Episode 9: Dr. NV Perricone MD Podcast 1 of 3 Salmon, Anti-Inflammatory Superfood, Low Carb Diet Eating Plan, Weight Loss, and Anti-Aging
Dr. NV Perricone MD Podcast 1 of 3 – Salmon, Anti-Inflammatory Superfood, Low Carb Diet Eating Plan, Weight Loss, and Anti-Aging
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Teri Struck: I'm Teri Struck, host of Beauty Now. Today we are so lucky to have best-selling author Dr. Nicholas Perricone. Today he will explain step-by-step how we can age proof ourselves. On today's show we are going to cover cellular rejuvenation, skincare, sex, vitamins, weight management, and more.
Teri Struck: Do you want to explain about the miracle of cellular rejuvenation?
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: We came up with some very interesting information in that we can rejuvenate cells. I talked a lot about salmon and how salmon can make a difference in your skin. It truly can and there is actually diminishment of facial lines from the astaxanthin. So I don't think it is any coincidence that along with low-fat and no fat diets we saw the onset of Prozac and all the other antidepressants that are out there.
If you look at berries - blueberries and raspberries and strawberries - look at all those colors, dark blue, bright red and all that. When you see colors that means there are antioxidants present. And all antioxidants act as natural anti-inflammatories.
Teri Struck: Today we are honored to get to talk to Dr. Nicholas Perricone. His latest book is ‘Seven Secrets to Beauty Health and Longevity’. Welcome Dr. Perricone and thank you so much for agreeing to talk to us.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Oh, thank you. It's a pleasure to be with you today.
Teri Struck: Do you want to explain about the miracle of cellular rejuvenation and what your book is pretty much about and explain to our listeners who don't understand that?
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Yes, the book on the miracle of cellular rejuvenation is just an extension of my research over the past 20 years. So the very first book called ‘The Wrinkle Cure’, which I guess was released way back in 1999, talked about the very basics of this low-grade inflammation.
Then I moved on in the decade looking at newer research and came up with some very interesting information in that we can rejuvenate cells. When you rejuvenate cells you can rejuvenate organ systems. The best way to rejuvenate a cell is to work on a tiny portion of the cell called the mitochondria. The mitochondrion is a little organelle inside the cell that is responsible for producing energy. So it's like a little furnace. It converts food to energy.
That's the first site of damage, as we get older because the mitochondrion has its own set of DNA. The DNA cannot repair itself as well as nuclear DNA. In addition, because energy is being created in this little organelle, a lot of the energy is being converted to free radicals, which then damage the mitochondrial cell membrane.
So looking at the research I was very excited to find out that certain approaches, which were somewhat new, could actually help repair that little mitochondrion, the little furnace and then rejuvenate the cell which then rejuvenates organ systems. Once again, this was an extension of the basic research over the years on The Wrinkle Cure and the Perricone Prescription and the Perricone Promise.
Teri Struck; It’s because of The Wrinkle Cure that I started to eat salmon. I really didn't like it. When we would go out I would say, “I'll have the salmon.” And my husband was like, “But you don't like that.” I said, “But my skin will look better. Dr. Perricone says so.”
So are you talking about food in your book and that food can help repair your skin.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Yes, the food really can. I would like to just give a little background first for those people who are listening that may not know much about the whole program.
I talked a lot about salmon and how salmon and how salmon can make a difference in your skin. It truly can. We know if we eat salmon and have a fresh salad for three days in a row, your skin looks tremendously different. It's so different that you will walk into a room and people will remark, “Why do you look so different?” That's because salmon is one of those, what I call, super foods that affects inflammation.
So let's back way up and talk about inflammation. You know, when I see inflammation people sometimes get confused because they will say, “Well isn't inflammation like a bright red sunburn or swollen finger? As a matter of fact, that is the extreme of inflammation. That's on the far spectrum of what we call acute inflammation.
But there is another kind of inflammation that goes on in the body. It is on a microscopic level. And it's not only a very low-grade inflammation, but it also goes on for a very long period of time. So we call it chronic low-grade inflammation. And I really felt from my research which started way back when I was in medical school that this chronic low-grade inflammation is responsible for mediating a number of disease processes. I first came across it when we were studying cancer in medical school. I saw inflammation under the microscope surrounding cancer - squamous cell cancers - and asked the professor is if it was possible that the inflammation could somehow be triggering the cancer rather than being just kind of an immune response.
We didn't really feel that that was the correct approach. But the more research I did the more I was convinced that the inflammation was responsible for most of the age-related diseases. I finally came to the conclusion that this low-grade inflammation, as we know, we can't see it and we can't feel it but it goes on all the time, is also responsible for many age-related diseases and aging itself.
That was a very controversial way of approaching things because when I first came out with The Wrinkle Cure, as you probably remember, I had a number of interviews on national television and magazines and attacks from every angle by other scientists. And the questions were, “Well, no one else says that.” But in the 10 years since that book was released it is now mainstream medicine that in this low-grade inflammation is responsible for many of the age-related diseases and possibly aging itself.
So if we know that inflammation is the bad guy, but we can't see it and we can't feel it and it is on a microscopic or sub microscopic level, what can we do about it? And that was important to me. I am a physician. It's one thing to discover what the problems are, but I think as a physician you want to really come up with what I call therapeutic intervention. We found that one of the things that we can do on a daily basis to alleviate this low-grade inflammation and reduce our risk of age-related disease and wrinkles and Alzheimer's and all the rest, is change the way we eat.
I came across this information in many different ways. I was interested in nutrition well before I went to medical school. But there are foods that could actually increase inflammation in the body and therefore accelerate the aging process, accelerate the wrinkling and sagging and all of the other problems. And there are foods that counteract inflammation and reduce inflammation in the body.
Teri Struck: Can you give us a couple of examples?
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Well, let's start off with some good old salmon.
Teri Struck: OK.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Salmon is the food. Salmon is really interesting because it has so many nutrients inside of it that are good for us. First of all, salmon is a very great source of highly absorbable protein. Protein is important because all of the structures in our body and in our cells including our immune system are made of protein. And protein, when broken down by digestion is amino acids. So amino acids are the building blocks of life.
You need to have adequate protein every day to carry on the repair process. Now if you don't get enough protein on a daily basis, to quote an old and very famous nutritionist, Adele Davis, “The days you don't get enough protein are the days you age.” So salmon is tremendously high in protein. You need to get enough protein. I talked to doctors and they go, “Oh, that's baloney. People eat too much protein in this country.” Yet when I did a survey my office over a period of years, talking to patients and just getting a dietary history, I surprisingly found that women were getting one half as much protein as they really should on a daily basis.
Teri Struck: Exactly.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: So when my female patients would say to me, “Gee, why am I not aging as well as my husband” I just say it comes down to a numbers thing. One of the things is your habit of not eating enough protein. That comes down to women's brain chemistry and we can talk a little bit about that later. But you need to get enough protein and salmon can provide that.
Salmon is also very rich in the omega-3’s; we have heard much about omega-3’s in terms of reducing your risk of heart disease. But omega-3’s are amazing because they also nourish the immune system. They are extremely important for the brain. And omega-3’s are also natural anti-inflammatories.
So if we look at the effects of eating salmon, we are getting adequate amounts of protein and we are getting a great number of omega-3’s. Now one of the biggest disasters I think in terms of overall health in this country was in no fat, low-fat trend. I guess it started in the 80s and 90s and continued. We need to have enough fat in our diet. Without enough fat we get into trouble.
One of the first things we see when we are not getting adequate essential fats - and we have to distinguish between good fats and bad fats - I think that was a problem when this trend was available. The bad fats of course are saturated fats or trans fats. Good fats are the essential facts and omega-3’s are essential. When we don't have enough omega-3's, the first thing that is affected is our brain. The brain is 70% fat by weight. And we need essential fats to make good neurotransmitters like serotonin and other neurotransmitters.
So right along with the no fat, low-fat trend came an epidemic of mental depression in this country. So I don't think it's any coincidence that along with no fat, low-fat diets we saw the onset of Prozac and all these other antidepressants that are out there.
Teri Struck: Exactly.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: It’s interesting to note too that there were some very good studies done looking at depressed patients and then testing them by changing their diets. One particular study in Massachusetts looked at a group of patients who were diagnosed with mental depression by psychiatrists and given a numerical score. They were broken up into two groups. One group received traditional antidepressants like Prozac. The other half of the group was given salmon on a daily basis as well as some fish oil supplements. At the end of eight weeks, the patients were re-examined. They were examined weekly. They were given another numerical score based on the severity of depression. It was interesting to note that those patients on the salmon diet as well as fish oil actually had greater alleviation of their depression than those taking traditional antidepressants. So these things are very powerful.
So salmon is this incredible food that can, not only make our skin look more radiant and beautiful, but also elevate our mood, which is extremely important.
Teri Struck: I just read something saying that there is a difference between wild salmon and farm raised. Is that not right?
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Yes, there is. The salmon farmers are trying to correct a lot of the errors that they are making. So they are making a good effort. But wild Alaskan salmon is higher in protein, higher in the good fats and in less saturated fat. There are no additives so they're not being exposed to antibiotics and anti-fungals. And they also have less contamination from other things like heavy metals.
So I recommend Alaskan salmon. But many times it's not possible to get it. But I want to let you know that canned salmon is always wild salmon because farmed salmon will not do well in a can. It turns into a soupy mixture.
Teri Struck: Right.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: You can get canned wild Alaskan salmon. You can get it frozen. So there are many sources that you can have really good Alaskan salmon. They have higher levels of essential fats like omega-3's as well.
Teri Struck: How much salmon do you eat per week? That's what I want to know.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: I eat salmon probably about five days a week.
Teri Struck: Wow.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: It just makes me feel good. It gives me energy. It's just a wonderful food. There are many different ways of preparing it. I have so many recipes in my books specifically because salmon is so therapeutic, yet we don't want to get bored with it.
Teri Struck: That’s true and I have to thank you for that.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: As you know, the Three-Day Nutritional Facelift, which I have done on Oprah and all of those.
Teri Struck: Yes.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Where you see a dramatic difference.
Teri Struck: It's true.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Having those people eat salmon twice a day for three days, they get pretty bored pretty quickly.
Teri Struck: You are inspiring me right now. I'm going to go get some salmon. I love it now.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: That salmon color, which is, you know, salmon, actually is because of micro algae that are eaten by fish. They contain an antioxidant called astaxanthin, which is an antioxidant that is of the carotenoid family. But astaxanthin is incredible because it is so powerful in terms of protection. So when you eat salmon, like wild Alaskan salmon, you get 3 or 4 mg of this incredible antioxidant astaxanthin.
I want to mention two studies with astaxanthin that really were impressive to me. In one study patients were given astaxanthin daily for a period of 12 weeks. There was actually diminishment of facial lines from the astaxanthin.
Teri Struck: And this is taking it by a vitamin?
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Right, taking astaxanthin supplements. However, you will be able to get the same amount if you eat wild Alaskan salmon every day. In another study -
Teri Struck: You know what? I want to talk more about this, but we are going to take a quick break. I'm so interested in this.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: OK, great.
Teri Struck: Hold on for one second. We are talking to Dr. Nicholas Perricone. We will be right back.
Teri Struck: We are back with Dr. Nicholas Perricone. Thank you so much. We were just talking about the effects of salmon and I can't even pronounce that antioxidant you just mentioned.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Yes. Astaxanthin. So, the astaxanthin - I mentioned the one study where you saw diminished facial lines when patients took astaxanthin for a period of 12 weeks. Another study showed improvement of eyesight in elderly patients by taking astaxanthin.
So you see when you start talking about salmon, you look at that it is high in protein, in this incredible omega-3 essential fat and then it has astaxanthin in addition to that. So you have this absolute miracle food. If you really want to have an intense anti-inflammatory experience, you do it twice a day for a period of three days along with salads and you will have an amazing difference in the way you look.
I don't know if you saw the Good Morning America piece that I did with The Wrinkle Cure book.
Teri Struck: Yes. Loved it.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Yeah, OK. It was fun because the people at ABC said, “Oh no. This can't possibly change the way people look in three days.”
Teri Struck: It was amazing.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Yeah, it's just phenomenal. Diane Sawyer was kind of blown away because she was really waiting to shoot the whole thing down.
Teri Struck: No, really I have to say I started eating salmon. I really hated fish before. But you do have great recipes in your book. So I started using those and my husband and I eat salmon pretty much.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Yeah, one of the things about salmon is that because it is so high in essential fats, it spoils very quickly. I think most people that say they don't like salmon have probably gotten a piece that wasn't absolutely fresh.
Teri Struck: Yes.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Because if it's absolutely fresh it just tastes like cream.
Teri Struck: Exactly.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: If it's not fresh and it really has an off flavor, then I am telling you that I would agree with you. I would not eat it.
So we look at this information and we look at foods that are anti-inflammatory like salmon and fresh fruits and vegetables. Now if you look at berries, and I want to talk about specific things that will help people to remember, I say, “Look, if you want to really combat the aging process, you have to eat foods that have lots of color in them. So if you look at berries like blueberries and raspberries and strawberries, look at all those colors, dark blue and bright red and all that - if you see colors that means there are antioxidants present. All the antioxidants act as natural anti-inflammatories.
It's the same thing with vegetables. Bright colors. Phytonutrients that really have the anti-inflammatory activity and the anticancer activity.
Teri Struck: Like peppers.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: So your diet should be one that is rich in colors. So that's a helpful hint as we go on and as we look at things. But once again, this is very important to do on a daily basis. Get enough fruits and vegetables because after all those powerful antioxidants do act as natural anti-inflammatories and will assist in your program of keeping you healthy.
We are trying to fight the whole aging process because with age usually comes disease. They kind of go hand in hand. If you look at any chart, any chart of risk, the older you get, the higher the incidence of every disease known to mankind. So what we want to do that achieve here of course is to have a healthy life. Therefore by eating properly, by reducing inflammation as I recommending, we reduce our risk of age-related disease.
I'm not saying that you are going to live to be 120 by following this program. But how about living our natural life expectancy, say 80, without having to end up with all of the debilitating diseases that we see in the elderly. And certainly you see in your family as people get older what can happen to them. So this is not just about beauty. This is a very practical approach to life. That will make you healthy and strong and independent throughout your life. And it's easy to do.
We have to understand that inflammation is the bad guy. We can't see it. We can't feel it. But there are two tools that we have to fight it. And of course, the biggest tool is the foods we eat. The bad foods are pro-inflammatory and the good foods are anti-inflammatory. We talked about good foods so let's, if we have enough time, talk a little bit about the pro-inflammatory foods.
Teri Struck: Yes, we do.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Well, first of all, we need to understand that anything that causes a rapid rise in your blood sugar causes a burst of inflammation throughout the body.
Teri Struck: That’s scary.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: That means that when we have this inflammation it puts us at risk. It accelerates wrinkling of the skin, deterioration of brain, heart, and the immune system. Everything is going to actually do very poorly when we have sugar. Many other things beside sugar raise blood sugar very rapidly. There are starches.
So we have to look at something called the glycemic index. I think a lot of people now are aware of the glycemic index because a number of books have talked about that.
Teri Struck: It’s really confusing though.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: But the glycemic index is nothing more than rating the rapidity of the effect on blood sugar when you eat something. We found that you really want to be careful because there are foods that may not look like they are going to affect your blood sugar. But they will cause a rapid rise in blood sugar.
A classic one we talk about is rice cakes. When people are dieting they are eating rice cakes.
Teri Struck: Right.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Rice cakes actually cause a rapid rise in blood sugar, as much as pure sugar does.
Teri Struck: I didn't know that either.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: So we have to understand. So I was thinking, look at the glycemic index that is in my book and learn it a little bit because you understand that things like fresh fruits and vegetables are very low in the index. Water is zero and sugar is 100. We would like to keep you under 50 when you eat foods because it prevents a rise in blood sugar.
Now a rapid rise in blood sugar causes a huge insulin response because insulin wants to keep your blood sugar under control. Of course, we all know what happens to diabetics without insulin. When you have a lot of insulin in your system it actually, number one causes you to store body fat. One of the big problems we see, as we get older of course is we get an increase in body fat. That leads to all kinds of problems. So by regulating insulin and blood sugar we can carefully keep the inflammation very low and prevent weight gain.
A great example I give is the following. There is a conscientious woman who wants to lose some weight. So her breakfast consists of half a bagel and some black coffee. Her husband is sitting across the table and he is having for breakfast 6 ounces of broiled salmon, which is, as you know a very fatty fish. And he is having strawberries and blueberries and a big bowl of oatmeal. So he has consumed about 900 calories for breakfast. And she has consumed about 150.
So he takes off for the day and he's loaded with energy because he's not going to get a rapid rise in blood sugar because all those foods are low glycemic. He also has adequate protein on board, which is going to help him. She takes off after breakfast and after about 45 minutes the bagel, which is extremely highly glycemic - it's almost like eating sugar - kicks up her blood sugar. The insulin kicks in and she crashes, feels lousy and she is irritable. She has no energy. Now her insulin is high.
So insulin puts a lock on her body fat. So she actually is now ready to fall over from lack of calories, protein and low blood sugar. And yet she's maintaining body fat. Her husband had the big meal, races through the morning for five hours feeling absolutely great and starts using his own body fat up just at abnormal metabolism because his insulin is low.
So if we understand these things, we say, “Wow” and the most important aspect was that he has very low inflammation in his body and her inflammation has shot through the roof. Those are common mistakes that we make. So we want to approach this very carefully because what we see in America now is an epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
It's interesting, type 2 diabetes used to be called Adult Onset Diabetes because it was the result of many years of overeating and excess body fat until we became insulin resistant. So you have high insulin but your blood sugar is still high.
Teri Struck: Is that how children get diabetes as well?
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Well yeah. It was never heard of before but now it looks like 10% of the children at least in the study in Manhattan have type 2 diabetes.
Teri Struck: It’s scary.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Frightening. It's the sedentary lifestyle, computers, no activity, and bad diets. It's going to be a national disaster for healthcare system if we don't learn this.
But this all comes down to once again inflammation. So if we want to understand the whole process, and we want to understand what foods to eat, look at fresh fish, look at a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables and stay away from the bad foods like starches and sugars.
Teri Struck: Could you name one other fish beside salmon that you like?
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Let me see. I love halibut.
Teri Struck: OK. Halibut. I love halibut. That's good.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Yeah, halibut's great. It's loaded with essential fats and is another good choice for us.
Teri Struck: OK, good.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: So there are the good, the bad, and the ugly. And remember, the final common pathway is always inflammation.
I would like to spend a little time talking about weight loss because it's so important.
Teri Struck: Yeah, that would be great.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: One of my books was ‘The Perricone Weight-Loss Diet’.
Teri Struck: Yeah, I have that too.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: Now one of the things that I discovered when I had people on the anti-inflammatory diet in my practice was that if they were overweight, they tended to lose a lot of body fat. On the average program, people were about 20 or 25 pounds overweight and they tended to lose 13 pounds in the first month. But interestingly enough the weight did normalize over a period of time. And they only looked absolutely radiant and healthy even if there was a lot of weight loss. I mean, a lot, like 50 or 100 pounds or more.
That was really strange because every time I see a patient that has lost a great deal of weight, they always look like it.
Teri Struck: Right.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: They want to say, “I lost 100 pounds!” And you're thinking, “Oh my God. Gain it back. You look terrible.”
Teri Struck: Exactly.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: But that is because when, with just about any diet out there except the anti-inflammatory diet, when you lose a certain amount of weight, whether it is 10 pounds or 100 pounds, 50% of that weight loss came not just from body fat. The other 50% was from loss of muscle mass. That is characteristic of every diet except the anti-inflammatory diet and I can explain why.
Under normal circumstances when you are on a diet, you tend to go from a high blood sugar, high insulin situation. You start lowering your blood sugar, which is good. You start lowering your insulin. But you still have a good amount of inflammation floating around. Inflammation makes you insulin resistant. Now you need insulin not just to regulate blood sugar but you need insulin to carry amino acids into your cells to make proteins and to rebuild muscle mass.
So The Perricone Anti-Inflammatory Diet is really focused on treating the inflammation first. The body fat goes secondly, and when this happens, we are still able to take up the amino acids and make proteins and muscle mass at the same time as losing body fat. So at the end of the diet, 90% of the weight loss is pure body fat, while maintaining good muscle mass and maintaining good skin tone. So rather than looking haggard and 20 years older at the end of this weight loss diet –
Teri Struck: Right.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone: We look fantastic. We feel great too. So the anti-inflammatory diet, The Perricone Weight-Loss book I think is extremely important to everybody because what we don't want to see as we age is to look older and we want to maintain a good muscle mass and you have to lower inflammation.
There are a lot of studies out there looking at inflammation in the body in general and how it affects us. People with higher levels of inflammation, all other things being equal, looking at age, matched controls and all that; if you have higher levels of inflammation you tend to become more fragile as you get older. You tend to lose bone with high levels of inflammation and you tend to lose muscle mass. It's called sarcopenia for the muscle mass and osteopenia for the bone.
So if we can decrease those floating, circulating inflammatory chemicals, we can maintain muscle mass and bone density, which is really antiaging at its best. So we always want to approach this with inflammation in mind. So the Perricone Anti-Inflammatory Diet is a way to prevent all signs of aging, not just age-related disease, but the normal or what we think of as normal aging - the sagging and the wrinkling and the muscle loss and the fragile bones.
Teri Struck: And I want to keep talking about this. We are going to have to unfortunately break and we are going to have to welcome Dr. Perricone back for our next weekly show, which will be next week's. So tune in to personallifemedia.com and hear the rest of Dr. Perricone's show.
Teri Struck: Thank you for listening today. This is Teri Struck, host of Beauty Now. Please visit our website personallifemedia.com where you can get a transcript of the show and subscribe to get future episodes.
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