Should you be eating Easter Eggs?
Another great week in the Bennett household – my number one son is home from uni for the Easter holls – he ran a half marathon last Sunday in one hour forty mins so we’re very proud of him! But my kitchen now resembles a student HMO as he prepares snacks to build himself up again! When I made a comment about the need to tidy up I was told to “Chill Mum. You wouldn’t last a day in our house in Bristol!”
Number one daughter was stage manager for the school play this week so lots of late nights at school and then she finished school on Thursday for the holls so getting stuck into GCSE revision, we hope!
With Easter starting on Friday 25th and the introduction of the sugar tax by the government – did they go far enough? I guess it’s a good start. I want to look at sugar today…..
According to Jamie Oliver, celebrity Chef and healthy eating campaigner it is possible to manage your sugar intake through a healthy, balanced diet, and, like most things, sugar is OK in moderation. However, what’s clear from Jamie’s Sugar Rush documentary, is that most people in the UK and other parts of the world are consuming too much added sugar– the majority of your sugar intake should come from fresh fruit and vegetables as they also provide other nutrients to our bodies, such as vitamins, minerals and fibre.
So what about chocolate and our Easter Eggs? Well like all things there is good and bad chocolate and today I really want to focus on what’s OK to eat and another side effect of eating too much sugar – the damage to your skin. Let’s look at this first….
It is already known that excess sugar can lead to a variety of health concerns, but what most forget is that too much sugar can also affect the skin.
Sugar comes from many forms of carbohydrates. If there is too much sugar in the body, protein molecules and lipids can become ‘coated’ in sugar they bind as complex molecules. Once bound, these new sugar/protein molecules are called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). The human body does not recognize AGEs as normal so this stimulates the production of antibodies that causes systemic inflammation which will also affect the skin. Once formed, AGEs tend to gravitate toward dermal collagen and elastin, and as people age, AGEs are a key factor in aging of the skin as well as major health complications.
The more sugar you eat, whether chocolate, added to your meal or the type of meal itself, the more AGEs are produced and when the body is overwhelmed with AGEs, collagen becomes compromised. Effects of the glycation process at the cellular level of the skin’s structure may result in wrinkling, loss of elasticity, stiffness, accelerated aging and compromised barrier function. Other conditions that appear when microcir¬culation is damaged and cell turnover slows is a loss of volume in the face due to redistri-bution of fat. Although the development of lines and wrinkles is normal as people age, we can now see people in their 20s resemble a person in their 40s, which is generally due to poor diet. Scary stuff!
I found this report (on about.com) interesting: Harvard Medical School researchers, led by Norman Hollenberg, investigated why Kuna Indians, living off the Caribbean coast of Panama, had excellent health even with increasing age. Despite a high level of salt consumption, exceeding that of most Western populations, Kunas’ had low blood pressure.
You can read the full report here….
The research showed it wasn’t just the genetic makeup to thank for healthy blood pressure, the research team concluded the biggest difference was dietary, including a dramatic average daily consumption of more than 5 cups of cocoa, per person.
The cocoa the Kunas drink, and the cocoa and chocolate people usually purchase in a supermarket or specialty store is hugely different– mostly due to how it’s processed and its formulation – more about this in the full article.
There is lots of research and blog posts on this topic and also about the healing and super power of blueberries to help protect against this (more about this in a later blog – so my recommendation for you for Easter?
Eat Dark chocolate with the highest coco solid chocolate you can get as it has intrinsic health benefits similar to fruits, vegetables and tea. All of these foods contain flavonoids that have potent anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory actions in bodily functions. Dark chocolate with 72 or higher percent cocoa solids has positive effects on your health, with small risk. Add some blueberries and you’re home and dry
If you prefer sweeter chocolate aim to get chocolate without sugar – obviously avoid artificial sweeteners as they have health risks of their own and a peculiar after taste I find, but Stevia is a natural sweetener extracted from the stevia plant naturally grown in Brazil and Paraguay, where it has been used for hundreds of years to sweeten foods and treat burns and stomach discomfort; it’s delicious.
More about Stevia, artificial sweeteners and sugar alternatives next time.
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Jill is an Independent Consultant and Area Manager with Arbonne International and the views expressed are her own based on Internet research. Jill is not a scientist or skincare expert but is passionate about helping people understand more about how to look after their health and about the ingredients in Health and Wellness products. If you would like to know more please complete the form in the side bar and I will send you regular information and blog posts.