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April 1, 2010
For any health concious person, one of the main reasons you watch what you eat, and take the time to learn is the desire to be more comfortable in life. Free of disease, aches, pains and of course the dreaded wrinkles and gray hair. Personally I am determined to feel better than I did in my youth. When we are young we don’t think about certain lifestyle choices until we are reminded by our body. The relationship we have with our body can be a wondorous lesson in creation every day!
Everyday your body communicates with you to tell you: “I’m hungry”, “I’m thirsty”, “I feel a little tired.”, and various other signals. Maybe our joints hurt because we have been eating to much gluten, or maybe we are having a break out and the cause was highly processed sugar – the candy seemed like a good treat at the time…
However, our bodies cannot literally say – Add a little more Omega to your diet, or Hey! I need more Vitamin C today! But it does communicate through signs of pain, aging, discomfort, wrinkles, etc.
One of the initial signs of aging visually is our skin and our hair. I am totally convinced that with the proper diet, excercise, yoga and meditation we can truly FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT AND WIN!
On that note I am going to talk about COLLEGEN!!!
Collegan n. The fibrous protein constituent of skin, bone, cartilage, tendon, and other connective tissue. The word collagen means ‘glue-producing’.
Collegen in the body does indeed help to hold it all together, but the notion of glue is not very apt. It strengthens and connects things with a network of tough fibres, rather than sticking them to each other — more like a cat’s cradle than an adhesive.
Collegen is the protein which forms the ubiquitous white fibres in all the connective tissue of the body, including bone, teeth, cartilage, and tendons; the skin; and all the sheaths, partitions, and supporting frameworks which abound in all organs and tissues. The exception is the central nervous system, which has its own different variety of internal supporting tissue — the glia — though there is collagen in the membranes which cover the brain and spinal cord.
Collagen and elastin fibres often co-exist, notably in tissues which regularly undergo considerable changes in shape, such as skin, lungs, and blood vessels. The essentially inextensible, high tensile strength collagen is able to exist and function alongside the elastic fibres simply by having considerable slack. This can easily be illustrated if you pinch up the skin on the back of the hand: it returns to its original shape on release by virtue of the elastic fibres (a property progressively impaired in old age due to degeneration of the elastic fibres, with consequent increase in skin wrinkling). Now with the fingertips push the same skin on the back of the hand sideways and note that it slides quite freely until displacement comes to a distinct halt (when the collagen has used its slack and the tough fibres are pulled into alignment, resisting the distending force).
With ageing, habitually exposed areas of skin show broken and disordered collagen fibres, related to the effects of UV light. Deficient replacement of collagen also contributes to thinning and wrinkling of the skin, and, together with mineral loss, to osteoporosis — decreasing bone mass. These changes suggest that the continuous production of new fibroblasts, and by them of new collagen, progressively declines. Fibroblasts in culture outside the body divide again and again, but do not continue to replicate indefinitely. When such cultures from different animal species are compared, it is found that the number of cell divisions is related to the lifespan of each species, and is also related inversely to the age of the donor from any one species: a finding of considerable interest in the study of the ageing process.
Whew…That was a lot of information to take in, huh?
What can we do to increase and encourage collegen in the body?
Eat wonderful, organic raw foods!!!
Which ones you ask?
SOY – Products such as soymik and cheese contain an element known as genistein. The presence of genistein gives soy products their collagen production qualities, as well as helping to block enzymes that tend to break down and age the skin. Just about any soy product contains enough genistein to be helpful, including soy products that have been developed as substitutes for meat products.
DARK GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES – These are all excellent examples of food containing collagen producing agents. Add drak green leafy veggies such as spinach, cabbage and kale to your diet every day. They are packed with an antioxidant called lutein. You need 10 mg to get results – which equates to about 4oz. of spinach or 2oz. of kale. Recent French research suggests this will boost skin hydration and elasticity, fighting wrinkles. Rich in Vitamin C, regular consumption of kale, spinach,collards, and asparagus help to strengthen the body’s ability to manufacture collagen and to utilize the protein effectively.
RED FRUITS AND VEGGIES – All are excellent sources to up the collagen content of foods in the diet. The presence of lycopenes in these types of foods helps to act as antioxidants, which in turn increases collagen production. Try adding red peppers, beets, and fresh or stewed tomatoes to the diet. Also include sweet potatoes, carrots and more. Research from Dr Ronald Watson at the University of Arizona has found that the antioxidants in red, yellow and orange foods build up under the skin creating extra UV protection. “The effect is so strong that eating six portions a day for about two months will build a natural barrier equivalent to a factor four sunscreen,” says Dr Watson.
VITAMIN C – fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C are natural sources of collagen production. You should try to include citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and strawberies into your daily diet.(Referring to my post yesterday, I guess the universe would like me to have more Vitamin C! In addition to the above listed veggies and fruits there is also the somewhat odd fruit that is only noticed when someone is a bit…stuck…
PRUNES are one of the biggest causes of skin ageing is attack by substances called free radicals, that break down healthy skin tissues. Antioxidants helps neutralize these free radicals before they can do any damage – and prunes are the fruit containing the absolute highest level of antioxidants. Blueberries are a close second. Eat five to six prunes, or a small basket of blueberries, daily to get a great health boost
OMEGA 3 and 6 - also help to create an ideal environment for collagen production. Fish such as salmon and turna are excllent sources of omega fatty acids. Nuts such as cashews, pecans, almonds and Brazil nuts contain healthy amounts as well.
FLAX SEEDS - a major sources of the healthy fat omega-3. Skin cells are surrounded by a fatty layer made from this and other fats so, the higher your omega-3 intake the stronger that layer is, and the plumper your skin cells are – which helps disguise lines and wrinkles. Mix it into smoothies or add it to balsamic vinegar and use it as a salad dressing, but try to have a tablespoon each day.
SULPHUR – Foods that are rich in sulphur content are also important to collagen production. Among these are green and black olives, fresh cucumbers, and fresh stalks of celery. Working in conjunction with the sulphur, vegetables that are rich in Vitamin A also aid in keeping collagen levels high. Try adding raw carrots, fresh cantaloupe and baked sweet potatoes to the diet for an extra boost.
CHOCOLATE – is really is good for your skin. In studies in Germany, it was found that after drinking a cocoa-packed drink, blood flow to the skin was boosted (meaning it gets higher levels of nutrients and moisture). It also seemed to be more protected against UV damage – the number-one skin ager. Only dark chocolate contains enough antioxidants to have effects, though! (Oh Darn!
Now this part is not quite vegan…however the Manuka Honey is used on the skin rather than eating it. Honey is really softening to the skin. It fact it makes skin look a golden in hue.
MANUKA HONEY – A special honey from New Zealand with unique healing properties. It has been used in skin care for centuries by the Maori people of New Zealand and it’s easy to understand why. When used topically, Active Manuka Honey can restore and rejuvenate your skin. It supports the skin cell renewal process and assists in the formation of stronger collagen protein. As an added benefit, active manuka honey is rich in antioxidants and helps to reduce blemishes.
And last but not least…The Daily Avocado!! For information on that post you can choose to call this posting up to the right -or- you can read it here!
AVOCADOS WHOLE & OIL - If you want to know how to naturally produce collagen, you need to use face masks or creams that contain avocado oil. Avocado oil is deeply hydrating and highly compatible with the natural oils in your skin. Avocado oil is high in plant steroids, which help to reduce blemishes and age spots. It also helps to regenerate and rejuvenate skin damaged by free radicals. Avocado oil is important because it is scientifically proven to stimulate collagen production and it increases the proportion of soluble collagen in the dermis of your skin. And don’t forget to include fresh avocadoes in your favourite salad and soup recipes! I guess the Daily Avocado wasn’t such a bad idea after all! Adding the above mentioned food will show and absolute increase of regeneration in your skin and spirit! Kick in those recipes that are from the Mediterranean, any RAW type of veggie mentioned in any of the recipes covered or on other sights!
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