About The Book A holistic approach to healing through making smart food choices by health guru Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa that combines spiritual advice and integrative medicine to provide healthful recipes and nutrition plans targeting common and chronic illnesses for a longer, healthier, natural life. Did you know that blueberries can increase brain longevity? That kiwi fruit can be an excellent weapon for battling cancer and heart disease? That pears can help prevent fibroid tumors? From the bestselling author of Meditation as Medicine, comes a remarkable book that helps you achieve maximum health by eating well.
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Considering how much nay-saying and even outright attacks his ideas about health have generated over the years, it is hard to begrudge him a little bragging, now that mainstream medicine has embraced many of his theories.
It has been a long road to recognition for Khalsa, whose integrative medical approach to the brain and longevity incorporates meditation, stress reduction, diet modification , and the use of supplements.
A lot has changed in the past 10 years. In May , Khalsa was asked to testify before Congress about his integrative approach to preventing and treating Alzheimers disease.
He turned to me and said, "Your work should now be considered mainstream," Khalsa says. He trained in anesthesiology at the University of California in San Francisco where he held the prestigious post of chief resident and was on track to becoming a professor of obstetrics.
Having practiced what he calls basic stretchy yoga in medical school, as well as transcendental meditation for stress reduction and energy during his residency in San Francisco, Khalsa found a Kundalini yoga center and tried a class. Out came this tall, skinny guy with a long red beard and turban and he started doing these very powerful breathing exercises which Khalsa states he enjoyed.
After about 10 minutes, Khalsa thought, wow He continued taking the classes without the realization that his life was going to totally change. Khalsa become increasingly interested in Kundalini Yoga and the Sikh religion that is followed by many Kundalini practitioners. Khalsa has since adopted both. In , he attended an advanced meditation course led by Yogi Bhajan.
Some people talk about past-life or near-death experiences; to me, this was a future-life experience. At that moment, I realized I no longer had to use powerful anesthetic drugs to put these people to sleep. I could use these new things I was learning such as nutrition, supplements, stress management, exercise, and the like to help people wake up and heal their bodies, minds, and spirits. When I was a chief resident in anesthesiology, I went to the highest-level medical conferences, says Khalsa.
I used that same desire to learn and that same interest in science but I sought out leaders in the alternative medicine field. He studied with Yogi Bhajan, who taught him about alternative medicine, life extension, nutrition, supplements, meditation, and yoga. He also took basic and advanced training in mind-body medicine at the Mind-Body Institute at Harvard Medical School under the tutelage of Dr.
Herbert Benson. Khalsa also received certification in medical acupuncture from UCLA. In addition to advancing his medical training, Khalsa studied with the acclaimed holistic nutritionist Bernard Jensen at his Hidden Valley Health Ranch, as well as with Paavo Airola, whose book How to Get Well advanced the idea of food as medicine. I studied with high-level nutritional masters because there were no doctors back then who knew anything about nutrition, he says.
The discovery that chronic stress releases cortisol in the bloodstream and cortisol causes the death of cells in the brains memory center has recently received a lot of attention in the mainstream medical press.
Khalsa teaches a meditation class at the Omega Institute. After reaching these conclusions, Khalsa and his wife Kirti made it their mission to help people prevent and reverse memory loss using a holistic or integrative medical program. Those fats should be primarily unsaturated good fats, particularly omega-3 fatty acids. Khalsa says supplementation is an important component of any diet. Everyone, he says, should take a high-potency multivitamin and mineral supplement. In addition, he puts a scoop of the Life Extension Mix in his fruit smoothie every morning, along with his own Longevity Green Drink, which he says is similar to the green powders by Life Extension.
In addition to supplements such as vinpocetine , Huperzine A, and galantamine that Khalsa recommends for people who already have symptoms of Alzheimers disease, he recommends several brain-specific and general anti-aging nutrients for people who want to prevent the disease. Khalsa says vitamin E has been shown to slow the progression of Alzheimers. Coenzyme Q10 tops his list for heart and brain health. One of the leading researchers on coenzyme Q10 told me they should put it in drinking water because its so powerful, says Khalsa.
Its an indispensable brain-specific and antiaging nutrient. He suggests alpha lipoic acid for overall health and life extension. Khalsa also believes that there is strong evidence that ginkgo biloba is as effective as conventional medicine in helping to improve the symptoms of dementia. Contrary to what some of the large companies disinformation campaigns would have you believe, I think ginkgo biloba does help people who already are normal improve their cognitive function.
Another brain-longevity supplement that Khalsa thinks has been overlooked by mainstream medicine is phosphatidylserine. It fights cortisol and stress, and improves mood, neurotransmital function , and nutrients getting to the brain cells, says Khalsa. It has been shown to slow memory loss. I think it is a tragedy that because the drug companies cant patent it, they dont promote it to the doctors. The last supplement Khalsa recommends for everyone is DHA or other omega-3 fatty acids.
It is crucial to supplement your diet with an omega-3, Khalsa advises. It insulates the nerve fibers, improves attention, concentration, and focus, and is very good for the heart, overall longevity, and anti-aging. The second step in Khalsas program is stress reduction. This is critically important because the chronic stress were under releases cortisol from our adrenal glands, which in small amounts we need to get out of bed in the morning but in large amounts has been proven to turn your brain into a toxic dump, says Khalsa.
Its like battery acid on the hippocampus, or memory center, of the brain. Chronic stress makes you fat, makes you have high blood pressure, and ruins your heart, immune system, and brain.
Of the many methods of stress reduction available, Khalsa first recommends meditation. The only thing that has ever been shown to reduce cortisol is regular elicitation of the relaxation response, or meditation, he says.
Meditation is the most natural form of anti-aging longevity medicine. The body has an incredible ability to bring itself back into balance if we give it a chance, and meditation is the most powerful way to bring the body back into balance. Third on Khalsas list is exercise, for both body and brain.
It doesnt have to be anything like running a triathlon, he says. You can just walk briskly three or four times a week for 30 minutes.
Khalsa says cognitive exercises also are very important. He suggests discussing the news, a book, or movie, doing puzzles, or reading a book or magazine to stimulate the brain. He also recommends advanced meditation involving breathing exercises, fingertip positions, and sounds, and says his preliminary research shows that this sort of mind-body exercise has a therapeutic effect on the brain.
The last element in Khalsas brain-longevity regimen is drugs and hormones. Although he says many medications are overused, he does not advise patients to get off drugs they already are taking. Khalsa believes hormone replacement is very important and recommends replacing DHEA, pregnenolone , and testosterone. He also challenges recent studies questioning the safety of estrogen replacement therapy.
I think if the studies were done with a natural form of estrogen, you would not find the negative consequences, says Khalsa. Thats just my hunch. In addition to his books, Khalsa publishes a monthly newsletter, The Healing Zone, which can be accessed at his website, www. Information on the Alzheimers Prevention Foundation International can be found by clicking on the organizations website, www.
Through his work, Khalsa hopes to prevent an expensive, draining, horrible future in which the number of people with Alzheimers disease is expected to quadruple in the next generation. By following the program I put forth, we go in a different direction. We develop wisdom, spirituality, love, and the ability to give back to society and hopefully someday make this world a better place. That is one of the long-term effects of following an anti-aging program.
Mikaran It will also touch you on your deepest inner level: A must read for those who believe, as I do, that good health starts in the kitchen. Thanks mostly to her, meals at their home are memorably tasty, optimally healing, and easy to digest. Khalsa offers a low-fat diet that is rich in grains, organic fruits and sinh and non-meat protein. About five hundred years ago, an Indian guru named Arjun clarified my favorite interpretation of this reality.
Food as Medicine