Mediterranean Diet

More on Sunscreens and How to Practice Safe Sun

Thanks to Jeff, who wrote in with a good point about titanium dioxide.  Environmental Working Group give a high score for safety to products containing titanium dioxide, but there are some concerns.

Titanium Dioxide: • If it is absorbed dermally or ingested where does it go? There are concerns about what the body does with an ingredient that it is unequipped to process. Babies are especially at risk because their skin is thinner, they frequently put their hands in their mouth, and they do not have well developed processes of elimination.• Depending on the type of titanium dioxide (TiO2) and how it is processed TiO2 can degrade more quickly when exposed to UV than non nano zinc oxide, generating free radicals. • The American Cancer Society has identified TiO2 as one of the top five potential cancer-causing substances that requires further study.

Jeff also expressed concerns about Zinc Oxide, but it breaks down to Zinc, which is a vital mineral, and oxygen. There is some concern from scientists about the nano-particle zinc oxide, because nano particles may be able to pass into areas of the body where they can store, such as the brain.

Nano particles help with the white pasty look of zinc oxide sunscreen. Mixing the zinc-based sunscreen with some make-up may dilute its effectiveness, don’t forget. I like to layer my sun protection, so adding a mineral powder on top, gives a little extra protection.

Skin cancer is a real risk with sun exposure. The question is why, since the sun is obviously vital for life on Earth? Skin cancer rates are much lower in Mediterranean countries. I suggest that it is the quality of the olive oil in the diet.

Early Nutritionists from the 1900’s called whole food, unprocessed fats, Vitamin F, and considered that these healthy fats were a balance to the over-production of Vitamin D from sun exposure. Nature loves balance and will usually provide her own. When processed corn oil, margarines and other refined oils entered the American diet, skin cancer rates soared.

So, enjoying plenty of good fats, vegetables and fruits, may be as beneficial as sunscreen, and give you that extra protection, on the inside.

Sunbathing has only been around for the past 100 years. Before that, a suntan was a sign that one worked outdoors and did not have the luxury of leisure time. Coco Chanel, who inspired women to wear trousers and aspire to elegant but casual fashion, was an advocate of a suntanned look. As a Mediterranean woman, she had the advantage of her French diet.

Advances in medicine and technology brought new interest in health and more leisure time for a rising Middle Class. Holidays by the sea became popular as healthy retreats.

There are no hard and fast rules about the sun, except one that rule that is universal. Don’t Burn. Know your skin, know your dietary habits, and know your skincare and sunscreen products. If you want to keep your skin looking young, I do recommend avoiding sun exposure.

If you are concerned about Vitamin D, take a very high quality fish oil every day, and ask me about other safe Vitamin D supplements.

Hope you are enjoying your summer, and staying cool and hydrated.  I just returned from Florida, where staying indoors was a no-brainer, given the degree of humidity. By the way, ever wonder what the number means when we talk about humidity? It is the amount of moisture the air will hold at a given time. Dew point is how much moisture there is in the air and humidity is how much moisture there is relative to how much the air can hold.  The higher the temperature, the more water the air can hold. And when the air can’t hold any more water, you get snow or rain.

There is more to it than that, but you get the idea. Regardless of where you are, if it is summer-time warm, you need to be drinking lots of water and eating veggies and fruits so you have the minerals your body needs to replace what you are losing by sweating.