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Dr. Sanjiv Chopra talks about the 5 simple things you can be doing to live a longer life

By August 24, 2016 May 24th, 2017 No Comments

Dr. Sanjiv Chopra“I think all these traditional medicines have a lot of value, but a lot of it is in terms of nutrition and prevention of disease.” — Dr. Sanjiv Chopra

His brother, Deepak, is very well known, but Dr. Sanjiv Chopra is an accomplished medical professional as well. He is a professor at Harvard Medical School, and he is a Senior hepatology consultant at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He is also an author, and today he talks with Commander Mark Divine about his most recent book, “The Big Five: Five Simple Things That You Can Do to Live a Longer, Healthier Life.” Are they really that simple? And how can you start using his tips in your own life?

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Transcript & Shownotes

Hi folks, this is Mark Divine coming back at you with the Unbeatable Mind podcast. I am so grateful that you’re here today and are continuing to listen. So I hope that you find some value out of this podcast.

And today’s guest is going to be outstanding. I am so excited and honored to have Dr. Sanjiv Chopra with us today.

But before we get started and I introduce him a little bit more fully, please remember to go rate the podcast at iTunes. And there’s five stars there, if you just click on the fifth, that’d be fine.

And also, if you’re not on our email list, go to unbeatablemind.com/podcast and if you have time, go there and drop your email in so we can keep you up-to-date on what’s going on in the world over here at Unbeatable Mind and SEALfit.

Introduction

[1:25]

So Dr. Sanjiv Chopra… we’ve all heard of his brother, Deepak. Dr. Sanjiv though is a well accomplished medical professional as well. Author, speaker, jack of all trades… you know, I’ve got this huge, long bio here Sanjiv and I’m gonna read a little bit of it. But I’m very casual with these podcasts, so I just like to get right into things…

Dr. Sanjiv Chopra: Oh absolutely.

Mark Divine: But you’re a professor… today you’re still a professor of medicine at Harvard, am I correct?

Dr. Chopra: That is correct.

Mark: Okay. You’re the former faculty dean for continuing medical education at Harvard. You’re the James Tullis Firm chair at the department of medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. That’s a mouthful. And you’ve won a ton of awards which I’m not gonna go into. And you’ve written a few books, and we’re going to talk about one of them today, which is called “The Big 5 Simple Things You Can Do to Live a Longer, Healthier Life.” And I also want to talk about finding purpose, which you’ve just told me is a passion of yours, and is certainly a passion of mine.

So thank you so much for your time. I really, really appreciate it. I know you’re super-busy. We have about half an hour so let’s get going.

Dr. Chopra: Yeah. Mark, I’m delighted to be on the podcast with you.

Dr. Chopra and integration of western and eastern medicines

2:35

Mark: Thank you. I appreciate that. So clearly you hail from the Indian subcontinent and you came here for your education, is that correct?

Dr. Chopra: That’s correct. I had graduated from medical school and I came to do my internship and residency, and then a fellowship in gastroenterology. And the intent was, I would go back in five years, but the very first year my wife and I were here, she’s also a doctor. We were classmates in med school. We said, “This is the most amazing country in the world. And this is where we want to live. This is where we want to raise a family.”

Mark: (laughing) Yeah, may we hope it remains that way.

Dr. Chopra: (laughing) I agree.

Mark: And you and I are both doing our part to make sure that it does. And, so you were a gastroenterologist and a hepatologist. Tell us about those.

Dr. Chopra: Gastroenterology is the GI system, digestive disease system, and part of that is the liver, which is the most amazing organ in the body. It’s the only organ that can fully regenerate. So liver is called “hepar,” and I’m a hepatologist. I’m a specialist in liver diseases.

Mark: Okay, so hepatology is almost a subset of gastroenterology.

Dr. Chopra: Yeah. That’s right.

Mark: Interesting. So I can see the link between becoming a medical professional in those areas and then quickly learning how much nutrition, exercise, lifestyle play into the disease that end up affecting the liver.

Dr. Chopra: That’s so true. That’s so true.

Mark: So let me ask you a broad based question and then I want to get a little into some more specifics about what you think about certain aspects of health and longevity. But as an Indian by birth, do you integrate eastern medicine and philosophy into your thinking and mental structures as much as your brother does? Or are you more of a westernized medical professional?

Dr. Chopra: I’m a… I do integrate, but not the way my brother Deepak does. We have some wonderful discussions when we get together. We’re very close. We wrote a book together called “Brotherhood: Dharma, Destiny and the American Dream.” Actually made national bestseller. And I say to him, if I need a new hip there is no ayurvedic medicine or Chinese medicine that can cure my horrific hip pain.

Mark: You can’t think positive…

Dr. Chopra: If I need a liver transplant, I need a liver transplant. So I think integrative medicine, ayurvedic medicine from India, Chinese medicine, all these traditional medicines have a lot of value, but a lot of it is in terms of nutrition and prevention of disease. Once you unfortunately have a very severe or chronic disease, then it’s good to embrace western medicine. You can still try certain things from, you know… certain herbs, making sure they’re safe, certain vitamins. The only vitamin I talk is vitamin D3. And so on.

Mark: Right. They do coexist, almost like either in a continuum from prevention to intervention to cure.

Dr. Chopra: Yeah, yeah. And you know we’ve dropped the term… remember we used to call it alternative medicine. “Oh, you have an alternative.” Then the word “complimentary” medicine came. And now we use the word “integrative” medicine, which is a much better term.

Mark: It really is. Yeah, I like that. Okay, so what are some of the… with your Dr. goggles on, what are some of the diseases of the liver, or that the liver indicates are coming or present, are about manifest in the human being?

Dr. Chopra: Yeah, so you know it turns out that about a billion people in the world have chronic liver disease.

Mark: Really?

Liver Disease

[6:24]

Dr. Chopra: So just two viruses–Hepatitis B afflicts about 400 to 450 million people in the world. And chronic Hepatitis C afflicts about 170 to 200 million people in the world. So just these two viruses afflict more than half a billion people in the world.

Mark: And where do these viruses come from, by the way?

Dr. Chopra: You know, that’s a great question. Some of the viruses exist in different forms in other animal models, but transmission from them to us is not proven. And every now and then we discover a new virus, whether its zika virus or ebola. When HIV first started, 30, 40 years ago, we had no idea there was a virus like that. There was a similar virus in chimpanzees.

So these two viruses account for more than half a billion people in the world having chronic liver disease. Then there’s alcoholic liver disease. Now there’s an epidemic of type 2 diabetes and obesity in our country, and 14 million Americans have a disease called “non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.” And it’s called non-alcoholic fatty liver, because it looks like alcoholic liver disease under the microscope, when we do a biopsy, but these people are not drinking. Or they’re drinking minuscule amounts of alcohol.

Mark: It’s from all the other sugar?

Dr. Chopra: Yeah. And then the most common genetic disorder known to man is not cystic fibrosis, it’s a condition called hemachromatosis, where we absorb extra iron from the gut, it gets deposited in the liver, the pancreas, the brain, other places… and can lead to the heart more than the brain. And it can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and cancer.

So you add all of those up, the estimate is that 1 billion people in the world have chronic liver disease, and then I got very intrigued about 25 years ago as a liver specialist reading an article that people who drink coffee seem to have lower levels of liver enzymes. So when you go see your primary carer once a year they check your liver enzymes. If they’re high, it’s usually indicative of some kind of liver disease, and then they initiate a workup. But then studies came out that they have less fibrosis. Coffee drinkers have less scarring in the liver. If we have tons of scarring in the liver with complete architectural distortion of the liver, that’s called cirrhosis. That can lead to deadly complications and risk for liver cancer.

Coffee and health

[8:55]

Then studies came out that if one drinks 2 cups of regular coffee a day, there’s a 40% reduction in dying from primary cancer of the liver, which is the third leading cause of cancer mortality in the world. Third leading cause of cancer death. Cancer rising in the liver. Not cancer rising in the breast or lung or colon and going to the liver, but cancer rising in the liver. And then it turns out there’s a reduction in metastatic prostate cancer, colon cancer, endometrial cancer, skin cancer in people who drink coffee. Lowers the risk of cognitive decline, lowers the risk of Parkinsonism, lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes. If a patient already had type 2 diabetes and they drink two cups of coffee a day, there’s a 30% reduction in heart attack mortality.

So I talk about these in my liver talks all over the country, all over the world. But then about 2 and a half years ago, an article appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, which is the premier medical journal, and it said coffee drinkers, men and women, have lower total and cause specific mortality. And that day I got about 103 emails from colleagues around the country saying, “Sanjiv! You’re vindicated! You’ve been telling this for 15 or 20 years!”

Mark: Unreal.

Dr. Chopra: So it turns out now coffee is the number one consumed beverage in the world. That about 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed every day. There are mechanistic explanations as to constituents in coffee that protect. And there seems to be dose dependent effect. So the dose dependent effect is the most staggering thing I read a while back, and it said–and we’ve been mystified for decades–how come some people drink a pint of whisky a day and at the end of 20 years, only 20% at cirrhotic, 25%. What happened to the other 70-75%? 80%? And we said, “Oh, must be good genes. Something about metabolism. The enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase. It turns out the answer is coffee.

Mark: (laughing) They were working off their hangover with a couple cups, hunh?

Dr. Chopra: Yeah! If you drink that much every day and drink a cup of coffee every day–20% reduction in alcoholic cirrhosis. 2 cups–40%. 4 cups–80%.

Mark: What!?

Dr. Chopra: It’s mind-blowing. It’s not a licence to drink heavily, and drink coffee. Yeah, you’ll protect your liver, but you may get cardiomyopathy, Korsakoff’s pychosis, pancreatitis, kill people on the road, lose your job. Ruin your marriage.

Mark: Right. Lot of nasty side effects.

Dr. Chopra: But it protects the liver.

Mark: That’s fascinating. Wow.

Dr. Chopra: The dose dependent effect, mechanistic explanations, study after study after study–I can… when I give my liver talks I have a list of 24 references in peer reviewed, best journals in the world, about how coffee protects against liver disease.

Mark: Let me ask, though… This is fascinating. I mean I drink a couple cups of coffee a day to. It’s difficult for me to drink any more than that because of the caffeine.

Dr. Chopra: Yeah, that’s good. 2 is good.

Mark: Is it the caffeine? Or can decaffeinated coffee have the same…?

Dr. Chopra: It’s not that caffeine because decaffeinated has a bunch of protective effects, but probably not against cirrhosis.

Mark: Okay.

Dr. Chopra: And Coca-Cola doesn’t have any benefits. Tea does not have benefits. From India, I grew up drinking tea. I started drinking coffee 30 years ago, just love it. My wife still drinks a lot of tea. After the last 15 years I think she’s had it listening to me talking about coffee, so now she’s drinking 2 cups of coffee a day. Which is good. If you can get up to 2 cups, it’s good. It turns out some people don’t crave for coffee, they don’t like coffee. And what we’re learning now is that there are actually genes that determine how we metabolize coffee. And there are fast metabolizers and slow metabolizers and the people who are fast metabolizers–and I think I’m one of those–are the ones who crave for coffee and they also have the benefits of coffee.

Bulletproof Coffee

[13:10]

Mark: Fascinating. That’s interesting, we’ve been talking a lot about coffee in the last couple years because we’ve all started to put a little bit of coconut oil and sometimes even butter in our coffee to get some fat into our brains in the morning. And that’s the primary thing… I get up in the morning, have a glass of water and then I have a cup of coffee. And my friend Dave Asprey kind of coined the term “Bulletproof coffee.” He runs a program called Bulletproof executive, and he… he’s going to love this conversation, because he’s studied the coffee…

Dr. Chopra: I have some Bulletproof coffee in my coffee container right now.

Mark: (laughing) Awesome.

Dr. Chopra: It’s amazing. Somebody gifted it to me.

Mark: So we’ll thank Dave for popularizing that. But I had no idea…

Dr. Chopra: The first cup of coffee is the most amazing, isn’t it?

Mark: Sure is.

Dr. Chopra: It’s like, “Wow!” It tastes good. It starts your day. So I stop at six o’clock at a coffee shop every morning. And I sit down with two friends, and we solve the world’s problems for 15 minutes only to come back the next day and nothing has changed.

Mark: (laughing) The coffee’s still there, so…

Dr. Chopra: That’s how I start my day. 6, 6:15 in the morning, and by 4 or 5 in the evening I’ve had 4 cups and then I don’t drink after 5 or 6 in the evening.

Mark: And it doesn’t affect your sleep when you drink it that late in the afternoon?

Dr. Chopra: If I drink it late at night, it would affect my sleep.

Mark: Sure, right. Fascinating.

Dr. Chopra: So coffee is one thing we can do to live longer. And based on multiple studies of the scientific literature.

Exercise

[14:39]

The second thing, we all know is exercise. And we’re now facing this epidemic of obesity. Obesity is linked to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, liver disease, hypertension, and 20 cancers. And if someone has cancer and obesity they have a worse prognosis. So by exercising, we can reduce all those risk factors. Women with breast cancer who exercise after they’ve been treated for breast cancer have lower recurrence. The biggest difficulty for all of us is getting our patients motivated to do exercise.

So one of the things that works and that’s what I do, is I ask my patient. I say, “Listen, do you think it’s important for you to lose weight? On a scale of 1 to 10.” And they say, “Oh yeah, 10.” “How difficult is it to lose weight?” “9. 9 out of 10.” “What exercise could you do?” “Well, I don’t really like exercise, but Doc, you know what, I have a swimming pool, or I belong to a club and they have a swimming pool. I could swim.” “How many days a week could you swim?” “4 days a week.” “How long?” “45 minutes.”

So I take a prescription pad, put his name, put my name–sign–and I say “swimming, 45 minutes, 4 times a week. Number of refills: Infinite.”

Right? There are studies to show this works.

Mark: (laughing) I bet.

Dr. Chopra: This is a technique called motivational interviewing.

Mark: They’ve been told to do it by the authority figure, and they’ve got a prescription.

Dr. Chopra: Not only that, but first they said they would do it, right? I didn’t tell them. Initially they said, “Oh, I hate exercise. I know it’s important. I could swim.” Now I take over.

Mark: And they also know that you’re going to ask them about it next time they see you. Say, “Did you fulfill your prescription?”

Dr. Chopra: Oh yeah. And you know, this is what happens, Mark. A week before if they haven’t done it, they call my assistant and say, “Can I change the appointment for another 3 months from now?” Because they’re feeling so guilty and they don’t want to let down the good doctor.

Amounts of exercise

[18:01]

Mark: Now of course, in my world which is the SEALfit, Crossfit world, we exercise religiously and intensely. But frankly, the human body doesn’t need that. I mean, that’s for really the physical culture, elite athletes, warriors. So what amount of exercise is appropriate or is enough for optimal health in your opinion, from your perspective?

Dr. Chopra: Yeah, so you know that the new studies that are emerging now are saying, “Walk.” You know, if you can’t run or jog because you’ve got bad knees or a bad back, simply walking, and walking for half an hour, 40 minutes. I think for those of us who like feedback, having a fitbit or having an iPhone application that’s counting the steps. So you could be in California, and I could be in Boston and you and I could be connected. And I could say, “Mark, I’m going for a walk this evening. And I’m going to do at least 8000 steps.” And we create a little competition. And let’s say you don’t… not you, but somebody else in California, who’s been leery of exercising. Maybe is a little older, maybe has a few artificial joints. They say, “You know what? Sanjiv’s going to be my buddy. And I’m gonna go do 6000 steps.” And getting the feedback, and as human beings we like to compete.

Mark: Right. Absolutely.

Dr. Chopra: So that’s another trick where you can be competing with somebody in India or Singapore or Australia, just using…

Mark: Right. I love that accountability that those apps can provide. And like you said, the community and the feedback.That’s terrific.

Dr. Chopra: And you feel you don’t want to let down your friends. I mean, when I exercise at the club where I play golf, I do it with 2 of my best friends. And we meet early in the morning, 6:30, and we show up in the parking lot and we look at each other and say, “God, I don’t want to be here.”

Mark: (laughing) But here we are.

Dr. Chopra: “But you know what? Paul, Mike, I didn’t want to let you down.” And they say, “Sanjiv, me too. Glad we’re doing this together. Could never have done it on my own.”

Mark: Absolutely.

Dr. Chopra: Social fabric is so important and it turns out it’s also linked to happiness. And friends are your chosen family. A friend is a gift you give to yourself. And there’s a best-selling author by the name of James Rohn he says “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Mark: I love that.

Dr. Chopra: It’s a beautiful saying. You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. So one of the ways to spend the most time with, is to have coffee with them…

Mark: (laughing) And exercise…

Dr. Chopra: Exercise with them. Make sure they’re all taking vitamin D. And then eat a few nuts and then the spiritual part, which makes up the big five, is meditation.

Mark: Yes.

Dr. Chopra: So the easy way for us to remember I say, on a good, sunny day, don’t put sunblock so you get the vitamin D3, go for a brisk walk, or a gentle jog to your favorite java shop. Now you got the coffee, you got the exercise, and the vitamin D. Don’t go nuts remembering this. And before you go, meditate. And there’s an ancient saying, “you should meditate once a day, and if you don’t have time to do that, you should meditate twice a day.”

Mark: (laughing) Meditate on why you can only do it once a day.

Dr. Chopra: So that’s in my book. All of this is in the book.

Mark: Okay, so those are the big 5 simple things. And they are simple. Now, so…

Dr. Chopra: They’re really simple. Other than the exercise, the others are simple. Very simple. But even the exercise, if you have an exercise buddy, or get a doctor to give you a prescription. And get disciplined about it, like feedback, we can do it. We can all do it.

Mark: I find that in both exercise and meditation, the biggest challenge–and you already alluded to this–is getting started. And then once you start and you begin to get that feedback, you notice the benefits. And then you’re like, “I don’t know how I ever did without this. I feel so good.”

Dr. Chopra: Exactly.

Mark: And the benefits compound.

Dr. Chopra: Exercise, if you’re on the treadmill and you say, “You know what? Okay, I don’t have enough time tomorrow, but I’ll do 20 minutes. And you get on the treadmill 20 minutes, next thing you’ve done 30 or 40 minutes. You’re happy. It was that initial inertia, like you said.

Meditation

[22:26]

Mark: Now I know there’s many types of meditation and whatnot. And you propose basically just to meditate? Or do you have a specific recommendation?

Dr. Chopra: Well, I happened to learn Transcendental Meditation about 35 years ago, and my wife who’s a pediatrician is very spiritual, and about 8 years ago when we’d had our first grandchild a few years earlier, I said, “Amita, you’ve practiced pediatrics for 35 years. We’re okay financially. I get invited to speak all over the world, you can’t travel with me because you have to take calls, see patients or both. Why don’t you quit? You can spend more time with our granddaughter in New York. And travel with me.”

And she was always keen to teach meditation, so she trained for six months, and now she teaches Transcendental Meditation.

And it’s a mantra, monosyllable and it’s very easy. There’s many, many kinds of meditation, but this one has been practiced for 5000 years. And there’s a ton of research to back not only the subjective but the objective findings. And there’s a wonderful book written by Norman Rosenthal who’s a physician, psychiatrist from South Africa. And he describes Seasonal Affective Disorder, you know, the winter blues. And he has written a book called “Transcendence” and he has all the research related to TM as well as famous people and what it brought into their lives: creativity, Martin Scorsese, Jerry Seinfeld, and on and on. It’s not important that the celebrities are doing it. I think, we do it, we find the benefit, then we stick with it.

Mark: Yeah, that’s right. Well TM has been very effective in studying the effects of the meditation so in a sense TM has been… I guess the only other kind of meditation movement that could rival that would be mindfulness-based stress reduction. And both of them have tremendous benefits. Here’s a… I wanna share with you our recommendation when we train people how to train, and I think you’ll enjoy this.

SEALfit and Dr. Chopra’s tips

[24:39]

First off, we have them breath–perform a breathing exercise, before training, which is a form of concentration training. And we also add a mantra into that. So not unlike TM it’s a mantra, breathing, mindfulness exercise. We recommend we do that for about 5 minutes. And then secondarily we like to exercise outdoors with a team. So SEALfit is all team-based and we like to be outdoors. On the beach, in the ocean. At SEALfit headquarters we have an outdoor… we call it the “grinder” where we grind character and build it back up. So then we go into our exercises which is outside, so we’re getting our vitamin D, and we’re getting the social feedback and the accountability and all that. And there’s an emotional, a huge emotional lift for that, right?

And then when we do our endurance training, running, swimming, hiking, we practice witnessing meditation while we do the work. And so you can.. where I’m going with this is you can combine exercise with and meditation. And so you can get a one-two punch.

Dr. Chopra: Oh, Mark, I love it. That is awesome. Absolutely awesome. I think being out in the nature, being with a group of people who have a like-minded view of the world and who are trying to accomplish the same goal makes a huge difference.

Meditation and kids

[25:56]

And even a few minutes… my younger granddaughter’s 9 years of age. And her teacher in school in New York has a Master’s in mindfulness.

Mark: Nice.

Dr. Chopra: And she taught the entire… these 9 year old kids in school. And said, “If you’re feeling a little stressed or anxious, simply do this. Smell the roses, blow out the candle.”

Mark: Hunh.

Dr. Chopra: So take a deep breath in, and take a deep breath out. And you know, you do that a few times, immediately you feel relaxed.

Mark: Right. Absolutely.

Dr. Chopra: Isn’t that amazing? Smell the roses, blow out the candle.”

Mark: I love that. Smell the roses… Well it’s like out here in California, Encinitas in particular they teach yoga in the schools. And my son, I think first or second grade, was doing yoga and sitting in silence before and after, and, you know… It’s come under legal challenge of course. Not everyone really understands yoga is a practice right? But it’s starting to percolate. And I remember actually attending a presentation on Transcendental Meditation and being stunned by the stories about… I think Zimbabwe was one of them, or maybe it was another country that they claim the entire country was transformed over a generational period, like a 20 year period because they implemented TM in the school system in the school system at a very young age.

Dr. Chopra: Well, you know in our country there’s a movement now in the United States to have all the school children to learn meditation. I’m thinking of David Lynch, David Lynch has a foundation. He’s trying to raise 2 billion dollars so that children can learn meditation. It’s been taught in prisons. Think of the opposite extreme, people incarcerated often for years, for life, and the ones who get released, there’s a lower rate of return to prison in those who learn to meditate.

Elizabeth Blackburn who’s in California. Who’s an Australian scientist who with two other colleagues got the Nobel Prize in medicine for describing telomeres and telomerase activity. So at the end of… for your listeners… at the end of my shoelace I have this piece of plastic. At the end of our chromosomes we have a little piece and we didn’t know what it was. And it turns out to be telomere, and there’s an enzyme related to it, telomerase. So the shorter the telomere, the greater the cellular aging and shorter lifespan in humans. And in animals. So who has short telomeres. shortened telomeres? It’s easy to understand. Mother’s of chronically disabled children, victims of horrific trauma, caregivers of people with Alzheimers. You know, the person with Alzheimers is clueless, but the person taking care of them is dying. I heard a story of Nancy Reagan, that Ronald was suffering from Alzheimers and somebody had gifted him, President Reagan, a replica of the White House. And he’s looking at it and he says, “What is this, Nancy? I think it has some special meaning for me, but what is this structure?” And he says it innocently, and she’s crying. Right?

So they have shortened telomeres. Now who has longer telomeres and greater telomerase activity? You’ll love this. People who exercise–people who exercise, people on the Mediterranean diet and people who do meditation.

Mark: That does not surprise me.

Eating nuts and health

[29:34]

Dr. Chopra: So, and so we think we also live longer. These things I mentioned earlier–coffee, exercise, vitamin D, nuts, meditation. Nuts–study in the New England journal, you know nuts were considered food for the Gods by the ancient Greeks and Romans. And it turns out if you eat a small amount of nuts 4 or 5 times a week. So I carry nuts in the car, I have nuts lying around at home. Almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pistachios. You live longer. New England Journal of Medicine article.

Mark: Is it because of the fat in the nuts? Or what is it?

Dr. Chopra: No, you know… It could be the fat. But they also are rich in minerals and vitamins and selenium. We don’t know exactly what is the active ingredient or multiple ingredients. But simple things we can do.

Aspirin

[30:24]

And then there’s one other thing I want the listeners to know, and it’s not in the book, but I do bring it up. I have a chapter at the end, sort of a bonus chapter and I talk about diet and Mediterranean diet, and I talk about aspirin, which lowers risk of heart disease, and stroke and colon cancer. And even if you’re not taking aspirin recommended by your primary care because you had a heart attack, or you’re at risk for heart disease. My plea is that if you’re over 50, you should at least carry it with you. In your car, in your golf bag. God forbid you have crushing chest pain, and you think you’re having a heart attack and your friend is calling 911.

Mark: You take an aspirin?

Dr. Chopra: You just take an aspirin. It could save your life. It could save your life. Because the heart attack is due to a ruptured plug, fatty plug in the coronary artery and now a clot is forming. And the clot can then completely occlude the coronary artery and there’s no blood flow. But if you take an aspirin you thin the blood and it can prevent a fatal heart attack.

Mark: Wow. I’m going to run out and get some.

Dr. Chopra; (laughing) Yeah. I have it in the car and in my golf bag.

Mark: I’m going to go get some nuts, and aspirin. That’s amazing. Well thank you so much this has been extremely interesting, entertaining, powerful information. You know, when I read your book title: “5 Simple Things,” the simple didn’t jump out at me, but it should have. Because one of the things I recommend folks is to seek truth, simplicity and love in life. And that simplicity is so important. And every one of these things is super-simple. Coffee, light exercise but be disciplined about it and do it with friends, do it outdoors so you’re getting that vitamin D3 and do a light mantra meditation… I mean Japa meditation, mantra meditation I think is the most powerful. It’s my favorite form. And eat some nuts. Boom. Wow. Easy day.

Dr. Chopra: Easy.

Mark: Easy peasy.

All right, Dr. Chopra. Sanjiv Chopra.

Gratitude and Purpose

[32:35]

Dr. Chopra: And then the key. Two other keys and we’ll finish. Is express gratitude. So I teach a workshop with a friend of mine “Invitation to happiness” and we give everyone a gratitude journal. And we say, “Once a week on a Sunday reflect on what’s happened in the past week and write down what you’re grateful for.” That is very, very, very important.

And then, each one of us has a purpose in life. And it will come to us either by reflecting or we witness something very tragic, and we have the fortitude and grit to say, “You know what? This is unacceptable, and I’m going to try and make a difference here.” And Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days of your life are the day your born and the day you find out why.”

Mark: (laughing) I love that. Well here’s what I’ll part with. When you are healthy and you’re doing 5 simple things everyday for your health, then it’s much easier to find the gratitude… it’s much easier to feel the gratitude cause your emotional body is pure and you’re connected to your heart. And it’s much easier to find your purpose because your mind is clear. So those are foundational.

Dr. Chopra: Absolutely. Well put.

Mark: Awesome.Thank you so much sir. This has been…

Dr. Chopra: Mark Divine. Here’s what I want to say at the end. Mark Divine, it was heavenly being on your podcast.

Mark: (laughing) I’ve never heard that before.

Dr. Chopra: I hope we talk again.

Mark: I’m looking forward to it, Dr. Chopra. And I’m gonna have Allison follow up also about potentially you coming to speak at our retreat. That would be an honor.

Dr. Chopra: Okay. I’d be honored, yeah. All the best.

Mark: Have a great day. All right folks, that was terrific. What a neat opportunity to speak to Dr. Sanjiv Chopra. Check out his book, “The Big 5 Simple Things You Can Do To Live a Longer, Healthier Life.” And find purpose. So go out there and implement those 5 things. And stay safe.

Hooyah!

Coach Divine out.