Monthly Archives: August 2012

Inner outer beauty

The world would be a very different place if our outward appearance reflected the content of our character. In such a scenario, some prized beauty of the past and lose their luster.

Also, the covers of glossy magazines and major newspapers have modest figures that really make the world a better place. For better or worse, that is an alternative reality that I do not think will ever come about. However, there is a way to improve external beauty by changing what you put on your face and plate.

Many progressive dermatologists will tell you that eating a diet rich in antioxidants can protect the skin from the harmful effects of sun and other environmental insults. There is just enough data is available in the scientific literature for them to feel comfortable mentioning such a strategy. Some really cutting edge skin experts will go so far as to recommend avoiding high-glycemic carbohydrates as a means of slowing the aging process by reducing the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). But at the end of the day, most dermatologists recommend eventually different creams, lotions, medications and procedures to improve dermal appearance. The so-called beauty with a price.

New research from the University of Nottingham shows that a healthy diet can literally attractive. The findings published in the latest edition of the Journal of Evolution and Human Behavior report pigments found in certain fruits and vegetables to give a healthy glow to the skin that differs from that reached by the sun. The natural dyes in question are known as carotenoids, which the rich colors present in a variety of foods including avocados, pumpkins, spinach and tomato production. According to the lead author of the study, Dr. Ian Stephen, “Most people think the best way to improve skin color to a brown color, but our research shows that eating lots of fruits and vegetables is actually effective.” The present study used a combination of food frequency questionnaires and photos to determine the perceived attractiveness. What’s more, this apparent phenomenon is not the exclusive domain of humans. For example, male birds with bright yellow or golden beaks and feathers are known to be attractive to female birds searching for a partner.

There is also evidence that carotenoids may appearance of the skin and the protection of health in the long term. Several recent studies show that both dietary and supplementary sources of carotenoids effective: a) decrease “crows feet” and the general facial wrinkling in women- b) reduce photo aging by protecting against ultraviolet-induced skin damage- c) improvement of elasticity of the skin, reducing wrinkles, and by using Moroccan oil.

Eating a “rainbow”-style diet that includes many colorful food with a good plan for other common skin conditions too. A particularly dramatic example is found in the June 2010 issue of the journal Allergy. In that publication, the researchers found that mothers who consumed large quantities of “green and yellow vegetables, citrus fruits, and beta-carotene” babies who were less likely to suffer from eczema had. Another ongoing research notes that adult patients with psoriasis tend to have lower levels of carotenoids in the skin. This vibrant plant pigments can even help reduce the incidence of the most feared of all skin disease: melanoma.

If the current column is enough to encourage you to search for more carotenoid-rich foods, keep this in mind: they are found in the most unlikely places. A good starting point is to eat lots of avocados, canned pumpkin, green leafy vegetables, heirloom tomatoes, organic eggs and squash. But a fact often overlooked is that the carotenoids are also present in significant quantities in herbs and spices such as basil, chili peppers, coriander, parsley and tarragon. You can also increase the bioavailability of these powerful antioxidants to increase by preparing them with acidulants and spices including lemon juice, onions and turmeric. And do not forget the fat. Carotenoids are, after all, fat soluble. So eat them with some extra virgin olive oil or other healthy fats makes much sense. I do not know about you but for me, this sounds much more attractive than baking in the sun for hours or getting a facelift.

Little Weight Loss, Long Lasting Benefits

If you’re seriously overweight then even losing the tiniest bit of weight can have amazing long-term benefits. That is, according to a recently released survey. This study monitored 3,000 people who were in a pre-diabetic stage known as impaired glucose tolerance.

The participants didn’t simply take a prescribed medicine. Instead, they were trained to behave different. Strategies were put into place to help them do so. They began tracking their daily food intake. They decreased the amount of unhealthy foods that they would stock in the kitchen. They started to get more active.

By losing a mere 14 pounds or so, you can decrease your chances of developing full blown type 2 diabetes by almost 60 percent. The health benefits gained from losing that much (or that little, depending on how you look at it) weight lasted as much as many ten years. And guess what? That was regardless of whether they gained the weight back or not. Now that’s pretty darn amazing, right?

The results and details of this study were set to be released during the American Psychological Association annual meeting being held in Orlando, Florida.

The director of the Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center located at Providence’s Miriam Hospital believes the key is behavioral modification. Instead of relying on prescriptions and other medical interventions in the case of severe obesity, the key is to help them change their lifestyle. This includes getting more active (we aren’t talking marathons here) and eating habits. If you can lose just ten percent of your body weight, it can help with a number of health problems, including hypertension, sleep apnea and increased mobility as you get older.

The director, Rena Wing, was doing her own research too. Studying 5,000 participants who have type 2 diabetes over a 13-year time period. The focus of her study is to see if this behavioral approach will lead to lower heart attack and heart disease risk.

 

Tips for Effective Weight Management

Everywhere you turn, you can find a new way of losing weight. But for a lot of people, they can lose weight… they just can’t keep it off. So what’s the key to actually maintaining your weight once you’ve met your weight loss goals?

There are many diets that claim they work for the long run. If you eat what they say, when they say and how much they say then you’ll transform your body into a more beautiful, healthier your forever. However, with most diets that just simply isn’t the case. When you get to the weight you want and you stop ‘the diet’ then the weight begins to creep back on.

How to Keep Weight Off?

No matter which you look at it, if you wanna lose weight and keep it off then you can’t eat more calories than your body can burn. Where those calories come from isn’t the issue. They can come from nothing but fruit, but they’re still calories. There is no one-size-fits-all diet that will work for everyone. You have to experiment with your eating and see what works best for your body. You have to burn those calories one way or the other. Exercise is great. But yes, there are things like green coffee extract and 5-HTP that can trick your body into burning more calories and fat. Regardless of what you decide to do, here are some tips to help you along the way:

Tips for Successful, Long Term Weight Loss

  • The changes you make don’t need to be drastic. Even the smallest steps you take can add up to a big change. For instance, could you switch to 2% milk instead of whole milk? Can you live with and learn to enjoy low fat cheese or salad dressings? It may not seem like much, but you’d be surprised at how it adds up over time.
  • Don’t blindly eat… that means, don’t pile up food on your plate and plop down in front of your favorite TV show to eat. If you do, you’re almost certain to overeat. When you eat, you need to be thinking about eating. Engage your senses and enjoy the texture, aroma and flavor. You will notice how much easier it is to notice that… “Hey, I’m not really hungry anymore, I’m full”
  • Keep the portions on your plate under control. Know about what a portion of meat looks like, veggies looks like, etc..
  • Include plenty of whole grains, low fat protein, veggies and fruits in your diet.
  • Limit alcohol and sweet, sugary treats.
  • Always eat a full, healthy breakfast. Make sure you get some healthy proteins.
  • Get active. Find a few activities you like and do them! You could walk, swim, play basketball, do yoga, etc… It doesn’t matter as long as you’re getting active.
  • Take little steps to find ways to add activity into your day. For instance, take the stairs at work. Park at the far end of the lot when you go shopping.
  • Don’t let stress dictate your eating habits. If you’re stressed and making your way to the fridge, go step outside. Take a deep breath and think about whether you’re really hungry or not. If not, find something else to do. Go for a walk. Call a buddy. Run a relaxing bubble bath.
  • Start keeping a food journal of some sort. It can be a notepad, a smartphone app or whatever you like. After a week or so you’ll be able to spot trouble areas. Keep track of your activities and feelings with it, too. That way, you can notice emotional eating. Yes, you will not always eat perfect. That’s ok. Just keep going and be sure to reward yourself for long tracks of good eating or good decisions.
  • Learn to read and understand food labels… and read them!

How Do THEY DO IT?!

Believe it or not, there’s actually a group  at the University of Colorado that can answer that question with proof. They observe and track people who have dropped at least 30 pounds and managed to keep it off for more than a year.  They aren’t really secrets, but if you wanna know the ‘secrets’, here they are:

  • They keep their calories under 1,400 a day
  • Fat calories are limited to a max of 24%
  • They eat a healthy breakfast
  • They don’t engage in fad diets
  • They eat lots of different types of foods and lots of fruits/veggies
  • They regularly exercise (walking is the most popular)
  • They keep a current food journal
  • They regularly record their weight

The members who participate in this program say that as time goes on, it continues to get easier. They don’t feel burdened with the activities they do to maintain a healthy lifestyle. In fact, they start enjoying it. They enjoy the exercise. They appreciate the low-fat, healthy diet they follow and most of all… they love their now bodies.

A Wealth of Benefits

Losing weight helps you feel better about yourself for sure. You can stand a little taller and take pride in your appearance and hard work you’ve put in. But the health benefits are much more than that. If you can lose as little as as ten percent of your body weight, you will enjoy health benefits that can last up to ten years. You reduce your chances of developing severe health problems like high blood pressure and heart disease.

Did you know that the people of North American spend upwards of $5 billion every single year on weight loss products? Everyone is looking for that magical little pill that will work overnight. But while there are definitely natural supplements that can help you on your weight loss journey, but for the best benefits, it will take some effort.

 

Understanding the Basics of Acne

If you’re like most people, when you hear someone talk about acne then you assume they’re just talking about pimples. The truth is, there’s a big difference between some pimples and acne. Acne is an inflammatory skin disease. It directly affects the pilosebaceous, a section of the skin that consists of the sebaceous gland your hair follicles.

In most cases, acne arises during puberty. That’s understandable, since your body is experiences quick-rising levels of testosterone that are associated with the bodily changes puberty brings along. But acne isn’t always a byproduct of puberty. Sometimes your genetics can be the underlying reason why you develop it.

As much as ten percent of Americans will experience acne sometime during their life.

Symptoms and Signs of Acne:

Just because you get a blackhead or a pimple does not mean you have acne. So how can you tell if you have acne or just a passing phase of pimples? Here are some things to look for:

  1. Microcomedone: This is also sometimes referred to as Comedone. A microcomedone is basically a hair follicle that become enlarged due to getting plugged up with bacteria and oils. They’re very, very small. In fact, you can’t see it with the naked eye.
  2. Blackhead: An open comedone can become a blackhead. Lots of people think that a blackhead is a pimple that has dirt and other particles trapped in the top due it’s color. However, it’s actually plugged hair follicle and it has risen to your skin surface. That dark color of the blackhead? That’s the bacteria and oils plugging it.
  3. Whitehead: Whiteheads are closed comedones. Instead of rising to the surface like a blackhead, they stay just under your skin surface.
  4. Papules: When you get those small pink bumps on the surface of your skin, these are papules. They’re inflamed but aren’t filled, plugged and pus-filled.
  5. Pimples: When you get the small bumps raised and pus-filled, these are actual pimples. They can have different looks to them, but they almost always have a red base.
  6. Nodules: These are also called cysts. They’re pus-filled, inflamed and normally very large compared to the others. They are often painful because they’re embedded very deep under the surface of your skin. If picked or opened and drained they’ll often leave a scar.

Acne Lesions and Their Development

Glands under your skin secrete certain oils. Sometimes hair follicles can become plugged or blocked by them. Your pores are often found above a comedone. When dead skin cells, oils and blocked pores are together it often leads to a nice little growth of bacteria. This particular bacteria is technically called Propionibacterium acnes – hence the name of this skin disease: acne. If that bacteria is allowed to remain and it sets off a chain reaction then you end up with inflammation and eventually a lesion that can cause scarring.

What Causes Acne?

Bouts of acne can be contributed to several things. One thing to know is that it is not your diet or grooming habits that cause acne. Not usually anyways. Of course there are exceptions, but normally it’s something else like hormones or too much sebum. Others include:

Stress: There are studies that show that acne can be brought on by stress. When you’re under too much stress, your immune system can suffer. Your hormone levels fluctuate. Combined, this can be an environment prone to acne outbreaks.

Dead skin cells: Everyday, skin cells die and new ones replace them. Sometimes the dead skin cells can get caught and block pores. If that happens then oxygen can’t make its way underneath the blocked area, which again, leaves an environment that bacteria loves.

Bacteria: Bacteria is always present in our bodies. However, if there’s too much then it can cause inflammation, which is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. Propionibacterium acnes can form. Normally there’d need to be quite a bit for an acne outbreak. But if you’ve become allergic to this bacteria it will only take a tiny bit to cause an outbreak.