Aging can be a wonderful time of growth, grace and gratitude. To make the most of these years, take good care of yourself, starting with your heart. Here are some proven alternative medicine practices that will help you feel great and age well. Read more about these healthy aging practices in Dr. Cynthia Thaik’s book Your Vibrant Heart: Restoring Health, Strength, and Spirit from the Body’s Core.

Have a Laugh to Keep Your Heart and Head Healthy
Research supports the adage that “laughter is the best medicine.” In addition to being a quick pick-me- up that relieves stress, laughing over the long-run can help reduce the risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

The best way to start laughing is to hang out with happy and funny friends and family. Challenge yourself to find the humor in everyday life and contribute to your healthy aging.

Practice Yoga to Increase Energy and Vitality
Practicing yoga on a daily basis contributes to healthy aging. It is proven to increase circulation, wake your body’s muscles, and keep your mind sharp. Yoga also helps you increase balance and endurance, strengthen bones and muscles, prevent injury, and reduce heart disease.

Anyone can do yoga, even if you haven’t exercised in years. The best way to start is to join a beginner class. If you are out of shape, try a “gentle” yoga class or one that is tailored to older adults.

Be Mindful and Meditate to Increase Your Life Span
Mindful meditation is shown to improve longevity with its positive effect on keeping your cells healthy. By reducing stress, anxiety, and blood pressure, you will improve your immunity, heart health, brain function and healthy aging.

You can learn to meditate online, at a class, or from a youtube video. Once you get the hang of it, even 5 minutes of meditation a day can help you age well.

Eat Colorful Foods to Feed Your Body and Mind
You are what you eat. Colorful fruits and vegetables help boost your immunity and keep your mind sharp. Depending on the color, you get a variety of health benefits which contribute to healthy aging. For example:
• Blueberries, cherries, eggplant and purple cabbage (purple and deep red) are full of antioxidants which protect your heart.
• Tomatoes, red peppers, and watermelon (red) contain lycopene which prevent prostate and breast cancer.
• Carrots, sweet potatoes, oranges and pumpkin (orange) are filled with beta carotene that keep your bones strong and eyes healthy.
• Broccoli, spinach, brussel sprouts and kale (green) contain indoles, thought to prevent against cancer by clearing toxins from the body.
• Artichokes, corn, summer squash and wax beans (yellow and green) contain lutein which prevents age-related macular degeneration and blindness.

For best results, experts recommend eating 2 to 3 servings of both fruits and vegetables a day, and include each of the color categories. Choose fresh or frozen for best nutritional value.

Know Heart Attack Signs and Symptoms
Alternative medicine practices are proven to keep your heart healthy as you age. However, the key to healthy aging is knowing the heart attack signs and symptoms so you can get immediate treatment. Most people associate chest pain with heart attacks. However, there are other symptoms you should know. Women, especially, can have symptoms that are unrelated to chest pain. It’s important to listen to your body and see a doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms, suddenly or without exertion.
• Extreme exhaustion
• Shortness of breath
• Sweating
• Neck, jaw or back pain

Dr. Cynthia is a naturopathic doctor and holistic cardiologist in Los Angeles, CA. Her holistic approach to health care starts with a healthy heart. Dr. Cynthia and her team provide the full spectrum of cardiology services including consultation, diagnostic testing, therapy, and preventive care. The practice also offers primary care services, weight-loss and nutrition counseling, as well as stress reduction techniques including hypnotherapy, meditation, and Reiki or energy healing. To schedule an appointment, contact Dr. Cynthia at 818-842-1410.