summer. Memorial Day has passed and a lot of us are scrambling
to make plans for the summer vacation or something.... I'm
feeling right now that I'd like to savor this summer, make
an effort to go to some outdoor concerts, get up early and
take a long rollerblade, visit a couple of museums
maybe even a 4th of July barbeque at someone's back yard or
roof. (think NYC) We'll see how far I'll get
The big May news in women's health appeared
in the Journal of Obstetricians and Gynecologists about a
correlation between PMS symptoms and Perimenopause symptoms.
We'll take a look at the role of fiber and why it plays such
an important role in our diet, and finally we'll explore whether
self tanning lotions are a safe option for the sought after
Didn't we kind of suspect this all along? In a study published
in the May issue of the Journal Obstetrics and Gynecology,
investigators found that, "
PMS suffers were 2X
as likely to experience hot flashes and mood swings as they
approached 'the change' as women who did not have PMS."
Pamela Boggs the North American Menopause Society director
of education and development says, "Women with PMS tend
to be especially sensitive to fluctuating hormones, and fluctuating
hormones are also the cause of the symptoms associated with
the time prior menopause, known as perimenopause. We have
known for some time that if a woman has bad PMS in her younger
years this is a fairly good predictor of a bad perimenopause.
During this period estrogen levels are high some days and
low others, and this is especially troubling for women who
are sensitive." For more information go to: http://content.health.msn.com/content/article/86/99118.htm
or the source: Freeman et al., Obstetrics and Gynecology,
May 2004; Vol. 103: pp. 960-965.
Interesting note, while nutritionist have long proclaimed
the value of fiber in the diet, the FDA was a little behind
on this one
it was only December 2003 when the agency
allowed fiber as a health claim. Not to get graphic or anything,
but a bottom line about fiber is that it correlated to the
quality of what you are eliminating
if your are not eliminating
properly chances are this is a problem with your diet that
needs to be addressed. You should have soft and bulky stools
at the very least once a day.
Fiber is basically a component of food,
only plant food, which is not broken down by native enzymes
and secretions of the gastrointestinal tract but may be metabolized
by the bacteria in the lower gut. In other words, we humans
don't digest it. There are two types of fiber - soluble and
insoluble. The difference is soluble fiber dissolves in water.
A good way to think about this is that whole grains and fruits
with edible seeds etc is the insoluble type (we call it roughage
or bulk) while most beans, legumes barley and citrus fruits
are the soluble type. To keep it simple, the insoluble type
keeps it all moving while the water soluble fiber promotes
soft and bulky stools.
Why is this so important? It all has to
do with making sure that food keeps moving through your system
and doesn't "ferment" in your gut. Fiber maintains
a digestive transit time to an optimal length of about 12
to 18 hours - many Americans have a 72 hour or longer transit
time. This allows pathogenic organisms to grow in the intestines
and toxins to be absorbed into the body by the gut. This is
why low fiber diets are correlated with chronic illnesses
like hear disease and diabetes. It's also why high fiber diets
are considered protective. (yes, you can have too much fiber,
www.extension.umn.edu link below to see the answer to
The recommended amount of fiber (either
soluble or insoluble) is 25 grams for adult women and 38 grams
for adult men. There is also a huge side benefit to diets
high in fiber, whole grains contain 200 to 300 times more
phytochemicals (protective plant substances) than refined
grains -- add in the antioxidant and other phytochemicals
of fruits and vegetables and a whole pattern of dietary protection
emerges. So eat well. To find the fiber in any food go to
and scroll down to fiber. I also like this piece as an overall
(Sources: Taste for Life Magazine, March
2004 and Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource, June 2004)
We know how bad it is for us to bake in the sun - but who
wants to look like a pasty white London Banker all summer?
Have we really come a long way from the orange tint of QT?
The answer is yes, and even though these products haven't
been on the market long enough to know for sure, the way they
work seems to make sense in terms of safety. A few points:
- Make sure you
buy a self tanning lotion that contains the active ingredient
DHA or dihydroxacetone. DHA is a colorless sugar that interacts
with dead surface cells in the epidermis, and stains the
skin darker. Because it only interacts with the surface,
as dead skin naturally sloughs off, so does the lotion and
the color - so needs to be reapplied within a week. This
is also why it is most likely safe. Unlike getting a suntan,
it does not break down the DNA in skin cells. It's best
to try a couple of different brands - some notable ones
are Aveda, Clinique, Origins and Clarins.
- Avoid "bronzers" "tanning
amplifiers," "tan accelerators," "tanning
promoters," "tanning enhancers," and "tanning
pills." Many of these products interact with the sun
to help create a faster tan, so they can accelerate skin
damage. The "tanning pill" contains cartenoid,
chemical canthaxanthin that is found in carrots - not only
has this been associated with hepatitis and skin conditions,
but that orange look you get from eating too many carrots
is not exactly what I think you were looking for.
- It's a challenge to get it right. First,
you will need full even coverage, which in my judgment takes
talent or a second pair of hands. Tanning lotions work best
if you shave and exfoliate before applying - and apply a
day before you need it. It may take a full 24 hours. Moisturize
dry rough areas and go lightly around knees, elbows and
heels because this is where the cream digs in and you may
end up darker in these areas. Finally, even if you do it
all right, you need to give your skin time to absorb the
cream without staining your clothes - about an hour.
- If you still feel up for it, it's a
great way to get a tan. But do remember it is not a substitute
for sunscreen. You are not all of a sudden Mediterranean
- so don't forget the 30.
That's it for this month! As always,
check out our website for lots more information at www.oonahealth.com.
In Good Health,
The Oöna Team
Questions or comments? Write firstname.lastname@example.org