Read the other parts in the series:
We have all heard the old adage, "you are what you eat." With that in mind, I would like to expand on that adage to include, "you also look how you eat!" I have been lucky enough to witness the "before" and "after" changes that take place when people take charge and clean up their diet. When this happens, there is a certain "sparkle" and radiance that only comes from health and wellness.
With that in mind, part 3 of the springtime cleansing series focuses on moisturizing hair and skin naturally. When thinking of moisturizing, most of us conjure up an image of creams for youthful looking skin and conditioners for soft hair. However, the type of moisturizing I am referring to is an internal process that involves food and supplements. What are the foods that can help you look 10 years younger? Read on to find out!
Essential for your health
When it comes to fat, there are good fats and bad fats. The bad fats that should be eliminated from the diet are chemically-created fats called trans fatty acids (also known as partially hydrogenated fats). While food manufactures tend to like these fats because they extend product shelf life and are very stable, our body does not like them at all. In fact, these fats can raise cholesterol, create havoc on arteries and may even be linked to certain cancers. In other words -- keep them out of your diet completely.
Other types of fats to minimize due to their pro-inflammatory reaction in the body are saturated fats such as those found in full-fat cheeses, ice cream and red meat. Eat these foods on occasion, not as staples of the diet.
The fats that are a must to moisturize skin, hair and nails from the inside out are called essential fatty acids. These fats cannot be made by the body and must be consumed through diet. Specifically, the essential fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid or omega 3 essential fat has been shown to have numerous health benefits including:
• reducing inflammation
• reducing risk of heart disease
• lowering cholesterol
• improving mood and attention
• improving skin
Unfortunately, most North Americans are chronically deficient in this "good" fat. While the ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fat is approximately 1:1, most of us have a ratio between 20:1 and 30:1.
Omega 3 sources
Omega-3 fat is available in several food sources, such as flaxseed oil, flaxseeds, cold-water fish (tuna and salmon), omega-3 eggs, nuts (almonds, walnuts) and seeds. However, it is often difficult to consume enough food sources to receive an ideal amount of omega-3. In addition, the safety of eating fish such as salmon and tuna has come under investigation recently. Although fish is a wonderful source of protein, selenium, vitamin D and omega-3 essential fat, the level of toxicity showing in up our waters and fish is disconcerting. For example, Health Canada has recently set guidelines on the limits of white albacore tuna that should be eaten due to high mercury levels. This does not mean that tuna needs to be eliminated from the diet, but it should not be overly consumed. For more information, click here. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
In addition to eating omega 3 rich foods, a daily supplement of distilled fish oil is also advisable.
Tips to boost your omega 3 intake and improve your skin
• Sprinkle some walnuts on your salad or put almonds in your morning yogurt
• Purchase omega 3 eggs instead of regular egg. Omega 3 eggs contain approximately 300 mg of omega 3
• Supplement with a fish oil daily
• Eat fish twice per week
• Use 1 tsp of flaxseed oil in your morning shake -- store oil in fridge
When it comes to these healthy fats, think "sprinkling." Fats have more than twice the calories of proteins and carbohydrates and do not need to be eaten in the same quantity.
Stay tuned for part 4, the final step in the spring cleaning series. It has nothing to do with what you eat -- but how you eat!
Dr. Joey Shulman is the author of the national best seller The Natural Makeover Diet (Wiley, 2006). For more information, visit www.drjoey.com