combines alternative medicine with scientifically based research. As such, he believes in changing one's attitudes and choices, rather than resorting to medication.
"For many people, simple lifestyle changes, rather than drugs or surgery, comprise the best route to achieve cardiac fitness," Dr. Weil writes on his website
. "Learn the natural path to a healthy heart here."
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The 72-year-old is the director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona and has suggestions for better heart health and improved blood pressure, in addition to proven advice such as eliminating alcohol, exercising regularly, losing weight, and eating fruits and vegetables.
Acknowledging that Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn's "heart-attack proof diet" — which eliminates meat, eggs, dairy and added oils — may be difficult to maintain, Dr. Weil advocates a Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean diet incorporates "the cuisines of Spain, southern France, Italy, Greece, Crete and parts of the Middle East. It emphasizes high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes, unrefined cereals, olive oil, cheese, yogurt and fish."
He adds, "the diet only includes rare (monthly) servings of meat and infrequent (weekly) servings of poultry, eggs and sweets; it includes wine, in moderation."
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There are also more holistic approaches, such as taking a more optimistic approach to life, as Dr. Weil describes in his article Optimism Boosts Heart Health.
When it comes to high blood pressure, Dr. Weil lists stress, excessive salt and alcohol intake and a diet low in calcium, magnesium and potassium as contributing factors.
He also recommends the DASH Diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, an approach he believes has proven effective in lowering blood pressure.
The DASH diet requires "consuming less salt and fat and more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. It's low in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol, and includes poultry, fish, and nuts, but includes much less red meat and fewer sweets and sugared beverages than most Americans are accustomed to consuming," Dr. Weil writes on his website.
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