Dr Perricone Discusses : Beauty Foods

Two Foods for Supple Skin & Abundant Energy

For optimal health, our diets need to include anti-inflammatory fat sources. This is a topic that I have covered extensively over the years. In fact, because they cause increased inflammation in the brain, I hold extreme low-fat and fat-free diets culpable for the epidemic of depression sweeping this country during the past two decades. Ideally, our diets will be free of excess saturated fats and all trans fatty acids—another reason to avoid all processed and pre-prepared foods.

The end result of following the anti-inflammatory diet will be the prevention of free radical-induced inflammation. There will be a great improvement in our physical appearance, decreased wrinkling and sagging of the skin, increased energy levels, elevated mood, better brain function, decreased body fat, greater muscle mass, stronger bones, and a powerful immune system.

The essential fatty acids found in Chia seeds and extra-virgin coconut oil are anti-inflammatory. They also have the unique ability to stabilize the cell plasma membrane, the outer portion of the cell. When we stabilize the cell plasma membrane we decrease our risk of oxidative stress and its resultant production of the cascade of inflammatory chemicals that causes damage throughout the cell, especially the mitochondria.

Chia Seeds
The seeds from the chia plant (Salvia hispanica L) are a concentrated source of high quality macronutrients required by the body: omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fiber, high quality complete protein without gluten, and low-glycemic carbohydrates. Rich in antioxidants, chia also reduces inflammation and can help mitigate the signs of premature aging.

Although chia seeds are relatively new to the world food market, they have been a staple food for the peoples of Mexico for centuries. Because of their high soluble fiber content, chia seeds form a hydrophilic colloidal suspension (gel) in water and slowly release their nutrient content and water into the digestive tract for absorption and utilization over extended periods of time. This provides an even and sustained source of nutrition, hydration, and energy for the body as it passes through the digestive tract. Because of this attribute, chia seeds were highly valued as an endurance food by the both the Mayans and Aztecs and are still used today as food in Mexico and the southwestern United States—in fact they are a staple food of many long-distance runners in the U.S.

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil—energy and weight loss
Long vilified as an unhealthy food choice, coconuts and extra virgin coconut oil are now rightly taking their place as a healthy food and a healthy type of fat. The types of fats found in coconut oil (medium-chain triglycerides) boost immune function and the anti-bacterial, anti-microbial compounds are metabolized efficiently to hydrate and repair skin from the inside out, imparting skin with a supple glow.

Coconut oil is also a beauty food that appears to promote weight loss. According to a study “Medium-Chain Triglycerides Increase Energy Expenditure and Decrease Adiposity in Overweight Men,” published in the medical journal Obesity Research, diets rich in coconut potentially stimulate weight loss by increasing metabolism and may be considered aids in the prevention of obesity.

Revered by athletes, coconut oil contains less calories than other oils and its fat content is easily converted into energy. It also does not lead to accumulation of fat in the heart and arteries. This is because the fat is in the form of medium chain triglycerides, (MCT’s).

Most of what we consume in the Western diet consists of artery-clogging, ‘long-chain’ saturated fats derived from animals. But the plant-based medium chain fatty acids tend to digest quickly, producing energy and stimulating the metabolism which is the reason oils like coconut are popular with athletes. A number of studies have found that the medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil are neither readily converted into stored fats nor can they be readily used by the body to make larger fat molecules. Coconut oil helps in boosting energy and endurance, and enhances the performance of athletes.


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