Understanding Fats in Our Foods

Fats are vital to good health and we should take in a variety on a daily basis for our body to function effectively. It’s an essential nutrient for utilizing the fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K). Furthermore, our diet contains fat that assists with the development and growth of the brain as well as the skin, nerve function, and bone structure.  They also act as security and a cushion for the vital organs of the body. However, not all fats are identical or offer comparable health and wellness advantages. Food consisting of them have a differing combination of saturated, monounsaturated as well as polyunsaturated.

Whether the fats you consume are liquids such as oil, or solids such as margarine, they end up being broken down by your body and transformed into fatty acids and glycerol. The human body takes these and converts other lipids in the body. The remaining lipids are stored as a triglyceride.

Differentiating between saturated fats, trans fats or unsaturated fats?

Good-Fats-Vs-Bad-FatsFats  are classified as either saturated or unsaturated. This is determined by the number of hydrogen atoms connected to each carbon in their chemical chains. The more hydrogens connected to the chain, the more saturated the fat is. Should there be hydrogen atoms missing, the fatty acid is referred to as unsaturated.

Saturated Fats

Saturated fat is related to causing the liver to produce more cholesterol in addition to LDL cholesterol.

Food Sources: Meats, Butter, Whole milk, Poultry, Coconut oil, Palm oil

Unsaturated Fats

There are two categories of unsaturated fats; monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated are regarded as being the healthier and more useful as opposed to saturated fats or trans fats. Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) are related to reduced LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, but concurrently raising the production of the “good” cholesterol, HDL cholesterol. Fats in this category normally are in liquid form and at room temperature.

Food Sources: Sunflower oil, Canola oil, Olive oil, Peanut oil, Hazelnuts, Macadamia nuts, Avocados

Polyunsaturated fatty acids

This type of fat activates lower blood/ serum cholesterol in addition to lower levels of LDL production. Interestingly, these fatty acids tend to reduce HDL production. Similar to monounsaturated fats, they can be found as liquids at room temperature.

Food Sources: Flaxseed oil, Corn oil, Sesame oil, Sunflower seeds and sunflower oil, Fatty fish, i.e. Salmon, Walnuts

Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids

Omega-3s are specific polyunsaturated fatty acids found in meat sources. In non-meat sources, our bodies’ process alpha-linolenic acid into usable omega-3s. This fat is to be specifically healthy and beneficial the body due to the fact of their linkage with enhancing the immune process, rheumatoid arthritis, vision, brain function, and heart health. They’ve are known to reduce both triglyceride and total cholesterol levels. Most experts recommend the consumption of foods rich in omega-3s on a daily basis.

Food Sources: Seafood including High fat mackerel, albacore tuna, sardines, salmon, lake trout

Seed, Nut, Vegetable, and other Oil Sources: Flaxseed oil, Walnuts, Pumpkin seeds, Peanuts Soybean oil, Canola oil, kale, spinach, brussel sprouts, watercress and parsley

Vegetable oils offering Omega-6 fatty acids

Omega 6 rich foods also fall into the category of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Omega 6 fatty acids are identified with lowering heart disease risk by reducing LDL cholesterol levels. Likewise, they’ve been known to also reduce HDL levels.

Food Sources: Most vegetable oils, Sunflower seeds, Pine Nuts, Trans Fats

Trans Fats

Trans-fats are those we must avoid. Manufacturers use trans-fats to prolong the shelf life of foods such as breads, cookies, crackers, chips and other processed foods. Trans fats include hydrogen in their chemical makeup. Hydrogen causes the fat in the food to be firmer and more saturated, this causes a postponing of the rancidity and prolongs freshness. The adverse effect is that the hydrogens cause the food to become more saturated and hydrogenated resulting in trans fats. This additive is cheap – which is why manufacturers use it. But it is also very unhealthy.

Avoid trans fats! If we all stop buying food laden with trans fats, manufacturers will have to rethink and will have no choice but to start producing healthier foods for our families. Read labels on packaged foods to ensure they are free of transfats. Stay healthy.

 

The Beauty of Beta-Carotene

You’ll notice that beta-carotene is one of the ingredients in our Ultimate Age-Proofing Complex (our top moisturizer) and our Beyond CP (nightly serum for oily skin or those with broken capillaries and scars). There are many skin and health benefits of this colorful red-orange pigment, also found in plants, fruits, and colorful vegetables.

Our bodies transform beta-carotene into vitamin A (retinol). Vitamin A can be derived from beta-carotene-rich foods or with supplements. The benefit of the dietary form is that the human body only modifies the amount it requires as needed. Vitamin A in excess quantities can be toxic. Toxic Vitamin A amounts can arise by ingesting a large quantity of the supplement form. If your source is from food, toxicity is preventable. We require Vitamin A for beautiful skin, a healthy immune system and vision, and to produce mucus membranes.

beta-caroteneWhy beta carotene is essential?

Beta-carotene is regarded as an antioxidant and is also a predecessor to vitamin A. This compound promotes healthier skin while is also crucial to the overall health of the lungs, heart and eyes. In fact, beta-carotene consumption can help decrease coronary artery disease, strokes, macular degeneration, and other age-associated conditions.

Other health benefits of beta carotene:

For skin wellbeing, there is proof that beta-carotene, itself or combined with other carotenoids or antioxidant vitamins can safeguard the skin from damaging UVA/UVB sun rays. However, it is always recommended to apply a broad spectrum sun screen daily (snow, rain or shine). I like Evenly Radiant Day Crème. It’s nano-particle-free so it refracts harmful rays away from the skin. Find it at my shop in the sunscreen section.

Studies reveal that eating at least 3-5 servings of veggies and fruits loaded with beta carotene could help reduce lung cancer. See a list of foods below. It is not apparent if these results can be associated to beta-carotene by itself. For heart health, a variety scientific research studies have connected high blood levels of dietary beta-carotene and alternative carotenoids with a reduced danger of developing illnesses which affect the heart or blood vessels.

For eye health, research indicates that foods containing high levels of beta-carotene and other carotenoids could assist in reducing the advancement of age-associated macular degeneration (degradation of the macula, a portion of the retina responsible for central vision) and cataracts (which cause the eye lens to cloud) leading to loss or reduction of vision if untreated. Also be sure to wear polarized sun glasses to help prevent the onset of cataracts.

For a healthy immune system myriad scientific studies note that beta-carotene and carotenoids, can help prevent some infections.

Which foods are rich in beta-carotene?

Apricots, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, kale, Chinese cabbage, chives, dandelion leaves, grapefruit, sweet potatoes, ketchup, onions, peas, peppers, plums, pumpkin, spinach, squash, herbs and spices including chili powder, oregano, paprika, parsley.

Bacopa and Slowing Aging, Brain Fog & Dementia

How to Slow Aging, Brain Fog & Dementia
According to a report from Life Extension, “it’s estimated that 75%-90% of visits to primary care physicians are now related to the effects of stress”. According to the report, stress shortens telomeres (the caps on the ends of chromosomes). Shortened telomeres are linked to accelerated aging, brain fog and dementia!!
bacopa-extract-powderIf you are challenged with stress or adrenal exhaustion, you may also be experiencing irritation or frequent “melt downs”. Taking oral supplements such as natural adaptogens can help to greatly relieve the effects of stress, calm the mood and prevent stress-related weight gain. I’ve noted many adaptogens in my book, “AGE-PROOF: Beauty Alternatives You Need to Know” such as 5-HTP, gaba and a few others.  But recently, I uncovered another highly effective adaptogen called Bacopa Extract that can not only help relieve stress, it can do many marvelous things as noted below.
Bocopa contains brain-repairing neurons called saponins. Researchers reveal that Bacopa can enhance memory, recall ability and concentration. It may even help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Studies in the USA report that a small dose of Bacopa (approx.. 450 mg daily) for 12 weeks improved information recall, agility, alertness and enhanced the ability to grasp information and skills more quickly. It has also been proven to reduce depression, stress and anxiety. A 12 week study conducted in Australia, revealed that subjects taking Bacopa scored higher results on cognitive tests and memorization skills. In many countries, Bacopa is used to treat stress, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, attention deficit disorder, Alzheimers and mental deficiency.
If you have any of these issues be sure to check with your health care practitioner before using Bacopa. The brand I have tried as a de-stresser is by Planetary Herbals®. You can get it at Nutritional Warehouse in Venice, CA. and select health food stores.

Facts about Calcium

What is calcium?

You’ve heard about it since you were a youngster. All the milk ads are load with comments about calcium. But do you really know what it is?

It’s a mineral that can be found in tons of foods but is has multiple functions.  Virtually all the calcium in the body is stored in your teeth and bones. Why, structure and foundation! We’ve heard all the conversation about “calcium building strong bodies and calcium for bones!”

Calcium uses in the human body

Did you realize that calcium is needed by the human body to help your muscle movement? Your nerves require it to help transport messages to the brain so it can communicate with other parts of the body.

It also plays a very important role in the human body’s transportation system, the blood vessels. It plays an integral in the movement of blood through the blood vessels (veins, arteries, and capillaries) and to facilitate the release of hormones and enzymes which play an important role in all aspects of the human body. It’s also essential to bone health, cardiovascular health, muscle maintenance, circulatory health, and blood clotting.

Calcium, the most abundant mineral in the body, is found in some foods, added to others, available as

Foods containing calcium

Foods containing calcium

a dietary supplement, and present in some medicines (such as antacids). It is required for vascular contraction and vasodilation, muscle function, nerve transmission, intracellular signaling and hormonal secretion, though less than 1% of total body calcium is needed to support these critical metabolic functions

Calcium foods

Foods are a major source of calcium and they come in some of everyone’s favorite foods. Some of these include:

  1. Milk, yogurt, and cheese are the primary food sources of calcium
  2. Calcium rich vegetables include kale, broccoli, and chinese cabbage
  3. Fish having soft bones like canned sardines and salmon
  4. Grains (like breads, pastas, and unfortified cereals), even though they aren’t loaded with calcium can help to add enough calcium to the diet because of the quantity they are consumed.
  5. How about breakfast cereals? Breakfast cereals, fruit juices, soy and rice beverages, and tofu all have it.
  6. Here are some other calcium foods and vegetables with calcium: almonds, blackstrap molasses, broccoli, enriched soy and rice milk products, figs, and soybeans.

What are the best calcium supplements?

If you don’t get enough calcium in your diet you must turn to calcium supplements. Calcium carbonate is the most common supplement and needs to be taken with food. Why? Because the only way the human body can break down calcium so it can be used in the body is through using hydrochloric acid which your stomach releases during the digestive process.

Many individuals opt to take another form of calcium supplement referred to as calcium chelate. This supplement is already to bound with an acid and can be consumed at any time of the day.

There are also other dietary supplements which provide only calcium or calcium with other nutrients like vitamin D.

You’re probably familiar with a couple highly recognized calcium dietary supplements called carbonate and citrate. If you’ve had acid reflux or acid indigestion you’ve taken calcium carbonate in Tums and Rolaids.

Calcium citrate is commonly suggested for people over age 50 and is absorbed well on an empty or a full stomach. The main reason for this is low levels of stomach acid which happens to be a common problems for people older than 50. Plus, older people absorb calcium citrate more easily than calcium carbonate.

But here are some additional types of calcium in supplements and fortified foods including  gluconate, lactate, and phosphate.

So what happens if I don’t get the daily recommended dose of calcium?

Initially, you won’t realize that a calcium deficiency is occurring. But gradually, calcium below recommended levels create health problems like low bone mass (osteopenia) and increasing the risks of osteoporosis and bone fractures.

If you’ve got these symptoms, you should immediately contact your physician: numbness and tingling in the fingers, convulsions, and abnormal heart rhythms that can lead to death if not corrected.

calcium