October 8th, 2012 by Tonya Zavasta
Take a diet. Any diet. Most of us have tried a few in the past. Can you think of one food group that every diet, without exception, recommends? You guessed it—vegetables. Some diets may even prohibit fruit, but you’ll always find vegetables in the mix. And the more, the better.
In the vegetable kingdom, one variety stands out as the most potent health elixir: dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, chard, lettuce, arugula, mustard and collard greens, dandelion greens, beet leaves, carrot tops, and their cousins. Low in calories, fat-free, high in fiber—no wonder these leafy greens make it into every diet. Read the rest of this entry »
September 24th, 2012 by Tonya Zavasta
Insulin-Like Growth Factor and Aging
Many bodybuilding websites advise you to combine two hormones—IGF-1 and HGH—in supplement formulas. It’s the kind of advice a fair number of bodybuilders seem to go for—anything to give them the extra edge.
But is that a good idea? Let’s look at what these hormones are. Throughout life, HGH (human growth hormone) comes from the pituitary gland, whence it’s whisked throughout the entire body. The amount of HGH released declines with age. IGF-1 (Insulin-Like Growth Factor) is produced in the liver and works with HGH in an important way. In effect, HGH stimulates the need for growth, stimulating anabolic activity throughout the body, and IGF-1 carries out the growth—especially muscle growth. Indeed, both HGH and IGF-1 prove essential to muscle growth—the bodybuilder’s goal.
But there’s a catch. Lots of scientific data indicate that high levels of HGH and IGF-1 will decidedly age you.
Lower levels of IGF-1 protect against aging and certain types of cancer. When IGF-1 levels are low, new cell production slows allowing the body to concentrate on repairing existing cells. When IGF-1 levels are high, this signals the body to enter a ‘go, go, go’ mode, causing cells to grow and age too fast to be repaired. The result: accelerated aging. Read the rest of this entry »
September 21st, 2012 by Tonya Zavasta
It is a part of the design of your skin that it has small openings on its surface, called pores, leading into sebaceous glands that secrete oil for skin protection and lubrication. Most skin pores are barely noticeable to the naked eye, and we pay them little attention. Except, that is, when we see them staring back at us in the mirror like so many moon craters. In my late thirties, I used to have this very problem. No more.
What Causes Pores to Enlarge?
While it’s commonly accepted that pore size is genetically determined, several other factors most likely contribute. Hormone imbalance may play a role in excessive oil production, promoting pore enlargement. As skin ages and loses collagen, pores become larger, continually trapping more and more dead skin cells along with oils, which plug and stretch the pores even more—a vicious circle. Enlarged pores almost always go along with an oily skin problem. The odds of having dilated pores are not in your favor if you struggled with acne as a teenager and attacked the problem with your bare hands. Sun damage to the skin can also factor into pores becoming more visible. Read the rest of this entry »
August 28th, 2012 by Tonya Zavasta
I received this email from a reader:
At age 52, I have been using Copper Peptides for almost one year and added Retin A, two months ago…. I don’t believe in store or commercially bought anti-aging products anymore, but find the research and track record of Retin A and the seeming trustworthiness of Dr. Pickart (CP’s) hard to resist. Both claim to “remodel” skin, and I wonder whether I’d be missing out, long term, not to use them. What do you think?
Nowadays many women, like my reader above, are reaching for the latest discoveries such as Copper Peptides and Retin-A, two patented products promising unique, unrivaled benefits. Retin A chemically exfoliates, while copper peptides assist in wound healing and recovery. Both promise to “remodel” your skin, and they do—after a fashion. But once you understand the science behind it, you’ll see there are easier, cheaper, and healthier ways to do the same job. How do I know? Because I’ve been doing it for the last fifteen years with great results.
What is Retin A?
Let’s take a more careful look. As the product’s name suggests, it is a retinoid, a chemical compound derived from Vitamin A, and is only available by prescription. This by itself sends up red flags for me. Read the rest of this entry »
August 16th, 2012 by Tonya Zavasta
Flakes! You’ve seen them, either on your own head and shoulders, or on someone else’s. They’re skin flakes, to be exact. Big, white, fluffy, clingy. If you’ve ever had dandruff yourself, you’ve hated seeing those flakes fly as you comb your hair. And you remember the itchy, irritated scalp that came with the deal. Dandruff knows no cultural, ethnic, or territorial borders, and seems to affect about one 1 out of 5 people in the world.
What Causes your Scalp to Shed More Skin Cells than Normal?
One of the causes of dandruff is overgrowth of yeast-like fungi. Our scalp, like the rest of our skin, hosts panoply of fungi and bacteria which feed on skin oil (called ‘sebum’). Normally, these wee beasties live in a state of symbiosis with us, and don’t cause us much trouble. But when things get out of whack…that’s when dandruff (or worse) befalls us. Read the rest of this entry »
August 11th, 2012 by Tonya Zavasta
Dr. Hauschka’s is one company whose products and methods are very popular with health-seeking, beauty conscious people. A number of years ago, I used and recommended their cosmetics myself. Recently one of my readers pointed out some differences in our approaches to skin care. Her email prompted me to review carefully Dr. Hauschka’s famous “7 facts that will change your skin.”
Hauschka’s philosophy differs slightly from mine. (Or shall we say mine differs from his? After all, he’s the doctor!) I don’t disagree in every respect, but there are a few tenets that I feel compelled to challenge. Read the rest of this entry »
August 5th, 2012 by Tonya Zavasta
H2 blockers…proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)…antacids…The last one, at least, surely sounds familiar. Everyone’s popped a Tums or a Rolaids tablet, or their generic equivalents, at one time or another. Not a night of television goes by without an ad for antacid liquid or tablets—pumped by manufacturers as quicker acting and more soothing than the next. Whether you call it heartburn, acid indigestion, or acid reflux, it’s a disorder which every sufferer shares with fully a third of the U.S. population. Read the rest of this entry »
August 3rd, 2012 by Tonya Zavasta
One reader unsubscribed from my newsletter and provided the following comment:
Raw food is very bad for people with a ‘damp’ condition in Chinese medicine and I don’t think it should be promoted across the board as if it is good for everyone. My stomach likes warm food, I have learned, so I have been eating the worst food possible—that is, raw!—for my condition. Read the rest of this entry »
July 19th, 2012 by Tonya Zavasta
Everyone fears, at some level, the prospect of afflictions such as Alzheimer’s and senile dementia. Can healthy eating head off or delay such disorders? Then, quite apart from these dreads, there’s a parallel question: What might diet do to improve our thinking now?
Read the rest of this entry »
July 7th, 2012 by Tonya Zavasta
What gives hair that frizzy look? The part of your hair that you see—the shaft—consists of three layers. The outer layer is called the cuticle. It’s transparent, and under magnification looks like tiny overlapping fish scales. When the scales lie flat, hair looks healthy, normal, shiny. When the scales don’t lie flat, you get “frizzy hair,” and your hair loses its shine, takes on that dull, lifeless look.
It’s not just a matter of looks. The function of hair’s outer cuticle layer is to protect the soft middle layer, the cortex. When the cuticle’s scales get ruffled…no protection! This may lead to split ends over time, a condition called trichoptilosis.
Some ends can actually split into several pieces, even break off easily. Neglect them a while longer, and those split ends will migrate up the length of your hair shaft toward the roots, damaging the entire hair length, leaving you with just one option—cutting all that damaged hair off!
Why does hair get frizzy? There are several causes. Here are the major ones: Read the rest of this entry »