Me & Latia

Me & Latia
Partners @ Attitude = Performance

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Latia Del Riviero Promotes Escape Tanning in Vancouver

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Delicious Foot Teaser by FBB LDR (+playlist)

3 Vitamins That Greatly Benefit Your Health


synthetic vs natural vitaminsMost people have never heard of the distinction between synthetic vs natural forms of vitamins.

The first thing you need to know is that some synthetic forms of vitamins are MUCH less absorbed by your body compared to natural versions.

BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY...

Did you know that several scientific studies have revealed that synthetic forms of certain vitamins can possibly have harmful effects in your body?
It's true... and a little scary too! 

And if you choose an ordinary multi-vitamin that you get at a corner store, it most likely contains at least some synthetic forms of vitamins (unless it specifically states that it is whole-foods based).
It's also well known that your body will assimilate vitamins derived from whole-foods sources MUCH more readily compared to vitamins from synthetic sources.  We could talk about the differences in vitamins from whole foods sources vs synthetic sources for over a dozen different vitamins...

However, there are THREE vitamins that you need to be most concerned about with natural vs synthetic:

Here are the 3 most important vitamins that you NEED to make sure you obtain from natural sources and NOT synthetic:
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
Let's look at Vitamin A first...

Most multi vitamins contain Vitamin A in the form of vitamin A palmitate... this is a synthetic version that from my research has it's potential negatives.  It's also added to low fat or skim milks to replace the natural Vitamin A lost when they remove the milkfat.  Also many processed foods such as cereals are "fortified" with synthetic vitamin A palmitate.

Synthetic vitamin A palmitate is toxic at large doses, and you need to be careful not to over ingest.  I personally stay away from anything containing synthetic Vitamin A as much as possible.
If you eat a lot of cereal combined with low-fat or fat-free milk (and other "fortified" foods, or synthetic vitamin pills), you can see how you can possibly be overdosing on this potentially harmful synthetic vitamin A.  As you know from a lot of my articles, despite being marketed as "health" foods, there's not really much healthy about cereals at all!

True natural Vitamin A (retinol) actually only comes from animal sources such as cod liver oil, animal liver, some other organ meats, and in lesser amounts in butter, eggs, and milkfat.  However, at very large doses of cod liver oil or if you somehow overate large quantities of liver, it still is possible to overdose on natural Vitamin A from these types of sources (although this natural form is safer than the synthetic vitamin A palmitate).

Another form you'll see for Vitamin A is beta-carotene.  However, beta-carotene is actually NOT vitamin A... it's actually a pre-cursor to Vitamin A, and your body needs to convert it to vitamin A. 
Therefore, beta-carotene is one of the safest forms of Vitamin A, since your body will only convert the amount that it actually needs.  You get healthy quantities of beta-carotene in carrots, sweet potatoes, spirulina, dark leafy greens, butternut squash, red peppers, and other colorful fruits and veggies.

NOW FOR VITAMIN D...


Vitamin D is another fat-soluble vitamin, just like Vitamins A, E, and K.  Vitamin D is one of the most important substances in our body, and also one of the most misunderstood.
The discussion about Vitamin D could get really long and complicated and fill an entire book, so I want to simplify it for you below:

1. The BEST, BEST, BEST source of vitamin D, without a doubt, is that which your body produces naturally from adequate sun exposure.
Vitamin D is actually produced into a hormone in our bodies and regulates hundreds of processes in the body... it is simply one of THE most important substances in our bodies. 
It is even extremely important for our immune systems... Why do you think there are more sicknesses in the winter?  No it doesn't have to do with cold temperatures... it has more to do with Vitamin D deficiency which causes a weakened immune system since we don't get strong enough sun exposure in the winter!

It is hard to obtain enough Vitamin D from dietary sources alone (egg yolks, organ meats, some mushrooms, and fatty fish are good sources, but still relatively small). The best utilized source of Vitamin D for our bodies is what we produce from moderate regular sun exposure without burning. 
Cod liver oil is one of the best known dietary sources of natural Vitamin D, but it is best to only use small amounts of this and only in the deepest months of winter, as it's possible for you to overdose on Vitamin A from cod liver oil if you take too much.

2. If you get a blood test for Vitamin D, you generally want to be between the range of 50 ng/ml to 80ng/ml from what I've read.  Your risk of going lower than this and having a vitamin D deficiency typically occurs in the deepest months of the winter, unless you've gotten away on a tropical vacation closer to the equator, which could help raise your levels for several weeks afterwards.

3.  Just so you know, there are some controversies surrounding benefits and detriments of vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) vs. vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol).  Generally, vitamin D3 is what you want to look for, as that is also what is naturally produced in your body from the sun, and is the natural source we obtain from animal based foods. 

From everything I've read and researched, I would personally try to stay away from vitamin pills or fortified foods that contain vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol).  This form has been linked to possible negative effects.

Instead, try to get moderate amounts of sunshine, if you can for most of the year, and focus on the healthy dietary sources of natural vitamin D that I listed above... and also look for supplements in the winter to be based on fish oil sources of vitamin D if you can.

NOW FOR VITAMIN E...


I know we got into a lot of details on Vitamin A and Vitamin D, so I'll make this short and sweet...

1. With Vitamin E, the best utilized sources of vitamin E are from whole foods such as nuts and seeds, with smaller amounts in some greens.  Vitamin E from natural foods comes in the form of many different tocopherols and tocotrienols.

2.  If you take a multi-vitamin, you absolutely MUST check to make sure that you're taking the natural version of vitamin E and not the synthetic.  In supplements, the natural version typically starts with "d-alpha" and the synthetic versions start with "dl-alpha".

The bioavailability of synthetic vitamin E is much lower than natural vitamin E. In addition, I’ve seen many articles and studies that indicated that there could be potential health dangers with taking synthetic vitamin E over time. Once again, we get back to the fact that natural is always better than something that has been chemically modified.  Bottom line... Nature always wins in the natural vs synthetic debate.

How can you protect your health and that of your family?

1. First and foremost, make sure to try to obtain most of your nutrition from a great diversity of nutrient-rich, organic, whole foods. 
However, as I'm sure you'll agree, we're not perfect, and with our overly processed food supply, as well as chemically abused farm soils, our foods typically contain less vitamins and minerals than they did just several decades ago.  That's where a good whole-foods based multi-vitamin supplement can come in handy.

2. If you take a multi-vitamin, you MUST look for a whole-foods based vitamin and you specifically want to look for natural versions of Vitamin A, D, and E like we discussed in this article, as this assures that your body assimilates the vitamins most efficiently, and it also assures that you are not exposed to any of the potential harmful effects of synthetic vitamins.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Eating Your Way to Smoother, Younger Skin

A recent study shows omega 3 fatty acids actually protect the skin from the inflammatory response (sunburn) after too much sun exposure. So the redness you see after a sunburn, which is actually inflammation in your skin, is much less when you have a diet high in omega 3 fats.

And, even better, the study’s findings also show that omega 3 fatty acids play an important role in preventing and reducing the damaging effects of sun—including skin cancer! Omega 3 fatty acids increase the time it takes to become sunburned, very similar to what sunscreens do. Edible sunscreen.


And there is strong evidence that dietary omega 3 fatty acids actually inhibit cancerous changes that occur after ultraviolet radiation, including decreasing tumor growth and reducing cancer cells’ ability to multiply. Omega 3 fatty acids are powerful sunscreen for sure. According to another study published in the American Health Foundation Journal:


“Epidemiological, experimental, and mechanistic data implicate omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) as stimulators and long-chain omega 3 PUFAs as inhibitors of development and progression of a range of human cancers, including melanoma”.
By contrast, the same levels of omega 6 fatty acids (from vegetable oils, grains and meat from grain-fed animals) actually increase cancerous changes that occur after exposure to ultraviolet radiation.


So the “Standard American Diet” that most Americans consume which is much too heavy in omega 6 fatty acids and lacking in omega 3’s, not only contributes to a worse sunburn, but it also contributes to the aging effect of sun on the skin. A diet high in trans fats and omega 6 fats ages skin faster, and brings about older-looking skin and wrinkles.


The BEST way to avoid damaging your skin and minimizing the effects of sun damage starts on the inside, not the outside.


One of the best ways to prevent sun damage, absorb healthy vitamin D, and protect your skin, is with diet. Your body can actually create its own natural sunscreen with the right dietary components.
The best omega 3 fatty acids containing EPA and DHA, are found in animal products such as grass-fed meat; cold-water, wild caught fish such as sardines, anchovies, salmon, black cod, mackerel, and organic pastured free range chickens/eggs.


It is key to remember, though that maintaining an optimal balance of omega 6’s to omega 3’s (3:1, or lower) is critical. Most modern diets are way too heavy with omega 6 fats compared to omega 3 fats, with most people at a 20:1 ratio or worse.


Eliminate or minimize the processed vegetable oils (like soy, corn, canola, cottonseed, sunflower and safflower oil) in favor of grass fed butter, lard or tallow, monounsaturated fats like virgin olive oil and healthy saturated fat such as coconut oil for cooking or baking.


Load up on your antioxidants to protect your skin. Carotenoids are antioxidants that protect plants and animals from excess sunshine. When we ingest carotenoids, they are deposited into our skin to help prevent UV damage and oxidative stress that can lead to wrinkles and skin cancer.


Beta-carotene – one type of carotenoid found mostly in red and orange produce — is linked to reduce reactions to sunburns, and flavonoid rich orange and pink citrus fruits have also been shown to improve the skin’s ability to protect against UV rays.

Beta-carotene has one other noticeable benefit for your skin. Beta-carotene gives your skin a warmer, golden color. People who eat diets high in beta-carotene actually have a healthier glow than those whose diets are low in this nutrient.


Best sources of carotenoids are free-range organic eggs, dark-green leafy vegetables (kale, collards, baby greens and organic spinach), and yellow-orange fruits and vegetables (mangoes, cantaloupe, carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash).


A research study by Köpcke & Krutmann concluded that beta-carotene is highly effective in protecting against sunburn and that the amount of time it was ingested is important:
The longer the duration of supplementation, the stronger the effect. A minimum of 10 weeks was needed to see results, and the protective effect increased with each additional month of supplementation.


The most potent carotenoid is the red pigment found in salmon, trout, shrimp, and lobsters. It is known as astaxanthin. Once in your body, astaxanthin is 1,000 times more effective at protecting skin from UV damage and oxidation than other carotenoids.


What is the best source of skin protecting astaxanthin? Most people would never guess it, but it’s Krill Oil! Approx 2 mg/day is a dose sufficient enough to have significant effects on protecting the skin from damage.


If you want one of the best fish oils that I’ve found on that market (non-rancid, which is a problem with some brands), that is also one of the best prices in terms of quantity of DHA and EPA, check out this brand.

Include lycopene in your diet. Lycopene is another skin-protecting antioxidant. It’s pretty easy to get lycopene in the summer, since it is found in red fruits such as tomatoes, red bell pepper and watermelon. Lycopene’s potency is actually increased with cooking, so tomato sauce and tomato paste have more concentrated amounts of lycopene than fresh tomatoes. In studies with lycopene, it was shown that people who consumed 55 grams (just 5 tablespoons) a day of lycopene in tomato paste had 33% more protection against sunburn compared to a control group after 12 weeks.


Also try to get a lot of your antioxidants from green tea, black tea, white tea or oolong tea. Drinking 3-4 cups of tea a day has major antioxidant and skin-protecting benefits. Green tea contains antioxidants called polyphenols that boost the ability of skin to protect itself from the sun. The polyphenols in green, white, and oolong tea actually reduce damage caused by ultraviolet rays and protect it from sun damage, both when applied externally as a topical cream or a lotion, and when consumed as a drink.

Snack on vitamin and flavanol-rich fruit and vegetables instead starchy carbohydrates and sugary snacks. Summer months bring us delicious, antioxidant-heavy berries and other fruit such as mangoes, kiwis, peaches and plums. These fruits are also rich in vitamin C, known for its role in building collagen, and preventing wrinkles and photo damage through its anti-inflammatory action.


Get your greens too! If it’s green and leafy, it’s good for your skin too! Fresh herbs, especially parsley, basil, cilantro, sage and rosemary are packed with antioxidants that prevent wrinkles from forming. Don’t forget other dark green superfoods such as spinach, kale, arugula, swiss chard and baby greens. The polyphenols and carotenoids these contain are better than the most expensive skin creams.

Cruciferous vegetables smooth out the skin with their long list of powerful antioxidants. They also contain contain sulforaphane, which is linked to increasing the skin’s ability to protect itself from cancer.


And don’t forget the dark chocolate and cocoa. Those rich flavonoids that are in dark chocolate actually improve the skin’s ability to protect itself from the sun and reduce sunburn too. And flavonoids help to keep the skin hydrated, increase oxygen to the skin and boost blood circulation. Just be sure to eat chocolate that contains a minimum of 70% cacao for the best benefit… if you can handle the less sweet and slightly bitter flavor of stronger chocolate, go for 80% or higher, and you’ll save sugar calories while also reaping even more antioxidant health benefits. Try to choose organic dark chocolate too if you can to help reduce your overall chemical/pesticide load.


You can also get a lot of the antioxidant benefits of dark chocolate with a lot less calories by using organic cocoa powder in your smoothies or in home-made hot cocoa. A heaping teaspoon of organic cocoa powder in your regular smoothies can help to lower blood pressure and gives you boatloads of protective antioxidants. You even get several grams of fiber per spoonful of cocoa without much calories at all.


Age-Erasing Anti-Wrinkle Foods:

Salmon, Trout, Shrimp, Lobster
Blue Green Algae
Cold Water Wild Caught Fish
Grass Fed Beef, Lamb, Goat
Free Range Organic, Pasture Raised Chicken
Lard
Butter (from Grass Fed Cows)
Coconut Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kale
Collards
Baby Greens
Swiss Chard
Beet Greens
Mustard Greens
Spinach
Arugula
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage

Mangoes
Cantaloupe
Carrots
Sweet Potatoes
Squash
Papaya
Tomatoes
Watermelon
Strawberries
Cherries
Berries
Peaches
Plums
Red Grapes
Red Bell Pepper
Oranges
Red Grapefruit
Kiwi
Green, White, Red Rooibos and Oolong Tea
Dark Chocolate
Organic Coffee




Thursday, October 17, 2013

Some Healthy Probiotic Foods

Yogurt-Avoid the sweetened, heavily processed yogurts, and instead go for unsweetened, plain, organic types of yogurt. And be sure the label says, “Live cultures”.

Kefir-A cultured milk product and is helpful to those with lactose intolerance. Kefir contains different types of beneficial bacteria than yogurt does, as well as beneficial yeasts. Kefir contains more bacterial strains that remain viable in the digestive system, increasing the likelihood of intestinal colonization.


Kombucha Tea-This tea is made from a culture of symbiotic beneficial bacteria and yeasts that has been popular in China for the last 2,000 years. Kombucha contains many important amino acids, B vitamins, and powerful substances that enhance the immune system. It’s also known to be effective against many cancers.


Kimchi (also spelled Kim Chee sometimes) -This traditional spicy Korean condiment is made of cabbage and other vegetables and seasoned with salt, garlic, ginger and chili peppers. Fermented vegetables make them easier to digest as well as increasing the vitamin levels. I like to have some Kimchi with my morning eggs for an extra probiotic boost.


Sauerkraut-This cabbage dish has been salted and lacto-fermented over a period of weeks. The healthy bacteria in sauerkraut produce beneficial enzymes as well as having antibiotic and anti-carcinogenic substances. Make sure it’s fresh and not canned sauerkraut which is likely to be “dead” from the heating during canning.


Miso-Miso is made from cultured paste of soybeans. Salt and water are the only other ingredients of natural miso. The enzymes break down and help to pre-digest the proteins, starches, and fats into amino acids, simple sugars and fatty acids. Miso is often used as a soup base but is great in sauces, marinades and dressings as well. Be aware that high temperatures in boiling will kill the beneficial microorganisms in true miso. Note that many miso soups found in the states actually use tofu and not miso. Only miso is the fermented version.


Tempeh-Another healthy form of fermented soybeans (generally soybeans are not a healthy food-unless they are fermented). This soy food is easier to digest and provides many valuable vitamins and nutrients, as well as protein, calcium and iron. The mold that is produced from the fermentation produces a natural antibiotic that strengthens the immune system.


Umeboshi-Salty, sour lacto-fermented pickled plums that originated in Japan. Umeboshi are highly alkaline and help to stimulate the digestive system, and promote elimination of toxins. They also possess natural antibiotic properties and are very beneficial for intestinal health.

Pickles-There are almost limitless varieties of lactofermented vegetables you can make using salt, temperature and a controlled environment. Most pickles purchased from the store, are made using vinegars and heat processing, which eliminates the beneficial bacteria and enzymes that result from natural fermentation--check the label if you want to find pickles that are actually fermented, which is rare to find.


Fermented drinks-Besides kombucha and kefir, there are beginning to be many fermented fruit and vegetable drinks showing up on the shelves of many healthy grocery stores and health food stores. One of my favorites is called, “Inner Eco” and can be purchased at Whole Foods and other healthy food stores. This product contains one of the highest concentrations of beneficial bacteria with over 100 billion probiotics per Tablespoon!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Probiotics, Gut-Friendly Organisms That Keep You Healthy Within

What are probiotics? Probiotics are tiny organisms that exist in a healthy human gastrointestinal tract.

Probiotics got noticed for the first time when a Nobel Prize-winning Russian microbiologist traveled to Bulgaria and observed people who were drinking fermented milk and living longer, healthier lives. For thousands of years many cultures ate fermented foods before refrigerators came about, as a safe way of storing and eating foods. Fermented foods are rich in beneficial bacteria that our bodies need for healthy functioning.


These probiotics are the good bacteria that populate our digestive systems. This lining of the intestinal tract in our bodies is key to optimal health. Healthy bacteria colonies help to break down foods we eat, manufacture and metabolize vitamins, and other vital nutrients, and filter out waste. But our intestinal organisms are even more complex than just that.


While the general health of the whole body, including our mental health depends on the ability of our digestive system to break down fats, proteins and carbohydrates in our foods into useable nutrients. It’s these friendly bacteria, or probiotics that live in our guts that have a real impact on our overall health.


Unfortunately, today’s modern diets are processed, pasteurized and basically ‘dead’ foods. What happens when people eat a diet heavy in processed, ‘dead’ foods, is that harmful bacteria then take over in the digestive systems, causing many problems—not only with the digestive system, but the body as a whole. Many diseases start in an unhealthy environment in our guts. And this becomes even worse from taking antibiotics. While antibiotics can kill dangerous pathogens, they also kill off the healthy and beneficial bacteria in our bodies as well.


Probiotic actually means "for life," and probiotics like lactobacillus, plantarum and bifidis help immune cells fight disease, prevent diarrhea and constipation, protect the mucous lining of the intestine, assist digestion and provide the proper nutrients for healthy blood cells. Probiotics are also responsible for the manufacture of B vitamins and vitamin K right in the intestines where are immediately absorbed.


The tiny organisms that live in our digestive system can have a huge impact on our health. And what we eat determines what kinds of organisms we have. Unhealthy, processed, starchy or sugary foods can cause bad bacteria to grow out of control, making our immune systems weak, and affecting our ability to metabolize and synthesize vitamins and nutrients.


The intestines also function as one of the body’s most important immune defenses. In fact, 70-80% or so of the body’s immune cells are present in the intestines. Of course our immune systems protect us from dangerous viruses, bacteria, and parasites, but they also control responses to foods and food allergies as well.


The intestinal tract is the largest interface between the body and the external environment, and actually contains more surface area than our skin. Signals from nerve cells, endocrine cells, and immune cells in the intestines affect tissues and organs throughout the entire body. There are nearly a billion neurons in the intestinal nervous system.


Amongst this complicated and highly specialized system, live organisms that have a powerful effect on our health. These beneficial bacteria fight off dangerous organisms and potentially harmful invaders. Probiotics regulate our immune responses, and suppress excessive inflammation as well.
But too many antibiotics which kill off all bacteria, good or bad; toxins in the environment, and a bad diet high in sugar and starch will throw off this delicate balance. And yes, simply growing older can throw off this balance of beneficial bacteria too.


Negative changes in our intestinal flora can be associated with inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. It is now thought that many allergic reactions, asthma, and even obesity are tied to bacterial imbalances in the gut.


The good news though, is that adding the right types of probiotics and good bacteria will maintain or restore a healthy balance in your intestinal tract and improve overall health in the entire body, and fight aging.


For example, higher levels of beneficial bacteria are actually an aid to weight loss, as overweight people tend to have low levels of the right kinds of bacteria. This chronic exposure to unhealthy bacteria in the intestines causes system-wide inflammation and can lead to metabolic syndrome, which, as you may already know, is the beginning of diabetes and heart disease.


The right probiotics can help to lower blood pressure, lower LDL cholesterol and improve insulin sensitivity. And most importantly, probiotics may play a major role in preventing cancers, both inside and outside the intestinal tract—especially cancers of the colon, liver and bladder.


Two types of bacteria, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, have been found to be highly beneficial to health. Studies have shown that they can actually prevent potentially harmful bacteria from attaching to the lining of our digestive systems, help achieve the right acid-base balance for the intestines, support the gut lining and other intestinal microflora and provide strength and support for the immune system.


In two separate human studies it’s been shown that probiotics directly improve the body’s immune response. One study showed that ingesting probiotics for only a short time caused significant increases in the cytotoxic ability of natural killer cells. And, another study of subjects in their fifties who consumed a dairy drink with a strain of Lactobacillus found the same benefit.


Study after study has shown that probiotics help keep people healthier, especially the aging population. As you age, the immune system weakens and the healthy balance of bacteria and organisms in the digestive system begins to break down.


Although we typically think of probiotics benefiting just the intestines, they actually benefit the whole digestive system, including the mouth, throat, stomach, and vaginal tract.


Some of the other ways probiotics can benefit your body:


Probiotics can prevent wrinkles and give you a glowing complexion by eliminating the toxins and fighting free radicals that can damage skin and cause early signs of wrinkling and sagging. And probiotics help you digest your food better, so you get more nutrients in your body.

Probiotics can help you burn fat better by reducing cravings for carbohydrates, sugar and alcohol and help you have more energy to be more active.

Probiotics clean your liver which is reflected in your skin and eyes. When you keep toxins from building up in the liver, you have younger looking skin with less liver spots, moles and skin tags, and you have bright, clear eyes.

Probiotics help your hair and fingernails grow faster and stronger by keeping the blood vessels surrounding your hair follicles nourished. Healthy blood nourishes hair, skin and nails. Probiotics also help to break down proteins in the diet that benefit hair and nails.

Although probiotics have been known about for a long time, we are just beginning to understand just how important their role is in fighting aging, maintaining good health, strengthening the immune system, and fighting disease.


There are hundreds of probiotic products available in foods, drinks and supplement forms. The following tips can help you choose a high quality probiotic product:


Make sure the probiotics are live cultures. Many yogurts and other food products brag about containing probiotics, but unless they are ‘live’, they won’t do any good.

Look at how many CFU’s are present in each serving, and go for the highest number.

Look for the type of bacteria present. Some of the better known ones are acidopholus, lactobacillis, and bifido bacteria. These strains are also highly beneficial: Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, Streptococcus thermophilus, bifidobacteria, and Saccharomyces boulardii.

If you are taking supplements, make sure the product is enteric coated, meaning that it will survive the acid environment in the stomach to get to the small or large intestine where it is needed.

And most probiotics will die in a warm or hot environment, so be sure to buy from a trusted source that keeps their products cool enough to be viable.

Most probiotics do not have any adverse side effects but read labels carefully and take as directed. Some probiotics may have a very ‘cleansing’ effect on the digestive system—especially if you are not used to them.




Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Vitamin D...A Vitally Important Nutrient That Fights Aging

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is of primary importance to optimal health, and can affect everything from your immune system (one of the biggest reasons people tend to get sick in the winter more than summer), to hormone balance, weight gain or loss, muscle strength, bone density, cancer risk, and mental health. Other studies show that vitamin D helps with rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, blood pressure, and heart disease.


And most importantly, vitamin D has been scientifically proven to slow the aging process!
And while some of us may be younger and some of us are older, the one fact you cannot argue with is that we are all growing older—whether its fast or slow--so anything that helps us age better is something we can all use.


In a recent British study of over 2100 female twins, scientist looked at telomeres, which are the part of DNA that shortens with aging. (Twins have very similar DNA, so differences were easily noted within the experiment.) One group of the twins was taking vitamin and mineral supplements and the other was not. At the end of the test period, the telomeres of each group were measured.


Telomeres are the lengths of genetic material that cap the free ends of DNA in a cell, and are one of the most reliable measures of aging. As a person ages, the telomeres shorten and the DNA becomes more unstable until eventually the cell dies. While telomeres are all the same length at birth, lifestyle factors such as diet, nutrition, exercise, and other environmental factors will speed up or slow down the length of time it takes for these to deteriorate.


The study found that those with the highest vitamin D levels had significantly longer telomeres, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, meaning that those with higher levels of vitamin D aged more slowly. And the best part--Researchers found that those in the study with the highest vitamin D levels had DNA that was the equivalent of five years’ younger!
This is one of the reasons that vitamin D has such a strong protective effect on many age-related diseases such as cancer and heart disease.


Vitamin D is primarily made in the skin after exposure to mid-day sunlight (not early morning or late day sunlight). It actually takes the UVB rays to convert the sunlight on your skin to vitamin D. Getting sunshine on your skin for at least 20-40 minutes in the middle of the day, when UVB rays are present, is the best way to get natural vitamin D, based on your skin pigmentation (darker-skinned people need more, and lighter-skinned people need less).


Important note: Vitamin D production in your skin only happens from UVB exposure and not UVA exposure. According to vitamin D researcher Dr. Joseph Mercola, while UVA rays from the sun make it to the surface of the earth regardless of the angle in the sky, the sun needs to be at least 50 degrees above the horizon for UVB rays to penetrate the ozone layer of the earth and make it to the surface.
Therefore, based on the latitude that you live, the time of day, as well as time of year, there are only certain times that the sun is actually greater than 50 degrees above the horizon. So keep in mind that you are only capable of producing vitamin D from the sun at any times of day or times of year that the sun is at least 50 degrees or higher above the horizon.


*By the way, the easy way to estimate what 50 degrees looks like is to think that 90 degrees would be the sun straight directly above your head, and 45 degrees would be halfway down to the horizon. So 50 degrees would be if the sun is just slightly above half way from the horizon to directly over your head.


As an example, in New York City (or any area at a similar latitude), in the strongest sun month of June, you might have a sun angle of 50 degrees or more above the horizon all the way from 930am through 430pm (just an estimate) ... However, once you get to September 1st and the sun is much lower in the sky, I'd estimate that you probably only have a sun angle above 50 degrees for only 2 hours mid-day. And once you get to October, the sun no longer goes above 50 degrees at all, even at mid-day.


To simplify, from around October to March, if you happen to live in the northern hemisphere, north of approx 30-35 degrees latitude (roughly north of a line from Los Angeles, California, over to Atlanta, Georgia), the sun is too low in the sky to stimulate vitamin D production, even if you’re outside on a sunny day at mid-day. And if you live even further north, like in Canada or northern Europe, you will need to supplement your vitamin D close to nine months or more out of the year.
The problem is that many of us have become so sun-phobic and afraid of skin cancer that we are now seriously lacking in this essential pro-hormone. But—increasing Vitamin D levels from regular small doses of sunshine can actually decrease one’s cancer risk! According to Dr. William Grant, a noted vitamin D researcher, skin cancer rates in people living at higher latitudes, such as Iceland, are approximately 4 times higher than the skin cancer rates of those living at the stronger sun areas in lower latitudes in the tropics. It may seem at first glance as one of those “paradoxes”, but in reality, it’s simply the anti-cancer protective effect of getting more vitamin D from regular sun exposure.
Our human ancestors functioned well with continual exposure to sunlight, which was estimated to produce levels of 10,000 to 20,000 IU of vitamin D a day in our ancestral skin!


Humans were never really designed to get vitamin D solely from food—we were made to get it from being outside in the sunshine. While many of the foods we buy may say, “vitamin D fortified”, in truth, very few foods such as fatty fish (cod liver oil), eggs, and organic liver, naturally contain vitamin D. In fact, the paltry amounts of vitamin D in most vitamin D fortified foods means most people would need to eat 8-10 servings just to meet the current RDA (Recommended Daily Amount), and as we know, the RDA is the bare minimum, not the optimal amount.


The best form of vitamin D is from sun exposure. You cannot overdose on this kind of natural vitamin D; the body converts only what it needs for optimal health. However in winter months when the sun is not strong enough to create vitamin D, or if you are indoors during the day or live in a far northern latitude, you will need a supplement.


When choosing a vitamin D supplement, it is important to take the natural form of vitamin D, which is vitamin D3. The optimal healthy range of vitamin D in the blood is around 50-70ng/mg, which can be achieved by taking a supplement of at least 1000IU to 5000IU per day, according to Dr. Heaney at the Creighton University Medical Center.


According to Dr. Joseph Mercola’s recommendation, however, some people may need more than 5,000 IU’s of vitamin D3 per day to reach the optimal levels of 50-70 ng/ml, which should be modified for the seasons if you are in the sun more during the spring and summer. Too much supplemental vitamin D can lead to toxicity, so it’s a good idea to consult with your physician to get vitamin D levels measured to get a more accurate idea of how to much to take.


Always take vitamin D with meals. When vitamin D is taken with the largest meal of the day, studies show the highest increase in blood levels of vitamin D. Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, taking it with a meal that contains some healthy fats help it absorb in the body better.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fats Can Speed Up or Slow Down the Aging Process

The DNA in our cells is coded with a life span. At the ends of each chromosome lies something called a ‘telomere’. Telomeres protect chromosomes and prevent them from fusing into rings or binding with other DNA. Think of telomeres as being kind of like the little hard plastic ends on the ends of shoelaces. They keep the laces from coming undone. Telomeres do a similar thing with your chromosomes.

When a cell divides, as they do thousands of times every day, strands of DNA get snipped to in the process. The places that are snipped are the telomeres. These telomeres get shorter and shorter with each cell division. Eventually the telomere gets too short, and the DNA becomes damaged, putting a halt to the cell’s ability to reproduce. This is when the cell dies, and where aging occurs.
Telomere length is an important marker of true biological age that accurately predicts illness and lifespan in many areas of health. The rate at which this happens varies greatly among individual people and cells. This is why some people may look and act older and may be more susceptible to age related disease than others.


How does this affect aging in our bodies?


Scientists can actually determine a cell's age and can estimate how many more times it may replicate by studying the length of the telomeres in a person. Telomeres may be one of the keys to aging.
Omega 3 Fats vs. Omega 6 Fats, It’s All About the Ratio


Recent scientific research shows omega 3 fats can actually slow down the rate at which telomeres on chromosomes shorten. The latest study conducted by scientists at Ohio State University (2012); on omega 3’s and their effect on telomeres appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).


The study showed that those that had the highest levels of omega 3 fatty acids also had the slowest rates of telomere shortening over 5 years. And the patients with the lowest levels of omega 3’s had fastest rate of telomere shortening.


What’s more, taking omega 3 supplements actually lengthened the telomeres in the participants’ DNA.  


In other words, those with the highest levels of omega 3 fats aged much more slowly. Supplementing with omega 3 fatty acids also was also found to reduce the oxidative stress from free radicals—which is another reason for accelerated aging. And omega 3 fatty acids also lowered inflammation in this same study group.


As you already know, inflammation and oxidation are key to the beginnings of many chronic health conditions and is thought to be one of the reasons for advanced aging. Obviously anything that reduces inflammation has anti-aging benefits as well.


Omega 3 fatty acids have a very long list of health benefits including: preventing heart disease, protecting the immune system, helping weight loss, keeping skin smooth and preventing wrinkles, improving mental health, preventing cancer, and fighting overall inflammation.


By contrast, another study showed that the TYPE of fat eaten can shorten telomeres and accelerate aging. One of the worst types of fat appears to be omega-6 fats, not saturated fat, as the medical community would have us believe. The study also showed that the amount of food eaten also had a significant effect on telomeres. Those who ate the most food had shorter telomeres.


Omega-6 fatty acids have taken over processed foods. Omega-6 fatty acids come primarily from grains and processed vegetable oils. Meat, chicken and farmed fish are raised on grain, making these foods high in omega 6 fatty acids as well.


Omega-6 fats are one type of polyunsaturated fats, which are the most reactive type of fats to heat and light. This leaves them more prone to oxidation and free radical production. Omega-6 fats then become highly inflammatory in our bodies because of this.


Omega 6 fats are in potato chips, corn chips, french fries, bottled salad dressings, corn oil, soy oil, and other vegetable oils. Most anything you purchase pre-made from the grocery store has this type of fat in it.


Our primal ancestors ate a diet much higher in omega 3 fats from wild caught fish, grass fed meat and dairy, and wild game. The omega 6 to omega 3 ratio many years ago was around 2 to 1. Today a typical modern diet in America or other westernized countries has about 20 times more omega 6 fats than omega 3 fats.


This unnatural balance of essential fatty acids causes excess inflammation and negative health effects. According to this study, eating excessive amounts of omega 6 fats appears to be one of the fastest ways to accelerate aging.


Eating more foods containing omega 3 fats will help fight aging internally and externally.
Studies also show proof that the types of fat you eat can actually determine whether you have more wrinkly, saggy skin or softer smoother skin—even as you get older. While some wrinkles seem to be an inevitable sign of aging, and accumulated sun damage, diet may be a key as to whether your skin will stay softer and smoother or look wrinkled and dry as you age.


A diet higher in omega 6 fats causes worse sunburns, and contributes to more skin damage from the sun (wrinkling) and is more likely to lead to skin cancer as well.


Omega 3 fatty acids prevent and reduce the damaging effects of the sun, and help the body prevent and fight off skin cancer from sun exposure. People who eat a diet higher in saturated fats and omega-3 fats have smoother, healthier skin, and younger, healthier bodies overall.


Other Anti-Aging Fats...


Contrary to current medical opinion and what you hear in the news, saturated fats can be very good for you (from natural sources), and not only necessary for important healthy physical function and hormone production, but for the brain and nerves as well.


In spite of what you may have heard about saturated fat, it can certainly be a healthy part of your diet if from the right sources. Although often shunned as an unhealthy fat, saturated fats are important for hormone production, cell membranes, your immune system, and more. The best types of saturated fats include virgin coconut oil (the best source of healthy MCT fats), fat from grass fed animals, butter (grass fed is best) and in terms of cooking oils, even lard is a healthier choice than polyunsaturated oils like soy or corn oil.


Our brain and nervous system is made of saturated fats and getting this fat in our diets is important for proper brain function as we age. Saturated fats also make up the surface of our lungs, making for easier breathing. Saturated fats actually help to strengthen the immune system, protecting us as we age from infectious diseases and cancer. Saturated fats are also important to cell membranes, giving them their necessary strength and integrity, while maintaining the flexibility they need. In other words, saturated fats are vital to every cell in our body, making them vital to protecting every body system as we age.


Some of the other ways eating a diet rich in saturated fats combats aging:


Saturated fats are necessary for proper utilization of other essential fatty acids. The body retains omega 3 fatty acids better when the diet is rich in saturated fats.

• Saturated fats protect the bones by helping to calcium be utilized in the bones where it is needed for bone strength, making saturated fats important guardians against osteoporosis.
• Saturated fats protect the liver from toxins such as medications, alcohol and environmental toxins.
• Saturated fats lower a substance in the blood called Lp(a), or Lipoprotein(a), that indicates a potential for heart disease.

• Short- and medium-chain saturated fats have important antimicrobial properties. They protect us against harmful microorganisms in the body.

Saturated fats also help us look younger on the outside as well, by helping the skin to stay soft and smooth. People who eat diets rich in omega 3 and saturated fats have much smoother, less wrinkled skin than those who eat predominately omega 6 fats.


One of the best, anti-aging saturated fats is a saturated fat that comes from coconut oil.
Coconut oil is composed predominately of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA). Fat molecules come in different sizes, and that size makes difference in how the fat is utilized. Fats are made up of Long Chain Fatty Acids (LCFA), Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA), or Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA).
The majority of fats and oils in our diets, whether they are saturated, monounsaturated, unsaturated, or come from animals or plants, are composed of long-chain fatty acids (LCFA). Some 98 to 100% of all the fatty acids you consume are LCFA.


Coconut oil contains the most concentrated natural source of MCFA available in our diet. Because our bodies process MCFA’s differently, the effects of coconut oil are uniquely different from those of other oils.


Coconut oil is actually used to help treat health issues including weight loss, skin conditions, allergies, inflammation, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and strengthening the immune system.


Scientific studies have shown that coconut oil also has anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties and is effective against candida, measles, giardia, listeria, (common food-poisoning pathogens), staph, and heliobacter pylori (bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers) and is even being used and researched to help support the health and immune systems of HIV/AIDS patients.


Virgin coconut oil actually has a beneficial effect in lowering total cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoproteins (LDL-the bad cholesterol) and so is good for the blood vessels and the heart.
Compared to carbohydrates, medium-chain triglycerides are a better and more efficient source of quick energy. Most oils, are broken down into fatty acids that circulate through your body after you eat them, and hungry fat cells in our bodies readily store these as fat. MCFA’s also have muscle-sparing effects. As a result, they can help build lean muscle, which also helps control your metabolism to stay lean.


Researchers are now looking into the exciting possibility of using coconut oil as a treatment not only for Alzheimer’s disease but also for Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease), drug resistant epilepsy, and diabetes.
Obviously this saturated fat has great anti-aging properties, as you can see.


The most important change you can make in your diet is to replace all the refined vegetable oils (soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, etc.), margarine, shortening, or hydrogenated oils you may be currently using in your food preparation with healthy saturated fats including virgin coconut oil, grass-fed butter, and extra virgin olive oil.


The Best Anti-Aging Fats:

Omega 3 Fats
Sardines
Salmon
Trout
Mackerel
Cod
Herring
Grass fed meats: beef, lamb, goat, bison, etc
Pasture raised chicken and eggs
Grass fed dairy
Walnuts
Hemp seeds
Chia seeds
Flax seeds
Monounsaturated Fats
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Almonds
Cashews
Pistachios
Pecans
Macadamias
Avocados
Olives (black and green)
Saturated Fats
Lard (from pasture raised animals)
Virgin coconut oil
Grass fed beef fat
Butter and cheese from grass fed cows

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Could Omega-3's Be Our "Fountain Of Youth?"

The DNA in our cells is coded with a life span. At the ends of each chromosome lies something called a ‘telomere’. Telomeres protect chromosomes and prevent them from fusing into rings or binding with other DNA. Think of telomeres as being kind of like the little hard plastic ends on the ends of shoelaces. They keep the laces from coming undone. Telomeres do a similar thing with your chromosomes.

When a cell divides, as they do thousands of times every day, strands of DNA get snipped to in the process. The places that are snipped are the telomeres. These telomeres get shorter and shorter with each cell division. Eventually the telomere gets too short, and the DNA becomes damaged, putting a halt to the cell’s ability to reproduce. This is when the cell dies, and where aging occurs.
Telomere length is an important marker of true biological age that accurately predicts illness and lifespan in many areas of health. The rate at which this happens varies greatly among individual people and cells. This is why some people may look and act older and may be more susceptible to age related disease than others.

How does this affect aging in our bodies?

Scientists can actually determine a cell's age and can estimate how many more times it may replicate by studying the length of the telomeres in a person. Telomeres may be one of the keys to aging.
Omega 3 Fats vs. Omega 6 Fats, It’s All About the Ratio

Recent scientific research shows omega 3 fats can actually slow down the rate at which telomeres on chromosomes shorten. The latest study conducted by scientists at Ohio State University (2012); on omega 3’s and their effect on telomeres appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The study showed that those that had the highest levels of omega 3 fatty acids also had the slowest rates of telomere shortening over 5 years. And the patients with the lowest levels of omega 3’s had fastest rate of telomere shortening.

What’s more, taking omega 3 supplements actually lengthened the telomeres in the participants’ DNA.

In other words, those with the highest levels of omega 3 fats aged much more slowly. Supplementing with omega 3 fatty acids also was also found to reduce the oxidative stress from free radicals—which is another reason for accelerated aging. And omega 3 fatty acids also lowered inflammation in this same study group.

As you already know, inflammation and oxidation are key to the beginnings of many chronic health conditions and is thought to be one of the reasons for advanced aging. Obviously anything that reduces inflammation has anti-aging benefits as well.

Omega 3 fatty acids have a very long list of health benefits including: preventing heart disease, protecting the immune system, helping weight loss, keeping skin smooth and preventing wrinkles, improving mental health, preventing cancer, and fighting overall inflammation.

By contrast, another study showed that the TYPE of fat eaten can shorten telomeres and accelerate aging. One of the worst types of fat appears to be omega-6 fats, not saturated fat, as the medical community would have us believe. The study also showed that the amount of food eaten also had a significant effect on telomeres. Those who ate the most food had shorter telomeres.

Omega-6 fatty acids have taken over processed foods. Omega-6 fatty acids come primarily from grains and processed vegetable oils. Meat, chicken and farmed fish are raised on grain, making these foods high in omega 6 fatty acids as well.

Omega-6 fats are one type of polyunsaturated fats, which are the most reactive type of fats to heat and light. This leaves them more prone to oxidation and free radical production. Omega-6 fats then become highly inflammatory in our bodies because of this.

Omega 6 fats are in potato chips, corn chips, french fries, bottled salad dressings, corn oil, soy oil, and other vegetable oils. Most anything you purchase pre-made from the grocery store has this type of fat in it.

Our primal ancestors ate a diet much higher in omega 3 fats from wild caught fish, grass fed meat and dairy, and wild game. The omega 6 to omega 3 ratio many years ago was around 2 to 1. Today a typical modern diet in America or other westernized countries has about 20 times more omega 6 fats than omega 3 fats!

This unnatural balance of essential fatty acids causes excess inflammation and negative health effects. According to this study, eating excessive amounts of omega 6 fats appears to be one of the fastest ways to accelerate aging.

Eating more foods containing omega 3 fats will help fight aging internally and externally.
Studies also show proof that the types of fat you eat can actually determine whether you have more wrinkly, saggy skin or softer smoother skin—even as you get older. While some wrinkles seem to be an inevitable sign of aging, and accumulated sun damage, diet may be a key as to whether your skin will stay softer and smoother or look wrinkled and dry as you age.

A diet higher in omega 6 fats causes worse sunburns, and contributes to more skin damage from the sun (wrinkling) and is more likely to lead to skin cancer as well.

Omega 3 fatty acids prevent and reduce the damaging effects of the sun, and help the body prevent and fight off skin cancer from sun exposure. People who eat a diet higher in saturated fats and omega-3 fats have smoother, healthier skin, and younger, healthier bodies overall.

Other Anti-Aging Fats...

Contrary to current medical opinion and what you hear in the news, saturated fats can be very good for you (from natural sources), and not only necessary for important healthy physical function and hormone production, but for the brain and nerves as well.

In spite of what you may have heard about saturated fat, it can certainly be a healthy part of your diet if from the right sources. Although often shunned as an unhealthy fat, saturated fats are important for hormone production, cell membranes, your immune system, and more. The best types of saturated fats include virgin coconut oil (the best source of healthy MCT fats), fat from grass fed animals, butter (grass fed is best) and in terms of cooking oils, even lard is a healthier choice than polyunsaturated oils like soy or corn oil.

Our brain and nervous system is made of saturated fats and getting this fat in our diets is important for proper brain function as we age. Saturated fats also make up the surface of our lungs, making for easier breathing. Saturated fats actually help to strengthen the immune system, protecting us as we age from infectious diseases and cancer. Saturated fats are also important to cell membranes, giving them their necessary strength and integrity, while maintaining the flexibility they need. In other words, saturated fats are vital to every cell in our body, making them vital to protecting every body system as we age.

Some of the other ways eating a diet rich in saturated fats combats aging: Saturated fats are necessary for proper utilization of other essential fatty acids. The body retains omega 3 fatty acids better when the diet is rich in saturated fats.

• Saturated fats protect the bones by helping to calcium be utilized in the bones where it is needed for bone strength, making saturated fats important guardians against osteoporosis.
• Saturated fats protect the liver from toxins such as medications, alcohol and environmental toxins.
• Saturated fats lower a substance in the blood called Lp(a), or Lipoprotein(a), that indicates a potential for heart disease.
• Short- and medium-chain saturated fats have important antimicrobial properties. They protect us against harmful microorganisms in the body.
Saturated fats also help us look younger on the outside as well, by helping the skin to stay soft and smooth. People who eat diets rich in omega 3 and saturated fats have much smoother, less wrinkled skin than those who eat predominately omega 6 fats.

One of the best, anti-aging saturated fats is a saturated fat that comes from coconut oil.
Coconut oil is composed predominately of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA). Fat molecules come in different sizes, and that size makes difference in how the fat is utilized. Fats are made up of Long Chain Fatty Acids (LCFA), Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA), or Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA).
The majority of fats and oils in our diets, whether they are saturated, monounsaturated, unsaturated, or come from animals or plants, are composed of long-chain fatty acids (LCFA). Some 98 to 100% of all the fatty acids you consume are LCFA.

Coconut oil contains the most concentrated natural source of MCFA available in our diet. Because our bodies process MCFA’s differently, the effects of coconut oil are uniquely different from those of other oils.

Coconut oil is actually used to help treat health issues including weight loss, skin conditions, allergies, inflammation, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and strengthening the immune system.

Scientific studies have shown that coconut oil also has anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties and is effective against candida, measles, giardia, listeria, (common food-poisoning pathogens), staph, and heliobacter pylori (bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers) and is even being used and researched to help support the health and immune systems of HIV/AIDS patients.

Virgin coconut oil actually has a beneficial effect in lowering total cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoproteins (LDL-the bad cholesterol) and so is good for the blood vessels and the heart.
Compared to carbohydrates, medium-chain triglycerides are a better and more efficient source of quick energy. Most oils, are broken down into fatty acids that circulate through your body after you eat them, and hungry fat cells in our bodies readily store these as fat. MCFA’s also have muscle-sparing effects. As a result, they can help build lean muscle, which also helps control your metabolism to stay lean.

Researchers are now looking into the exciting possibility of using coconut oil as a treatment not only for Alzheimer’s disease but also for Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease), drug resistant epilepsy, and diabetes.
Obviously this saturated fat has great anti-aging properties, as you can see.

The most important change you can make in your diet is to replace all the refined vegetable oils (soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, etc.), margarine, shortening, or hydrogenated oils you may be currently using in your food preparation with healthy saturated fats including virgin coconut oil, grass-fed butter, and extra virgin olive oil.

The Best Anti-Aging Fats:

Omega 3 Fats
Sardines
Salmon
Trout
Mackerel
Cod
Herring
Grass fed meats: beef, lamb, goat, bison, etc
Pasture raised chicken and eggs
Grass fed dairy
Walnuts
Hemp seeds
Chia seeds
Flax seeds
Monounsaturated Fats
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Almonds
Cashews
Pistachios
Pecans
Macadamias
Avocados
Olives (black and green)
Saturated Fats
Lard (from pasture raised animals)
Virgin coconut oil
Grass fed beef fat
Butter and cheese from grass fed cows

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Oxidation and Free Radical Damage...We All Remember Radicals Right?

You can think of oxidation like rust, except the ‘rusting’ is in our bodies. Free radicals are chemically unstable molecules that attack our cells and damage DNA. Accumulated free radical damage to our cells brings about accelerated aging, chronic disease, and eventually, cell death.

Free radical damage has been linked to a variety of illnesses including cancer, arthritis, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and diabetes. Free radicals are also known to be one of the possible causes of cancer, causing mutations in cells and the death of healthy cells.

Unfortunately, avoiding free radical damage is virtually impossible, as breathing, eating, exercising and just being exposed to the environment can cause some free radical damage. You can, however limit your exposure to free radicals by avoiding things like cigarette smoke, pesticides, pollution, trans fats, and other toxic substances. You can also counteract and protect yourself from the effects of free radicals by consuming all of the high-antioxidant herbs, spices, and foods we’ve been talking about in this manual.

Unstable free radicals in the body will do whatever it takes to capture the electron they need to stabilize themselves. Free radicals will attack nearby molecules to steal an electron, and when the molecule under attack loses an electron, it then becomes a free radical and repeats the process. This creates a chain reaction effect and the living cells in the body then becomes damaged.
The chain reaction that is caused by free radicals can cause a ‘cross-linking’ in DNA, which is the structure that is responsible for cell reproduction. When the DNA is damaged, it can cause wrinkles, sagging skin, diseases, and even cancer. Free radicals can cause oxidation of LDL cholesterol, helping to build up plaque in the arteries, leading to heart attacks and strokes.

When we are younger, our cells are protected from free radicals with a substance called superoxide dismutase, or SOD, that slows down the chain reactions of the free radicals, but as we get older this protection does not work as well. So how do we tame the inevitable free radicals and protect ourselves as we age?

Fortunately there are many antioxidants available in the food we eat, and some of these foods contain large amounts of different types of antioxidants that protect cells in a variety of ways. Antioxidants can travel around the body looking for free radicals and neutralize them before they can do much damage to our cells.

Scientists are still discovering new and different types of antioxidants and other phytochemicals in foods, but some of the better-known ones include beta carotene, vitamin C, astaxanthin, and more.
Antioxidant Nutrients

Carotenoids – These are the pigments that give many fruits and vegetables their bright colors. The red in the tomato you ate is red because of the carotenoid, lycopene. Carrots contain an antioxidant called beta carotene.

There are over 700 different carotenoids, but they are divided into two distinct groups: Carotenes and Xanthophylls. Carotenoids have a powerful ability to interact and neutralize oxidation in the body.
There are many different varieties of antioxidants. Enzymes can be antioxidants, vitamins can be antioxidants, and phytonutrients such as carotenoids are antioxidants as well.

Carotenoids not only fight free radical damage in the body, but also help to keep your skin looking smooth, young and wrinkle-free.

Recent studies have shown that many common foods have some antioxidant abilities, but most antioxidants are found primarily in brightly colored fruits, vegetables and some types of fish. For example, salmon is pink because it contains the antioxidant astaxanthin, which comes from the blue-green algae they eat.

Antioxidants are work best when eaten with assortment of other antioxidants. Antioxidants work together and can actually be synergistic: Two or three antioxidants can have a combined effect greater than the sum of the individual antioxidants.

This is one of the reason why eating a diet of many different brightly colored fruits and vegetables is important. You cannot get the variety of antioxidants that you would get from eating brightly colored fresh organic produce from a bottle of vitamins.

Astaxanthin – Astaxanthin can be thought of as one of the primary anti-aging antioxidants. Its positive health benefits affect all areas of the body to fight aging. One of the most significant anti-aging benefits is at the cellular level. Astaxanthin has been proven to protect the cells from oxidative stress, and protect DNA, while increasing cellular energy.

Astaxanthin’s powerful antioxidant activity can target specific health conditions and fight accelerated aging of internal organs and tissues. Astaxanthin is highly protective of the brain and nerve cells, which are very sensitive to the ravages of oxidative stress.

Astaxanthin has also been proven effective at preventing cataracts, ulcers, and the additional stress of oxidative damage from diabetes. It is known to prevent many different types of cancers and well as boosting immune function significantly.

The best sources of natural astaxanthin are shellfish, wild salmon, trout, and Krill Oil. I personally take krill oil daily to make sure I get ample amounts of anti-aging astaxanthin since I don’t necessarily eat shellfish or salmon every single day.

Anthocyanins - Another type of powerful antioxidants that help reduce inflammation by inhibiting production of certain inflammatory chemicals. These compounds contribute to the health of connective tissue in our skin and muscles, and are even more powerful than vitamin C for fighting the free radicals that irritate body tissues and cause inflammation. Anthocyanins in foods can be identified usually by their dark red, purple or blue colors. Some of the best foods for anthocyanins include cherries, blackberries, blueberries, eggplant, elderberries, raspberries, red and black grapes, strawberries, and plums.

Beta carotene – A precursor to vitamin A that is found in egg yolk, spinach, carrots, squash, broccoli, yams, tomato, cantaloupe, peaches, pumpkin, and many types of peppers. Beta-carotene also makes its way into skin cells in your body and protects your skin from UV damage from the inside out!

Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body. Although beta carotene is an effective antioxidant, vitamin A is not, and can be toxic to the body when taken as a supplement in too high of doses. Beta-carotene from natural foods on the other hand, could never be ingested in too high of quantities as your body simply shuts down the conversion to vitamin A when the body has what it needs.

Lycopene – This antioxidant is found in red fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, red bell pepper and watermelon. Lycopene’s potency actually increases with cooking, so tomato sauce and tomato paste have higher amounts of lycopene than fresh tomatoes. Lycopene can also boost levels of procollagen in the skin, which suggests that it helps reverse or slow the aging process.

Polyphenols – Green, white, and oolong tea contain antioxidants called polyphenols that boost the ability of skin to protect itself from the sun. Drinking 2-4 cups of green tea a day will have major antioxidant and skin-protecting benefits. Dark chocolate (greater than 70-75% cacao content) contains a rich supply of polyphenols as well.

Selenium – This trace mineral is required for proper function of the body's antioxidant enzyme systems, as well protecting the thyroid’s function. Selenium also helps support high levels of glutathione. Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, and just a few of these will supply you with the necessary amount needed in a day. Note that brazil nuts are the highest known food source of selenium and I’ve seen some sources suggest you could overdose on selenium by eating too many brazil nuts too often. Eating 2-4 Brazil nuts a day is great, but beware of eating an entire bag as you could get too large of a dose of selenium.

Vitamin C – This powerful antioxidant is a water-soluble vitamin found in citrus fruits, green peppers, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, kale, cantaloupe, kiwi, and strawberries.

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) – This powerful antioxidant protects cells and preserves cell energy. Studies showed alpha lipoic acid rejuvenates and replaces damaged and aging mitochondria, the powerhouse and generator of energy of our cells. It also helps to restore levels of glutathione levels, one of the most powerful and protective antioxidant and detoxification compound, to those of a younger person. ALA also improves body composition and lean muscle mass, glucose tolerance, energy, and helps boost levels of Glutathione.

ALA is also a powerful blood-sugar controlling substance, which works great in conjunction with cinnamon and several other herbs/spices to significantly control blood sugar response from meals, and thereby support fat loss efforts as well as reducing production of AGEs inside your body. In the past, I personally sourced cinnamon capsules, ALA capsules, and fenugreek caps separately, but I recently started using a powerful synergistic blend of blood sugar controlling herbal ingredients including cinnamon, ALA, fenugreek, and two other ingredients already combined into one product called IC5.

Glutathione – The most powerful antioxidant in the body. Glutathione is critical to help the immune system fight infections and prevent cancer. As you age, your body loses the ability to get rid of toxins effectively, leaving you more susceptible to unrestrained cell disintegration from oxidative stress, free radicals, infections and cancer. This happens when the liver gets overloaded and damaged, making it unable to do its job. Toxins actually stick to glutathione, which then carries them out via the digestive system and bowel movements.

Glutathione also helps us reach our peak physical function. Research studies show that raising glutathione levels decreases muscle damage, reduces recovery time, increases strength, and endurance and lean muscle development. The top British medical journal, the Lancet, found that healthy young people had the highest glutathione levels, while healthy elderly people had lower levels, and the sick and hospitalized elderly having the lowest of all.

Glutathione can be found in vegetables containing sulfur such as garlic, onions, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, arugula, watercress, cabbage, etc, or can be taken as a supplement.

Highest Antioxidant Foods to Protect Your Body from Oxidation:
 
Cranberries
Blueberries-especially wild blueberries
Pomegranates
Grapes
Kale (and all other leafy greens)
Blackberries
Prunes
Pecans
Sweet Cherries
Black Plums
Black beans
Spinach
Broccoli
Kiwi
Liver
Egg yolk
Butter (only grass fed)
Carrots
Squash
Sweet potatoes
Tomatoes
Peaches
Mangos
Papaya
Quinoa
Acai
Parsley
Cocoa
Sage
Thyme
Basil
Ginger
Tarragon
Elderberries
Peppermint
Artichokes
Red Kidney Beans
Pinto Beans
Currants
Pistachio
Garlic
Cilantro
Raisins/Grapes
Apples
Figs
Gooseberries
Goji Berries
Apricots
Peanuts
Cabbage
Guava
Mangosteen
Red Cabbage
Black Cherries
Asparagus
Pears
Broccoli
Sweet Potato
Oranges
Chives
Cashews
Beets and Beet Greens
Avocados
Arugula
Navy Beans
Radishes
Macadamia Nuts
Russet Potatoes
Grapefruit
Tangerines
Green Leafy Lettuce
Red Onions
Alfalfa Sprouts
Brazil Nuts
Lemons
Green Tea
Red, Yellow and Green Peppers
Portabella and Crimini Mushrooms
Eggplant
Red Rooibos Tea
Chickpeas
Limes
Bananas (occasional due to high sugar)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Shiitake Mushrooms
Peas
Pine Nuts
Leeks
Pineapple
Pumpkin
Squash
Black Tea
Fennel
Cantaloupe
Cucumber

Friday, October 4, 2013

Fats and Inflammation...What You Need To Know

Once thought of as healthy, polyunsaturated oils like safflower, cottonseed, sunflower, corn, peanut and soy, are primarily made up of omega-6 fatty acids. Our diets have an overabundance of omega 6 fats, which creates an unhealthy imbalance. Without enough omega 3 fatty acids to hold omega 6 fats in the proper ratio, the body turns the omega 6 fats into excess arachidonic acid, which is highly inflammatory.

The proper balance of omega 6 fats to omega 3 fats is about 2:1 or 1:1. Unfortunately, most diets (heavy in grains, vegetable oils and grain-fed meat) are out of balance with regard to omega 6 and omega 3 fats. A standard diet often has a ratio of about 20:1, omega 6’s to omega 3’s. A diet this heavy in omega 6 fats increases inflammation in the body.


Unnatural fats and hydrogenated fats, like trans fats, create free radicals that damage healthy cells and trigger inflammation. Trans fats are made by subjecting oils that are highly polyunsaturated to extreme high heat and pressure --to a point where there is a change in its chemical structure making the oil more oxidized and more inflammatory. Then extra hydrogen atoms are added to make it more stable for food preservation. Also, industrial solvents such as hexane are used to extract the last amounts of oil from the soybean or cottonseed, which adds to the inflammatory characteristics of the oil.


While artificial trans fats look chemically similar to their natural fat counterparts, they are far from natural. Eating these types of fats becomes an inflammatory disaster.
These unhealthy trans fats compete with omega 3 fats in our cell membrane (which is made up of fatty acids). When the cell membrane is made up primarily of omega 6 fats and trans fats, the membrane actually becomes less resilient and brittle, which limits the exchange of nutrients. This poorly structured cell cannot fight dangerous invaders effectively, and eventually weakens and dies, often allowing dangerous pathogens to reproduce, unchecked in the body.


Both trans fats and excess omega 6 fats encourage the storage of body fat, especially in the abdomen. Excess belly fat, which can be measured as a waist size of 35 inches or more for a woman and 40 inches or more for a man, means higher levels of inflammation, since abdominal fat produces inflammatory chemicals in the body.


A diet heavy in omega 6 fatty acids actually increases wrinkling and aging of the skin as well leading to more cancerous changes from exposure to the sun. In test subjects, dietary omega 6 fatty acids increased levels of PGE(2), an inflammatory messenger chemical that promoted the growth of pre-cancerous and cancerous skin cell changes.


Fortunately there are several anti-inflammatory fats, which are highly effective in helping our bodies stay younger and fight the effects of aging and inflammation.
Omega-3 fats can include alpha linolenic acids (from flaxseeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, walnuts and dark green leafy vegetables). ALA’s are a short chain fatty acid that should be converted into the important long chain omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA. For many people on plant based (meatless) diets, the conversion rate is very low, which is why if one chooses to be vegan or vegetarian, at least supplementing with fish oil can be very important.


The anti-inflammatory properties of EPA have been studied at length and proven to fight inflammation and a variety of health issues from depression, to heart disease and cancer.
EPA or Eicosapentaenoic acid is a long chain omega 3 fatty acid found in oily, cold water fish and grass fed meats. It is important to note that grain fed meat and farm-raised fish contain primarily omega-6 fats, and wild-caught fish and grass fed meat contain much higher amounts of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats.


DHA or Docosahexaenoic acid is another omega 3 fat found in fatty fish and grass fed meats. It is the primary omega 3 fatty acid in the brain and eyes, so an adequate supply of this essential fat is necessary for brain, nerve and eye function. Low levels of DHA are often tied to Alzheimer’s, dementia and other mental illnesses.

MUFA’s 

Monounsaturated oils like extra-virgin olive oil, oil from most nuts, avocados, and coconuts are rich in polyphenols and antioxidants that fight inflammation.
The anti-inflammatory strength of olive oil rests on its polyphenols. Its anti-inflammatory compounds contain nine different types of polyphenols and more than twenty other anti-inflammatory nutrients. Monounsaturated polyphenols, like those in olive oil, are powerful inhibitors of inflammation.


These oils decrease the production of messaging molecules that signal to increase inflammation. They also contain enzymes that block the action of pro-inflammatory substances in the body. Olive oil especially is known to significantly lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), which is a standard medical laboratory test for inflammation—especially in the blood vessels and is a good predictor of heart attacks.


The most effective monounsaturated oils are ‘virgin’ oils meaning they are cold pressed and not heat processed. Heat destroys some of the valuable polyphenols and other nutrients in the oils.
Using monounsaturated fats to control inflammation does not require a large amount. As little as 1 or 2 Tablespoons a day are associated with significant anti-inflammatory benefits. When it comes to extra virgin olive oil, remember that it’s not a great idea to cook with that under high heat. Low to medium heat is okay, but high heat degrades some of the health benefits of olive oil.
Anti-Aging, Anti-Inflammatory Foods, Spices, and Nutrients


Certain spices, herbs and teas contain some very powerful compounds that fight inflammation. Some of the most powerful anti-inflammatory phytochemicals are in these herbs and spices: 


Turmeric, Basil, Thyme, Cloves, Oregano, Sage, Rosemary, Ginger, Cinnamon, Chili Pepper and cayenne.

Some of the spiciest anti-inflammatory additions to a meal are hot peppers--including jalapeños, habeneros, and cayenne peppers. Chili peppers of all types include capsaicin (the hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin it contains), which is a potent inhibitor of a substance in the body associated with inflammation. Capsaicin also helps to raise metabolism and burn fat as well.


Green, white, oolong, and rooibos tea contain potent catechins, bioflavonoids and polyphenols that reduce inflammation and limit free radical production. Drinking 2 cups of these kinds of tea a day can reduce inflammation significantly, as well as adding powerful antioxidants that fight aging and disease.


Collagen is a structural part of skin, membranes and connective tissue in the body. It is a fibrous protein found in skin, bone, cartilage, lung tissue, blood vessels, tendons, and other tissues. Collagen forms a structure under the skin that supports the lower layers of skin. As we age, this connective tissue begins to degrade and the cellular proteins begin to clump together. This process causes wrinkling and sagging skin.


Collagen has been shown to reduce damage to joints, as well as reducing joint pain, tenderness and swelling. A Harvard Medical School study done on the effects of collagen and its ability to reduce inflammation and pain (Dr C Searling, Fresco CA), proved that collagen had very positive benefits in reducing oxidative damage to joints, and reducing pain, tenderness and swelling.


Collagen consists of 15% glucosamine and 15% chondroitin sulphate - two substances that are well known for their beneficial anti-inflammatory properties, particularly in joints. Bone broth and chicken feet contain large amounts of valuable collagen, and including the collagen from these rich sources in the diet can protect your joints as well as your skin. Simmering bones or organic chicken feet to make a delicious broth will help supply you with high quality collagen in your diet.


Vitamin C is one of the nutrients responsible rebuilding and maintaining collagen. And, research suggests that people who don’t get enough vitamin C may have a greater risk of developing arthritis.
Just one more good reason to include vitamin C-rich foods — such as guava, bell peppers (yellow, red, orange, and green), oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, strawberries, pineapple, broccoli, tomatoes, kiwi, and cauliflower — as a part of your daily diet. 


Foods High in Anti-Inflammatory Fats (use a variety for max benefit)

Salmon
Sardines
Anchovies
Halibut
Mackerel
Tuna
Grass fed Meats
Free range, organic eggs
Walnuts
Almonds
Cashews
Pecans
Brazil Nuts (limit to only 3-4 a day to prevent getting too much selenium)
Pistachios
Avocados
Coconut
Macadamia Nuts
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Flaxseeds
Chia Seeds
Hemp Seeds
Coconut oil
Anti-Inflammatory Herbs, Spices, Teas (use a variety for max benefit)
Green, oolong, white, and black tea
Red rooibos tea (highest antioxidants of all teas)
Herbal teas
Cloves
Turmeric, Curry
Ginger
Garlic
Rosemary
Cayenne
Cilantro
Parsley
Cinnamon

Rosemary
Basil
Cardamom
Chives
Cilantro
Misc. Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Chocolate (70-75% or more cacao to reduce sugar and maximize antioxidants)
Red or black Grapes
Kelp
Shiitake mushrooms (and all other mushrooms)
Papaya
Pineapple
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Cauliflower
Blueberries
Jalapeño Pepper
Habenero Pepper
Banana Pepper
Chili Peppers
Broth from Chicken Feet
Bone Broth (often forgotten superfood)