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Healthy eating is difficult to achieve because we have so many health factors to consider and food choices to make. We know antioxidants are good for us so we want to eat lots of colorful fruits and vegetables because they contain phytochemicals like carotenoids and flavonoids which neutralize the free radicals that cause the age-related degenerative diseases. We know that we may not get all the antioxidants that we need in our food so we take supplements to ensure an adequate supply of antioxidants. But what about the actual food we eat. One of the major problems with our modern diet is that the food we eat is a tasty combination of saturated fats and highly processed and quickly digested carbohydrates. However in the last several years, people have become so concerned about fats in their diet that they have substituted carbohydrates and avoided even the good unsaturated fats in lean meat, olive oil and other plant oils. Now everybody seems to be eating a medium- to high-carbohydrate diet without giving proper attention to the type of carbs that they eat. Not all carbohydrates behave the same in our bodies. We have been told for years to avoid simple carbs like honey and white bread and eat complex carbohydrates that our body doesnít digest and turn to glucose as quickly. However determining whether a food containing carbohydrates is absorbed and raises our blood sugar quickly or slowly is not at all intuitive. Scientists have done a lot of rigorous testing over the past several years and have found that white bread and baked potatoes raise our blood sugar level much faster than honey, jams and chocolate bars. These scientists developed a numerical index called the Glycemic Index or GI to compare the ability of different carbohydrate containing foods to raise the bodyís blood sugar levels ñ or in other words the speed of conversion to glucose. GI values are determined by feeding human subjects who have fasted overnight a fixed amount of the food and then measuring their blood glucose levels at fixed intervals of time. Pure glucose is set at 100 and then other foods are compared to this profile. Testing is time consuming and the tests have to be averaged for a number of individuals. However these studies have yielded some surprising results such as the fact that the starches in rice, bread, potatoes and many types of cereals were absorbed and raised blood sugars very quickly but the sugars in fruit, candy, chocolate and ice cream did not result in prolonged rises in blood sugars. In other words many of the starchy foods had a much higher Glycemic Index than many of the sugary foods. Needless to say these results seem counter intuitive and have caused a lot of controversy in the food industry. The rate of absorption is very dependant on how the carbs are bound up with the food fiber and the particle size. For example less gelatinized products like al dente spaghetti and oatmeal have lower GI values and stone ground flours have lower GI values than finely ground flours. The fibrous coat surrounding beans and seeds stop enzymes from getting at the starchy carbs inside and will slow the digestion of grainy breads, legumes and barley. The acidity of foods also slows down digestion and vinegar, lemon juice, pickles and sourdough bread will result in lower GI meal values. The Glycemic Index is important not only to diabetics but also to non-diabetics because we need to know what foods will keep our blood sugars on an even keel and not raise them too high and then have them plummet down again causing hunger. The slow digestion of low GI foods and the gradual rise and fall in blood-glucose response helps people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels and increase their sensitivity to insulin. Low GI foods will help healthy people delay hunger pangs and promote weight loss in overweight individuals. In addition low GI carbohydrates can reduce blood cholesterol levels and also reduce our risk of heart disease. High blood glucose spikes can result in oxidative stress leading to the formation of plaque that can cause atherosclerosis and even blood clots. So keeping our blood sugar levels fairly level and low seems like what we should be trying to achieve through healthy eating. How do we go about achieving this? The first step is to look at what carbohydrates we are consuming and the GI levels of the meals that we are eating. Then we should try and ensure we have at least one low GI food in each meal to keep the overall meal GI close to 50. Most fats and proteins have no effect on the GI level of our meal because they donít contain carbs. However watch out for saturated fats and too many calories. Letís look at some meals and see what substitutions we could make. The GI values are shown in brackets. Breakfast Cut back on Corn Flakes (92), Rice Krispies (82) and substitute All-Bran (32) or switch to a cereal based on oats, barley or bran. Stop eating white bagels (72), white bread (70) or whole-wheat bread (77) and switch to pumpernickel (50) or sourdough (55). Fruits are mostly low GI foods and surprisingly orange juice (46) is very good. Lunch and Dinner Eat your colored vegetables and make your salad dressings with olive oil and vinegar. Avoid parsnips (97) and substitute pastas like al dente white spaghetti (38), linguini (46) or macaroni (47) for Instant white rice (87) and potatoes ñ baked (85), red-skin peeled and boiled (88). Except for parsnips and potatoes most vegetables have a low GI value. Additional information on GI values can be found at the University of Sydney website http://www.glycemicindex.com/ or in the ìThe New Glucose Revolution: Shopperís Guide to GI Values 2006.An ideal woman is often pictured to be a person with a slender figure with long hair. Hair has always been important for every woman because it somehow reflects their personality. Having long shiny hair can seduce a man, it can land a woman in a shampoo commercial, or get compliments from others. It can reflect a woman’s health and gives an impression that she is healthy, and that she is taking good care of herself. Of course, not all women would want long hair. It depends on their character, the weather, their lifestyle, and so on. Hair has its own life cycle, usually from two to six years of hair growth. Each hair grows at least one centimeter per month. Ninety percent of the hair on the scalp is growing at any given time, while the remaining ten is at its resting phase. Specifically for women with long hair, it is considered normal for them to shed some hair as part of the cycle. Not to worry, since it is normally replaced as it grows back in the same follicle on one’s head. Most people lose about fifty to a hundred of head hair strands a day. If one is losing more than those mentioned, a particular health condition can be seen, which would be hair loss. Also called alopecia, it is basically the excessive hair loss of one person. This specific health condition may arise due to several causes. From three or four months after an illness or a major surgery, the patient may suffer from hair loss. This is usually temporary and is related to the stress of their particular illness. Another cause could arise from hormonal problems, primarily from imbalanced male and female hormones (androgens and estrogens). Pregnancy can also cause hair loss, usually three months after the woman conceived her baby. This is also related to the woman’s hormones, because during pregnancy, high levels of female hormones cause the body to keep hair that normally falls out. When such hormones get back to pre-pregnancy stages, hair falls out and the hair cycle starts normally once again. Certain medications can also cause hair loss, including blood thinners, gout medications, chemotherapy medications, birth control pills, and anti-depressants. Hair treatments, such as hair coloring, bleaching, straightening, perms, and certain hairstyles (braids and cornrows) can also contribute to a person’s hair loss. A condition called traction alopecia is present if a person ties or pulls her/his hair tightly that causes tension on the scalp. This particular condition may be permanent if the hairstyle is worn for a long period of time, long enough to damage the person’s hair follicles. Hair care is important to avoid these hair conditions. By eating a well balanced diet, hair is given its full health benefits. Washing hair gently with shampoo once a day, lathering gently, and not rubbing the hair too much on the towel to dry proves effective in taking care of one’s crowning glory. Avoid the use of hair dryers as much as possible, and style hair when its is dry or damp, not when still wet. Be careful to use certain hair care products as there are chemicals (especially those found in hair coloring or hair straightening treatments), which can also damage the hair.Rushing to Eat Peopleís lives have become so busy and rushing around, that we no longer eat the way we should. In some places, there is a McDonaldís on every major corner, if not some other fast food restaurant. Watching TV, you see a commercial for some kind of food place almost every time commercials are on, urging you to eat there because itís good and you can get it fast and cheap. With so many distractions and obligations, families have these days, how do you eat healthy in a fast food world? Itís not an easy thing to do but is possible with planning and knowing what to look for. This isnít to say fast food canít be consumed occasionally, but it should be less often than people are doing it now. Not to mention that our food is so processed that it takes five minutes to cook and has high carbohydrates among other things that are not digested quickly. This is leading to obesity in the population. The Truth About Whole Grain Because food is so processed these days to make it faster to cook, as well as more convenient for the way our lives have become, it is actually not as good for you as it once was. Recently the food administration even changed the food pyramid to coincide with how we eat these days and food is made. They are suggesting more whole grains than ever before, as well as vegetables. This may sound like what has been told to children for years, but even whole grains are deceiving on packaging these days. With all the new diets out there for low carb, no carb, low fat, no fat, etc., foods are coming out that say whole grain but are just as processed as its white counterpart. They are made with enriched wheat. This process takes out all the nutrients and other things that take time to digest for a healthy life. Reading the ingredient is a good way to find the real whole grain product. They are now more expensive than the over processed product because manufacturers could make the enriched version cheaper and faster. To eat healthy you have to read the labels of everything you consume. Healthy Choices at Fast Food Eateries The truth is that you really canít eat healthy at any fast food restaurant. They arenít designed for those trying or needing to watch what they put in their mouth. But you can make better decisions. Donítí eat the bread if you can stand not too. Itís along the lines of the South Beach Diet but thatís where lots of your weight gaining properties are. Donít get anything fried, this includes French fries, onion rings, or even fried chicken. Get a diet pop, tea, or water. Avoid the desert and the salad, both have sugar in them and I donít just mean in the toppings. Watch ìSuper Size Meî for a real eye opener. The show is on McDonaldís but you can bet that all fast food restaurants are basically the same. Limit how often you eat fast food to once per week, if that fast. Get a wrap at Subway instead of a toasted sub. Less bread and just as filling with all the fixings you want. When you get pizza, get vegetables on it so you arenít just eating bread, sauce, cheese, and pepperoni. Remember just how bad fast food is for you, your waistline, and your cholesterol. Even if you are fifteen, you should be thinking about how it will affect you later in life. Starting early will make it easier on your body as you age. Eating at Home The best thing to do is find a way to cook meals most nights of the week. This can take planning and team work. Have at least one non-meat dish every week. It doesnít have to be fish or seafood either. Donít use fast cooking rich to go with your meals. Those are again loaded with carbohydrates, which take your body longer to break down and will make you hungry sooner than you should be. Plan weekly meals so that you can cook casseroles and other easy to reheat dishes early in the week for days you will not have time to cook. Utilize your crock-pot and get a recipe book for it. You can make just about anything in a crock pot these days and have a good meal when you get home. Have salad a few times a week with dinner, but watch how much dressing you put on it. Have desert, but make it Jell-O. Indulge once in a while to though and it wonít feel like you are depriving yourself of anything.Idebenone (pronounced eedy-be-known), a super antioxidant, is now being used in select anti-aging skin care products. That’s good news for you if you need to get rid of some extra wrinkles that none of us can avoid as we grow older. While idebenone has been known for a long time as a pharmaceutical agent, it has arrived to the realm of skin care only recently. In fact, some skin care companies claim it as a new, cutting-edge discovery. But, can it really benefit your skin? In the 1970s and 1980s, researchers had been studying the potential of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), including its ability to improve heart failure, reduce free radical damage and slow down certain neurological conditions. CoQ10, a vitamin-like natural compound found in all aerobic organisms, plays an important role in cellular energy production and is also an effective antioxidant. Trying to boost CoQ10’s therapeutic effects, scientists synthesized and tested a variety of its chemical analogs and derivatives. Most of these derivatives were found ineffective or unsafe. However, one of the few exceptions was idebenone. It is closely related to CoQ10 in its structure. However, idebnone is more effective than CoQ10 in protecting cells from the free radical damage resulting from reduced blood flow. What does all this have to do with skin care? Recently CoQ10 has been shown to improve skin wrinkles. Not surprisingly, some skin care companies decided that CoQ10 analogs might do a similar or better job. So, they found out that idebenone was also a good anti-wrinkle remedy. It’s important to realize that free radicals that form in the skin in response to the sun’s ultraviolet rays are largely responsible for wrinkling and other signs of aging. To fight these damaging molecules, cosmetic chemists developed this topical antioxidant that’s even more powerful than natural antioxidants such as vitamins C and E. Results of a clinical trial were presented in February 2004 at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology. They wanted to find out which ingredient offered the best protection against free radicals. Well, it was idebenone that finished first against vitamin C, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, kinetin, and alpha-lipoic acid. The benefits of this ingredient include shielding skin from environmental damage, improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and reducing dryness and smoothing skin texture. Antioxidants help protect against the damage caused by free radicals in the environment. Free radicals are unstable compounds that occur naturally in the body and try to stabilize by attaching to the nearest normal cell. This results in a chain-reaction because once the free radical attaches to a healthy cell, it too becomes a free radical in search of stabilization causing cellular damage. Antioxidants, such as idebenone and others, stop this process by donating a molecule to the free radical making it stable. But, you should know that although idebenone is thought of as a wrinkle reducer, it is more of a skin protector. It is a true antiaging phenomena because it blocks the causes of aging and treats its effects. For best results, use it in addition to a broad spectrum sunblock. However, this all comes at a price. This wonderful ingredient is priced at up to $120 an ounce. As you know, nothing known to science will erase all signs of aging, but this formula helps with its ability to decrease collagen breakdown (which means less apparent wrinkles and lines) and reduce inflammation. It’s available in the following lotions: #NAME? -True Cosmetics Youth Revealing Complex. #NAME? #NAME? You can get these products containing idebenone from Dermatologists’ or Plastic Surgeons’ offices, Spas, Fine Salons, or online. Your skin never had it so good!I have been doing push-ups five days a week for over 25 years. My arms are pretty strong but it did not happen overnight. I did not do push-ups for a couple weeks or months and then stopped. I had to make push-ups a habit if I wanted to continuously get the results I have. Exactly the same holds true with healthy eating. You will never be healthy, eating healthy foods occasionally. You have to make healthy eating a habit if you want to obtain nutritional health. People jump on the ìband wagonî of healthy eating when they read books or view websites that talk about nutrition. While many of these books and websites tell you what you should eat in-order to be healthy, they fail to teach you how to make healthy eating a habit. Thus in a short period of time when temptations come, people fall right back into their old unhealthy eating habits. What is a Habit? According to Webster’s dictionary a habit is ìa behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance.î Can you see that if we simply apply this principle to healthy eating we will be on our way to vibrant health? Bad Eating Habits: Bad eating habits do not develop overnight. For most people these habits began forming when they were kids. Thus one reason why many adults have a hard time breaking their bad eating habits is because these habits have been a part of their lifestyle for many years. Why Do We Eat Food? There are two main reasons why we eat food. One is to supply fuel for our body. The other reason is for pleasure. Unfortunately some of the foods that gives us pleasure are unhealthy. Most people make their food selections based on what they see, smell or taste. Look at these three sentences: That pie sure looks good! That pie sure smells good! That pie sure taste good! Notice that all three statements involve food and pleasure. However the food that is producing the pleasure (in this situation the pie) may or may not be good for you from a nutritional standpoint. That is why we need to be wise in our food selections and not simply leave it up to our sense of sight, taste or smell. Eating Healthy Can Be Enjoyable: Some people think of eating healthy as being boring and tasteless. I think that one reason they feel this way is because most of the commercial ads we see promote foods high in calories, fat, or sugar and only a small percentage of food advertising is done for fruits, vegetables, grains and beans. Thus if there was more nutritional education, more and more people would find eating healthy to be pleasurable and tasty. How Healthy Eating Habits Changed My Life: In 1998 my wife finally talked me into going to the doctor to get a check-up. I was not feeling sick but she clearly said that it was a good idea to get a yearly physical examination. Thank God I listened to her. I have been athletic all my life. I run 18 miles a week. So when I went to the doctor I was not expecting to hear the bad news he gave me. He told me I had borderline diabetes. Diabetes can be very dangerous if not treated. It is one of the leading cause of death in the United States. It is a disease of the pancreas that causes the body to stop producing the insulin it needs to regulate blood sugar. My doctor told me that I did not need to be put on medication, however he suggested I start reading some books on healthy eating. That was the beginning of my path to healthy eating habits that turned my health situation around. Today I can honestly say that I am in excellent health. I feel great, I sleep great, people tell me that I do not look my age, I maintain a healthy weight, I do not take any type of medication, my blood pressure is normal, my blood sugar is normal, my cholesterol is normal, my immune system is strong, and the list goes on. It is great to be in good health and I thank God for it. However I do not believe that I am healthy because of chance. I strongly believe that one main reason that I am healthy is because I take personal responsibility for my health. Making healthy eating a habit is a great part of this responsibility. Our physical bodies have laws that are governed by proper nutrition. If we violate these laws by consistently eating unhealthy foods, we are going to get sick.