Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid

Dr Weil? Sounds familiar? Yes... he is the man behind the Plantidote Mega-Mushroom series in Origins. Dr Weil also spent time looking at the topic of anti inflammatory food and has even devised a food pyramid to help guide our diets.

Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid - What Is It?
  • It is a practical eating guide that consumers of all ages can use, with tips on how to reduce risks of age-related diseases and improve overall health through diet.
  • It is an interactive educational graphic to help today’s families prevent disease while eating well.
  • It is a simple tool that promotes optimum health and healthy aging by providing dietary advice that addresses inflammation.

“Following an anti-inflammatory diet can help counteract the chronic inflammation that is a root cause of many serious diseases, including those that become more frequent as people age. It is a way of selecting and preparing foods based on science that can help people achieve and maintain optimum health over their lifetime.” - Andrew Weil

What Does An Anti-Inflammatory Diet Do?

The anti-inflammatory diet is a blueprint for a lifetime of optimum nutrition. Simple changes in how you eat can help counteract chronic inflammation, a root cause of many serious diseases, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases
  • Age-related disorders, including many cancers
  • Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Anti-Inflammatory Food

I read briefly that one of acne is that the body is in chronic inflammatory state. Inflammation is good as it is the trigger that helps the body heals. However, if the body is constantly in this inflammatory state, it puts our entire system and skin in hyper mode, which could result in pimples. This is also one of the points arising from Seppo Puusa's first minicourse. Even Dr Andrew Weil talks about the benefits of anti-inflammatory diets.

Before I go deeper in this area of anti-inflammation in future posts. I collated a list of anti-inflammatory food for a start. It is not exhaustive, so it would be a constant quest for the best food to give yourself. I guess it is time we put the 'good' food back into our body. And for once, maybe I will have really clear skin?

Bell Peppers
Bok Choy
Broccoli Sprouts
Brussels Sprouts
Fennel Bulb
Green Beans
Green Onions/Spring Onions
Sweet potatoes
Turnip Greens

Acerola (West Indian) Cherries
Black Currants
Fresh Pineapple

Herbs & Spices
Cayenne Peppers/Chilli Peppers
Cocoa (at least 70% cocoa chocolate)

Nuts & Seeds
Sunflower Seeds

Rainbow Trout
Snapper Fish
Striped Bass

Green Tea

Avocado Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Monday, May 18, 2009

You Are What You Eat - Healthy Diet For Neck Pain

(Another insightful article from Diet and inflammatory food could just be the key to pain management, or even skin conditions?)

The right foods can support the health of the bones, nerves, and connective tissues in your neck. An anti-inflammatory diet may help you avoid diseases like arthritis that can cause neck pain.

Your neck is made up of seven bones called vertebrae that are separated by shock-absorbing cushions called disks. This flexible, gently curved column that holds up your head requires an interconnected support system of muscles, tendons, and nerves. It's no wonder that injury, stress, and the wear and tear of years of activity can result in neck pain.

There is no miracle food or nutrient that can provide neck pain relief, but anything you can do to support the health of the bones, nerves, and connective tissues that make up your neck can help. Researchers who study bone and joint health are learning more about the important role that diet plays in diseases like arthritis and in the process of inflammation.

Diet and Neck Pain Relief: What to Eat

Nature has provided us with wonderful nutrients that promote good skeletal health; science also has contributed.

Omega-3 fatty acids. These acids, found in cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, can actually lower inflammatory chemicals in your body. If you don't like to eat fish, you can take a fish oil supplement. You can also get some omega-3 from flax seeds, walnuts, and leafy green vegetables.

Antioxidants and fiber. You should try to have five servings of vegetables every day, and two to four servings of fruit. These foods are high in fiber and anti-inflammatory antioxidants. Recent studies have shown that fiber, which you can get from beans and grains as well as fruits and vegetables, lowers an indicator of inflammation in your blood called C-reactive protein. One study found that men who ate more fruits and vegetables could lower their C-reactive protein levels by one-third.

Calcium and vitamin D. Since neck pain can be caused by wear and tear of the vertebrae in your neck, it makes sense to keep your bones as healthy as possible, so calcium should be an important part of your nutrition plan. You will also need vitamin D to absorb the calcium you take in. Recommendations for an average adult are 1,000 to 1,500 milligrams of calcium and 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D each day. Many foods are fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Read the nutrition facts panel on your food labels.

Magnesium. Doctors are increasingly recognizing the value of magnesium in skeletal health. If you are not getting enough magnesium, you may be more susceptible to neck pain, muscle tension, and muscle soreness. Magnesium is an essential mineral needed for contraction and relaxation of your muscles. It can be found in fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans, soy, and whole grains. The recommended daily requirement for magnesium for an is about 400 mg for adult males and 320 mg for adult females.

Water. Not getting enough fluids into your body can be a cause of muscle pain. When the body is dehydrated (a condition in which you are losing more water than you are taking in) it can result in an imbalance of the electrolytes and minerals that you need for normal muscle and nerve function

Diet and Neck Pain Relief: What to Avoid

An excellent way to help attain neck pain relief is by reducing the types of foods that cause inflammation.

Arachidonic acid and other saturated fats found in meat and dairy products are building blocks for your body's inflammatory response. So, to reduce inflammation, you'll want to reduce your consumption of meats and high-fat dairy products like butter and cream.

Most processed foods are also high in these fats. Instead of these pro-inflammatory foods, you can substitute other sources of proteins such as: Fish, nuts and beans

You should also know that alcohol and smoking can affect bone health. Alcohol can cause you to lose calcium and magnesium in your urine, and cigarette smoke is damaging to your bones.

Doctors are increasingly recognizing the importance of nutrition in maintaining skeletal health. If you have been suffering with neck pain, get going with a diet that fights inflammation and promotes healthy bones and muscles.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Stopping the Signs of Aging Skin

(Another great article from

Stopping the Signs of Aging Skin
As with most other health issues, you can do a lot to protect yourself when it comes to the your skin health. Learn why sun damage is the real enemy, and how to guard against it.

By Chris Iliades, MD
Medically reviewed by Christine Wilmsen Craig, MD

Just like the rest of your body, your skin ages over time. But much of the visible surface damage, like dryness and lines, comes as a result of sun exposure, which you can protect yourself from. More good news: It’s possible to ease some of these signs of aging in your skin with simple prescription creams.

Aging Skin: Causes and Effects

A variety of factors are to blame for the typical signs of aging skin. These can include:

Sun exposure. "Take a woman with the skin changes that we associate with aging — wrinkles, dryness, age spots — and look at the skin under her arm. That skin is likely to be smooth and clear. The difference is sun exposure," says Steve Feldman, MD, PhD, professor of dermatology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC.

Called photodamage, the effects of sun exposure on your skin are caused by ultraviolet light, and the lighter your complexion, the worse the damage is likely to be. Over time, even a small amount of unprotected sun exposure each day can cause:
  • Age spots. Also called solar lentigines, or liver spots, these dark patches of skin are caused by sun damage. Bigger than freckles, age spots are more common in women with lighter complexions.
  • Spidery veins. As skin ages, especially with sun exposure, you become more prone to the eruption of small blood vessels near the surface of your skin called telangiectasias.
    Leathery texture and dry scaly patches, or actinic keratoses. Aging skin does not retain moisture well. This is due partly to the loss of sweat and oil glands, but sun exposure will also make your skin dry.
  • Gravity and the aging body. A different process causes aging signs like the folds and furrows of sagging skin. Even before you turn 30, the production of collagen and elastin in your body begins to slow down. Collagen is the protein that gives your skin its fullness and elastin is the protein that gives it bounce and elasticity. The effects of gravity and years of making facial expressions begin to leave deep lines and furrows on your skin. (This is why your mother probably told you not to frown.) A prime example is the so-called nasolabial fold that goes from the corner of the nose to the outer corner of the lip on either side of your face. While fillers like Botox can temporarily plump a frown line, deep folds can only be removed by redraping the skin through cosmetic surgery.

The estrogen effect. The biggest difference between men and women's skin comes from the female hormone estrogen. As women get older their estrogen levels fall, and studies show that the loss of estrogen can cause dryness, shrinking, and fine wrinkles.

Smoking. Repeated squinting from smoke helps create a network of fine lines around the eyes, and smoking may also rob skin of nutrients, notably elastin.

Aging Skin: Prevention and Treatment

Your skin does have some ability to repair itself, so no matter your age, it's important to do everything you can to prevent further damage.


  • Use sunscreen every day. If you are going to be in the sun, lather on sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. For everyday protection, choose a moisturizer and/or foundation with an SPF. "The best thing any woman can do for her skin is to use a moisturizer with sunscreen and wear a broad-brimmed hat outside," says Dr. Feldman.
  • Use a rich moisturizer. By keeping the top layer of skin moist, a moisturizer gives you a better base for makeup and prevents the dryness and flaking that can make skin look older.
  • Use a prescription vitamin A cream. The prescription cream tretinoin, a vitamin A formulation, has been approved by the FDA to treat fine wrinkles, roughness, and age spots due to sun damage and aging skin. Tretinoin (Renova, Retin-A Micro) should be used sparingly to avoid irritation; you can relieve any dryness with a moisturizing cream. Because tretinoin accelerates skin turnover, you must protect new skin with sunscreen. (Over-the-counter formulas with other forms of vitamin A, like retinol, do not have the same effect as tretinoin.)
  • Use alpha-hydroxy acids. In concentrations of less than 10 percent, skin care products with these naturally-occurring acids are sold over the counter in creams and lotions. Some studies show they may reduce fine wrinkles.
  • Use hydroquinone. Skin bleaching products containing hydroquinone may be effective in lightening age spots.


  • Expose unprotected skin to the sun. Make up for the vitamin D you’ll be missing with fortified foods or ask your doctor about supplements.
  • Use tanning beds or sunlamps. These aren’t the “safe” tanning alternative they’re often touted as, and their ultraviolet light can still harm skin.
  • Smoke. Cigarette smoking can damage skin and cause wrinkles.

Aging Skin: At the Dermatologist

A dermatologist can help determine if you are a candidate for tretinoin or in-office treatments like deeper skin peels to remove damaged layers of skin, or laser removal of spider veins. But the most important reason for a yearly visit to your dermatologist is to do a skin cancer check.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and is mainly caused by sun exposure. Rates of malignant melanoma, its most deadly form, are increasing among women. According to the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, the rate of melanoma in U.S. women between the ages of 15 to 39 more than doubled between 1973 and 2004.

"Any time you have a change in a freckle or a mole or a suspicious new skin growth you should see a dermatologist. Watch out for skin growths that bleed and don't heal," urges Feldman.

Protecting against skin cancers is arguably the greatest benefit of sunscreen, after its anti-aging properties. For both these reasons, Feldman says, “Women should know that the best thing they can do for their skin is protect it from the sun.”

Friday, May 15, 2009

Acne 101 - Introduction

I am back in battle with my acne breakouts again. Had been reading around and came across this free (yes! free!) minicourse at by Seppo Puusa

It comes in 7 weekly installments. Here is the first one to share. I always think free stuff are crap and just a ploy to get you to enter your email address so they can spam it in the future. However, this one does make a lot of sense. Go download and read... it's free anyway. Happy reading!

Seppo also has an ebook - Clear For Life, that builds depth on top of the free lesson. Click here to see.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Adult Acne - The Frustrating Problem

I just turned 30 and was ready to embrace the next new chapter in my life. But this is not to be so...not when a flare of adult acne comes in a seemingly mocking way to congratulate me on my life's next chapter. It is extremely frustrating, embarrassing, depressing... just about any sad words you can think about.

To seek solace, I had been reading up loads on this... here's to share one enlightening article form It is really genetics... when you get acne, how many, how bad, and when it would end.... When would mine end?

Adult Acne
Not just for teens: how to handle this frustrating adult problem.

A common problem in adolescence, acne may appear for the first time or worsen in midlife for reasons not fully understood. Hormonal fluctuations associated with menstruation and menopause make women more susceptible to adult acne.

Acne is generally attributed to an excess of male hormones known as androgens. Androgens stimulate the production of oily, waxy sebum by sebaceous glands in the dermis associated with acne. Overproduction of sebum may lead to blocked pores in the skin and a rapid growth of normal skin bacteria.

Symptoms of adult acne:
- Whiteheads (closed, plugged oil glands)
- Blackheads (open, plugged oil glands)
- Pustules (swollen red bumps), sometimes filled with pus

Treating Adult Acne

Several effective treatments for acne are available. If you have mild acne that's not inflamed, treatment with a nonprescription cream or lotion that contains benzoyl peroxide will help keep pores open and inhibit bacterial growth. Salicylic acid and sulfur in nonprescription lotions, creams, or gels can't prevent new eruptions, but they can cause existing ones to dry and peel. Topical antibiotics — erythromycin, clindamycin, and others — kill bacteria and are available with a prescription. So are oral antibiotics, which are even more effective. Both kill Propionibacterium acnes, the bacterium involved in the development of acne.

Retinoids, available by prescription, are derived from vitamin A and are a common and useful acne treatment. They cause several changes in skin cells that reduce the formation of pimples. Retinoids are especially effective when used with antimicrobial drugs — either antibiotics or benzoyl peroxide. Using a retinoid and an antimicrobial agent works better than using either drug alone. Tretinoin (Retin-A) is the retinoid most commonly used for treating acne, but it can irritate your skin. A microencapsulated form of tretinoin is less irritating. Tretinoin and two similar drugs, adapalene and tazarotene, are available only by prescription. Another treatment is azelaic acid, an antibacterial agent for mild or moderate acne.

The most powerful retinoid is isotretinoin (Accutane), which you take orally rather than apply topically like tretinoin. Isotretinoin is very effective for severe acne, but has some side effects, such as dry skin and chapped lips. Less common side effects are increased sun sensitivity, muscle and joint aches, headache, hair thinning, and impaired night vision. The drug is known to cause severe birth defects and must not be taken during pregnancy. A few patients taking isotretinoin have developed psychiatric problems including depression and, more rarely, suicidal behavior. As a safeguard, the federal government placed further restrictions on isotretinoin prescriptions. Doctors must register each patient in a national database and see the patient monthly, renewing the registration with each office visit.

Many women — up to 60 percent, according to the American Academy of Dermatology — show no response to routine acne treatment or find that their medications become ineffective over time. Because of this, isotretinoin has become a more common option, despite its drawbacks. The same is true for hormonal treatments. Estrogen-dominant oral contraceptives often are effective in treating adult women with acne. The combined estrogen and progestin that they contain decrease androgen levels. Undesirable effects include nausea, headache, and breast tenderness, but oral contraceptives may help decrease bone loss and lower the risk for ovarian and colorectal cancers. The anti-androgen drug spironolactone may be added if oral contraceptives alone are not effective.

Women with hypertension or a history of stroke, blood clots, breast or uterine cancer, or who still smoke after age 35 should not use oral contraceptives. Alternatives include spironolactone, used with antibiotics or by itself. Light and laser treatments are also useful for treating acne and acne scars.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Habits That Sabotage Your Skin

(A good read from Everyone should know what they are doing right or wrong to their skin)

If your skin is dry and itchy despite your best efforts, your everyday habits may be to blame.

You moisturize after every shower, use a humidifier in your bedroom at night, and eat healthfully — yet your skin still feels dry, tight, and itchy. Before you make an appointment with your dermatologist, check to see whether you’re guilty of one or more of the following habits that aggravate dry skin.

Dry skin saboteur #1:
Taking long, hot showers Hot water strips your skin of the natural lipids — cholesterol, fatty acids, and ceramides — that provide a watertight seal around cells. This disturbs the skin’s barrier and causes water to evaporate, says Leslie Baumann, MD, director of the University of Miami’s Cosmetic Medicine and Research Institute. A reduction in lipids causes skin to feel dry and itchy. Limit showers to no more than 10 to 15 minutes, and use warm — not hot — water, suggests Doris Day, MD, a New York City–based dermatologist. The same rules apply for taking a bath: Keep bathing time short, and use warm water. When washing your face and hands, use warm or lukewarm water.

Dry skin saboteur #2:
Using deodorant soaps Cleansers such as deodorant soaps and foaming face washes contain detergents that, like hot water, remove lipids from the skin and damage its barrier. Not only does this allow water to evaporate from the skin, but it lets irritants such as sodium lauryl sulfate (a common detergent) enter skin cells and cause inflammation. Because shampoo may also contain this irritating ingredient, it’s best to shampoo first, then wash your face and body to remove any traces of it. Also potentially harmful to skin are alcohol- and water-based cleansers, bubble baths, and heavily fragranced soaps. More soothing options are oil-based, unscented mild soaps and body washes.

Dry skin saboteur #3:
Rigorously toweling off after your shower Aggressively rubbing a towel on your skin causes friction that can irritate it. Instead, pat skin dry. Immediately apply a moisturizer while your skin is still damp to lock in moisture.

Dry skin saboteur #4:
Using an overly aggressive facial peel A peel — whether it's an at-home glycolic acid peel or a spa treatment — is beneficial because it removes the top layer of skin, which allows moisturizers to penetrate more readily. What isn’t good is using a peel that is too potent on skin already irritated by wind or cold. Opt for a more soothing oxygen facial, or try a moisturizing mask in colder months, suggests Marina I. Peredo, MD, FAAD, a dermatologist practicing in Smithtown, New York.

Dry skin saboteur #5:
Forgoing sunscreen in the winter Nothing is as damaging and drying to skin as sunburn, and UVA rays are the same year-round, says Dr. Day. It’s especially important to wear sunscreen when skiing because the sun’s rays are more intense at higher altitudes. An SPF 15 lotion is typically fine in the winter, but check the label to make sure it contains UVA/UVB protection or is a broad-spectrum sunscreen.

In addition to these common saboteurs, certain medications and medical conditions, such as diabetes, can cause dry skin. If you think a particular medical condition, or any medications, could be causing your skin to dry out, speak with your doctor.