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Health: Hair, Skin & Nails, Part 2

From our last health post we closed with: While my taste buds may love a big, juicy, well-stacked cheeseburger . . . my body doesn’t. Of course, how can I pass up those delicious chocolate covered cherries that come with the holidays? I’d better pass them up if I want to maintain any kind of health. Pizza, burgers, fried chicken, french fries . . . oh yeah, I crave them, I want them . . . but there are better, tastier alternatives. Foods that are low in saturated fats and completely devoid of trans fats. What are saturated fats? What are trans fats? Why are they bad for you?

And now:

Saturated Fats • For centuries, saturated fats, such as coconut oil, have been a healthy part of the traditional diet. Unfortunately, in the last century, the evolution of the expeller-pressed seed-based vegetables has come to fruition. These saturated fats, which must be heavily refined and then hydrogenated in order to become a solid fat, are a major contributor to the multiple diseases of the heart. In turn, when the heart is affected, there is a chain reaction which manifests itself outwardly.

Healthy saturated fats constitute at least 50% of the cell membrane. They play a vital role in bone health. They enhance the immune system. According to Mary G. Enigh, PhD “Many people recognize that saturated fats are needed for energy, hormone production, cellular membranes and for organ padding. You may be surprised to learn that certain saturated fatty acids are also needed for important signaling and stabilization processes in the body . . . When these important saturated fatty acids are not readily available, certain growth factors in the cells and organs will not be properly aligned. This is because the various receptors, such as G-protein receptors, need to be coupled with lipids in order to provide localization of function . . . Most Westerners consume very little myristic acid because it is provided by coconut oil and dairy fats, both of which we are told to avoid. But myristic acid is a very important fatty acid, which the body uses to stabilize many different proteins, including proteins [needed by] the immune system and to fight tumors.”1

Twenty-five percent of our diet should consist of healthy saturated fats. Contrary to what we have been told in the last twenty years, healthy saturated fats can be found in: coconut oil, palm oil, and butter.

The key to the proper consumption of saturated fats is to maintain their balance as twenty-five percent of your diet rather than indulging in foods such as hamburgers, french fries, onion rings, and the plethora of fast food items which cross our paths every day. If you indulge in a diet rich in saturated fats, you are courting serious heart disease.

Trans Fats • Trans fats were added to foods by manufacturers about twenty years ago when it was found trans fats prolong the shelf life of food products. Foods such as cookies, crackers, icing, potato chips, margarine and microwave popcorn all have trans fats. Trans fats are artificial fats made when hydrogen gas reacts with oil.

Trans fats increase the levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and lower the levels of HDL (good cholesterol). In 2003, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), announced that all manufacturers must list the amount of trans fats in each of their products. Trans fats must be avoided at all costs, for there are no health benefits associated with them. For more information on this, check out the FDA’s website at www.fda.gov.

Trans fats can be identified by checking the labels of your foods, if trans fats are individually specified look for hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated soy bean, canola, cottonseed or other oil.

Fruits, Seeds, Nuts & Vegetables • What can I say about fruits and vegetables that you don’t know? They are critical to our diet. You already knew that. They provide fiber in our diet. Anyone suffering some digestive issues, which is as delicately as I can put it, already knows that fiber is critical to the diet. Five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day are recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This is for good reason. Books could be, and have been, written about the benefits of fruits, seeds, nuts and vegetables in our diet. They are rich in Vitamins A, C, folate and fiber . . . just to name a few. So I will say little more than if you wish to have healthy hair, skin, nails and every other aspect of your body, eat your fruits and vegetables.

Proteins • Without a substantial amount of protein in your diet, your heart will die. Do I need to mention the obvious? If your heart isn’t pumping, you can count on the fact that your hair, skin and nails are not going to be looking their best. I do believe that would be the least of your worries at that point.

But really, what does protein do for human the body? Protein helps to increase lean muscle mass, aids in weight loss, enhances immune function, decreases wasting tissues in numerous diseases and is, as was mentioned before, critical to the function of the heart.

A good balance of protein and carbohydrates is critical to a healthy body. Dr. Barry Sears, PhD, developed The Zone Diet originally. Although many companies have jumped on the band wagon, Dr. Sears philosophy of balancing proteins and carbohydrates has proven highly successful in weight loss and overall body health worldwide.

Carbohydrates • According to the Harvard School of Public Health “Carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet because they provide fuel for the body. Many foods rich in whole-grain carbohydrates are good sources of essential vitamins and minerals.” Carbohydrates are not all good and they are not all bad. They are an important part of the diet because they provide fuel for the body. Carbohydrates can be divided into two categories. High-glycemic Index and Low-glycemic Index. Some examples to help you understand how they are classified are as follows:

HIGH-GLYCEMIC INDEX LOW-GLYCEMIC INDEX
Potatoes, bananas, white bread, white rice, french fries, refined breakfast cereals, white spaghetti, soft drinks, and sugar. Most legumes, whole fruits, whole wheat, oats, bran, brown rice, bulgar, barley, whole grain breakfast cereals, and couscous.

These foods are classified accordingly by the Harvard School of Public Health.

In other words, as you are balancing your proteins with your carbohydrates, lean toward the ones classified in the low-glycemic index.

The Zone Diet • Of all the diets out there, and there are many, the one which makes the most sense is the one with balance. The Zone Diet, developed by Dr. Barry Sears, PhD, as mentioned briefly earlier, is a diet of balance. A perfect balance of protein and carbohydrates. Healthy protein and healthy carbohydrates. You can find more about this diet on Dr. Sear’s website, www.drsears.com, or in the bookstores where you can purchase numerous books on The Zone Diet.

So, what does this all boil down to? Eat well, avoid smoking and alcohol. Eat your fruits and veggies, raw is the most beneficial. Keep your diet balanced. This will be a good starting point to achieving optimum health, which we all know is a good building block for health hair, skin and nails.

Now on to the next step which will enable you have to the kind of hair, skin and nails you desire. Exercise.

Check in next Monday for the next installment in healthy hair, skin and nails, thereby enjoying all over health.


Health: Hair, Skin & Nails, Part 2 Health: Hair, Skin & Nails, Part 2 Reviewed by Candace Salima on Monday, August 11, 2008 Rating: 5