September 26, 2011
Want to be a smarty pants? There’s a secret weapon to motivate your medulla: eating. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the food you eat can have benefits far beyond fueling your body. In addition to providing the energy you need, certain foods can amp up your brain power.
Explore the recesses of your refrigerator and you may find foods that science increasingly is crediting with being especially supportive for brain health. These edibles may improve memory, clarify thinking, delay cognitive decline and perhaps even ward off Alzheimer’s disease.
Recent research shows that you may want to include the following on your shopping list more often for brain-strengthening nourishment:
- Apple juice and pomegranate juice
- Red grapes, cherries, apples, blueberries and strawberries
- Tea and cocoa
- Salmon and light tuna
- Soy foods
- Sunflower seeds, walnuts
- Vegetables, especially leafy greens
- Canola oil, olive oil
- Dark chocolate
When buying processed or packaged foods containing these ingredients, be sure to read the nutrition labels carefully. Some of these “good” foods may be prepared with high amounts of sugar, fat or salt added to them, resulting in too many calories or too much sodium in your diet. For healthful eating, choose fresh versions of these foods most often and prepare them with low-fat ingredients. Eat processed types in moderation.
For example, you can still get the benefits of pomegranate juice (which has sugar added to offset its tart flavor) by mixing one or two ounces into sparkling water as a spritzer. Cocoa made with nonfat milk gives your brain a boost without adding extra fat. And letting a small piece of dark chocolate melt slowly in your mouth prolongs your enjoyment while keeping your daily intake healthful (one ounce or less).
For brain health as well as overall health, be sure to avoid foods containing saturated fats or trans fats (check those nutrition labels!). Diets that are high in such fats are specifically related to declining brain capabilities.
August 15, 2011
It’s been said that eating certain foods together—think red wine with red meat, to neutralize toxins, or grilled chicken with coleslaw, to flush away carcinogens—may help ward off the negative effects of your less-than-healthy choices.
But according to celebrity nutritionist Paula Simpson, the theory only holds true if you’re eating in moderation and offsetting unhealthy helpings with antioxidant-rich foods. “Even if you do eat like this, you are still taking a risk in ingesting nutrient-depleted, toxic, processed foods,” she says. “If you do eat this way, the best thing you can do is balance the meal out with something healthy.”
May 31, 2011
Skin that is less than ideal can arise from a variety of different causes, with the main ones being:
Dehydration. Even if you drink plenty of water, if your body is not utilizing it correctly, all of the layers of skin may not receive the hydration needed. Drinking water is the best way to keep the body hydrated. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, add lemon or cranberry to it, which will also provide pH-balancing benefits. Dehydrated skin actually stems from internal dehydration. When the body is deficient in water, the organs become dehydrated, too, as does the skin. If your skin is dehydrated, very fine lines may be present, the overall skin color will be flat and the skin will feel dry and inflexible.
Lack of exercise. If you think that the only benefit of exercise is a better body, guess again. Exercise is also important for your skin because it helps to stimulate the lymphatic system, which keeps everything moving, especially blood. Proper blood flow is essential for both a healthy glow and to fuel the underlying cells so they can function at their full potential.
Smoking. Smoking is extremely damaging to the skin since it depletes the body of vitamin C and accelerates the rate at which collaged and elastin are broken down. It’s no question that smoking is a big factor in causing unhealthy skin. The chemicals in cigarettes suck moisture out of the skin, making it look and feel dry.
Diet. The digestive system and skin have a reciprocal effect on each other. Certain foods positively influence the skin’s behavior. It’s not about what is missing from your diet as much as it is about what you can and cannot address. If you can’t properly break food down, it won’t move throughout the digestive process and can actually cause you to become bloated and the skin to look sluggish. Since the skin is a functioning organ, when not enough vitamins and minerals are ingested to fuel the body, the skin suffers.
The Sun. A top skin offender, the sun is a major cause of unhealthy skin. Repeated sun exposure depletes collagen and elastin from within, making the skin less elastic and thinner, which leads to wrinkles. The sun is a known contributor of dark-colored spots and leathery, wrinkled-looking skin—an obvious sign of unfit and aged skin. The effects of the sun begin when we are kids. It is years later when we begin to see spots, wrinkles and, sometimes, precancerous patches and skin cancer.
October 18, 2010
Some of the most common hair woes, like excessive oiliness or dryness, can be alleviated with a combination of the right foods and, of course, the right hair products. Since hair grows from a skin follicle, it’s inevitable that oil is produced. But just how much sebum ends up on your scalp and trickles down the strand is due to genetics, the condition of your scalp, and your intake of certain foods. While hormones play a part, hot and spicy foods can cause your body temperature to rise internally, which gets released through pores in the scalp. Another cause for oily hair is excess consumption of sugar and fat.Since oily hair is directly related to an oily scalp, it’s best to cut out any foods that encourage the overproduction of oil. You may want to try incorporating more raw foods and healthy oils into your diet to counteract the effects of saturated oils. Look to include foods like complex carbs, olive oil, sushi, fresh fruits and vegetables.Dry hair, on the other hand, can be due in part to a lack of vitamin A, which is essential to the induction of the genes that control the process called keratinization. If you’re not getting enough vitamin A or the right proportions of it, your hair can become dry.Load up on foods rich in essential fatty acids and healthy fats. Foods that are high in omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, like linoleic acid, will ensure proper hydration to the hair. Fish like tuna, salmon and trout, as well as flaxseed and walnuts, are great choices. Stay away from processed foods, and make sure you drink one or two liters of water each day to keep hair supple.Keep in mind, any dietary changes will only affect new hair growth—chances are you won’t see a noticeable difference for at least three to six months.