Saturday, March 30, 2013

Raquel Welch ages gracefully by Jerry Brainum

    The title of the blog that I wrote the other day was "How to age gracefully," and if you want to see a good example of that, take a look at actress Raquel Welch. Welch, who turns 70 on September 5, appears to have somehow defeated the aging process to a great extent. In many ways, she doesn't look that much different than when she donned an animal skin bikini in the 1966 film,One Million Years B.C. With the huge interest that most people have in staying younger looking, Raquel was a natural to write a book on that topic.She discusses her stay young program, as well as some beauty secrets for women, in her new book aptly titled,"Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage".

      Many people wonder how so many celebrities appear to defy the ravages of time. In many cases, the secret of their youthful appearance can be described in two words: Plastic surgery. Movie stars have the cash to go under the knives of the top flesh shapers in the business. But on occasion, the celebs go overboard, and you wind up with an unnatural look such as the late Michael Jackson, or the ghastly appearance of a Joan Rivers. Raquel makes no mention of any personal journey into the world of plastic surgery, instead suggesting that her youthful appearance results from a strict attention to exercise and diet. She outlines her exercise regime in the book, mentioning that she does three whole body weight-training workouts each week. More interesting,however, is her nutrition program.

     In this regard, Welch is a perfect example of how looking good doesn't make you an automatic expert. Among her dietary practices, Raquel says that:
    You should not mix protein with carbohydrates at the same meal. This harkens back to the old "food combining" system, which stated that mixing protein and carbs together led to indigestion and a failure to assimilate nutrients. In fact, this is nonsense. Both protein and carbs are broken down by specific digestive enzymes, which don't interfere with each other, because they are specific. If anything, carbs provide a sparing action on protein, thus preventing the use of protein for energy purposes, rather than tissue building.

   Do not mix fruits with vegetables at the same meal. Once again, utter nonsense. Vegetables and fruits are highly compatible when consumed at the same meal. There is no physiological reason to suggest otherwise.
Other than these wacky and outdated admonishments, Welch's diet is sound. She eats a high protein, low carb plan, which is excellent for staving off aging, since it aids in insulin control and minimizes aging effects, such as glycation, or deposition of sugars in protein-based tissues, including muscle. She likes to eat about 4 ounces of protein per meal with a low sugar vegetable.She limits herself to 3 fruits a day, again because of the higher sugar content.She even follows the common bodybuilding practice of eating only egg whites for breakfast, discarding the yolks. This itself makes no nutritional sense, since all the nutrients and half the protein in an egg resides in the yolk.

     Raquel's supplement program is extensive and is as follows:
Triple joint formula, consisting of a mixture of glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM
Calcium, 1,200 milligrams a day divided over three meals. This is a good idea, since the body is able to absorb smaller amounts of calcium more effectively. The maximum individual dose of calcium shouldn't exceed 500 milligrams if you want greater uptake of the mineral.
Magnesium-another important mineral, Raquel says she prefers the "ionic" form, because it's more absorbable. She is correct about magnesium being difficult for the body to absorb, but she would be better off using a form such as magnesium glycinate, which has some evidence to show that is more easily absorbed compared to other forms of magnesium. There is no evidence that "ionic magnesium" offers superior absorption.
Vitamin C- She ingests 3,000 milligrams a day in three doses. Not bad, since vitamin C lasts for 12 hours in the blood, and taking at least two doses a day increases the efficiency of the vitamin.

   Vitamin B12- Welch doesn't go into detail as to why she takes B12, but it's a good idea. Due to a decrease in acid production, coupled with a lower level of a protein called the "intrinsic factor," it's more difficult for older people to absorb B12. B12 is important, forming one-third of the nutrient combo (along with folic acid and B6) that helps to neutralize homocysteine, a byproduct of the metabolism of methionine, an essential amino acid. Homocysteine has been linked to many degenerative diseases, including silent heart disease and various brain pathologies.In fact, a lack of B12 can negatively affect brain functions, including memory and learning, as well as cause degeneration of the spinal nerves.

         Vitamin E and Selenium- She says she takes 400 milligrams daily, although whether this applies to both isn't clear. They are both antioxidants often lacking in the typical diet.

          Armour Thyroid-this is a natural form of thyroid that contains both major thyroid hormones in the correct proportions, namely T4 and T3. Drug companies like to say that Armour thyroid is inferior to thyroid drugs because it isn't standardized; in other words, the amount of active thyroid hormone varies from pill to pill. This is a blatant lie.The truth is that Armour thyroid is standardized, and also far safer then most pharmaceutical thyroid drugs.

          DHEA- 5 milligrams a day- DHEA is an adrenal hormone, the level of which declines after age 40. It is a steroid hormone that acts like a prohormone for the production of other steroid hormones, including estrogen and testosterone. In women, it usually is first converted into androstendione, then testosterone. In younger men, it's converted into a metabolite of DHT, a byproduct of testosterone metabolism that is linked to male pattern baldness and acne. The dose that Raquel takes, 5 milligrams is tiny, since suggested doses start at 25, up to 100 milligrams daily. It's not clear how she arrived at this small dosage, but it's harmless.
Licorice root- she takes a 5:1 ratio (of what?), 1/4 teaspoon, 3 times a day. I don't know what her reasoning for this is, other than she believes it helps her deal with stress by aiding adrenal gland function.
Probiotics- these are natural gut bacteria that offers many health benefits.
Black Cohosh- an herb thought to aid in control of menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes. There is some evidence showing that it does work in this regard.

         Green Tea Extract- An excellent antioxidant.
Flaxseed- She uses this mixed in food. A great fiber source, and it contains the omega-3 fatty acid precursor, alpha-linoleic acid.
Psyllium- a great source of soluble fiber, helps lower blood lipids.
Digestive enzymes- People over 40 produce less digestive enzymes, and supplements may help.
Shen Min- This is a Chinese herb that Raquel uses to nourish her hair and nails.

       Notably missing from the list are any source of B-complex vitamins, except for the B12. There is also no mention of fish oil, the best source of pre-formed omega-3 fatty acids, which everyone should be taking, especially those over age 40.

        Raquel mentions that she has tried using human growth hormone twice, and it did appear to help her deal with stress and aid sleep onset. But when she used it later, it caused her to appear "puffy and bloated." GH is know to be a potent stimulus to water retention because it promotes the release of aldosterone from the adrenal glands, which retains water and sodium in the body. She also refers to GH as a "steroid." In fact, GH isn't a steroid, it's s polypeptide hormone, just a long string of amino acids, explaining why it must be taken in injection form. Raquel self-administered the hormone, using insulin needles to inject it under her skin, which is correct.

       Raquel was always more known for her sizzling sexuality, rather than her acting ability. In the 1980 book, The Golden Turkey Awards, the authors award Raquel the dubious title of "The worst actress of all time." Certainly a grandiloquent title considering the world has not yet ended. But as Raquel was once quoted as saying,"If you have physical attractiveness, you don't have to act." Sounds a bit like that old line from Saturday Night Live,"It's better to look good than to feel good." I would argue that both are important, and I think so would Raquel Welch

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