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The Perricone Prescription

by Dr Nicholas Perricone

listed in skincare

The Perricone Prescription, published in this country on the 3rd.March 2003, is the No. 1 New York Times bestseller promising total body and face rejuvenation in twenty eight days, which, I am sure will appeal to many readers. Dr Nicholas Perricone is a dermatologist who specializes in non-invasive, anti-ageing treatments utilizing foods, supplements, exercise, and the elimination of stress, smoking, drinking and other modern day irritants to strengthen, restore and protect the skin, and to keep the body healthy.

The most important scientific theory behind his work is that ageing with its wrinkles, lines, puffiness and sagging, as well as all diseases ranging from cancer to strokes are caused by inflammation at the cellular level. He theorizes that by reducing inflammation with the use of powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories it is possible to prevent the signs of ageing and disease states.

In the first seven chapters of his book Dr Perricone passionately guides his readers through the programme step-by-step with comprehensive instructions and explanations, together with many interesting case histories from his own private practice.

Chapter one is the starting point where he enthusiastically helps his followers to turn their lives around with a three-day nutritional face lift using foods, the most powerful way, he perceives, of reducing inflammation and achieving beautiful skin and vibrant health. The diet includes three meals and two snacks consisting of foods high in protein: eggs, chicken, tuna, salmon; mono-unsaturated and essential fatty acids: olive oil, almonds, macadamia and hazelnuts, and low glycaemic index carbohydrates: oatmeal, lettuce, asparagus and broccoli. The results he informs us are glowing skin and high energy levels.

Chapter two is an interesting section, which explores the connection between inflammation, ageing and disease on a cellular level and demonstrates how ageing is a chronic uniformly, progressive, inflammatory disease caused by free radicals. He writes that by controlling these free radicals we can direct the rate at which we age.

Chapter three explains the diet in more detail and we are recommended to avoid high glycaemic index foods, which not only lay down adipose tissue, but cause free radical damage and glycation, creating detrimental, age-related changes to collagen and thus wrinkling. He presents an example of a high glycaemic index breakfast of cereal and banana and explains: " the cereal and banana are equivalent to eating as much sugar as you would find in a Snickers candy bar.

But, the Snickers is less inflammatory because it contains fat". He provides lists of foods with a low glycaemic index and high antioxidant level, which help to fight inflammation such as avocados, bell peppers, berries, cantaloupe, honey dew melon, dark green leafy vegetables, orange coloured squash, salmon, and tomatoes. The diet is very high in protein, which should be present at every meal and every snack to provide energy and cellular repair throughout the day. The results of this way of eating for twenty eight days, he explains, will be youthful, wrinkle free, toned skin, increased vitality, sharpened cognitive and problem solving skills and improved memory.

Chapter 4 continues to explore supplements to reduce inflammation and rebuild and rejuvenate the body. He details all vitamins, minerals and amino acids, examples of which are vitamin F, selenium and lipoic acid, which are strong antioxidants to protect collagen from free radical damage, carnitine to increase fat metabolism, Co Q 10 to increase metabolic efficiency, and glutamine to strengthen the gastrointestinal tract and the immune system.

Chapter 5 explores and provides skin care programmes for all skin types including Northern European, African American, Mediterranean and Asian Latino. Dr Perricone provides lists of anti-inflammatory skin care products that are available on the market, but writes that he can not vouch for all their active ingredients. Some of the active ingredients that he feels are important are sunscreen with an SPF no lower than 15, DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol) to maintain tone and firmness of the face and neck, PPC (polyenylphosphatidyl choline) and vitamin E which are natural emollients, powerful anti inflammatories and antioxidants. He also includes before and after photographs to illustrate the effectiveness of his programme.

Chapter 6 focuses on the powerful, positive anti- inflammatory effect of exercise on all our cells. Three forms of exercise are emphasized: flexibility, cardio-vascular and muscular strength and endurance as they help to keep the body supple, the heart and lungs strong, raise the metabolic rate and build muscle and bone density. Programmes to help the reader to achieve this are specified and illustrated.

Chapter 7 collates all the information together with a day-by- day, easy to follow plan.

Further chapters specify future techniques for anti-ageing, recipes, resources, glossary and an in depth reference section.

Overall, this is an excellently written and well-presented book, but before you rush out to buy this book you have to think very carefully whether the particular way of eating promoted in the book is right for you. With the abundance of diet books on the market most of us have realized that the different diets advocated only work for specific, individual, biochemical types. The "Perricone Prescription" is no exception and is written particularly for meat eaters and those with blood glucose abnormalities. However, if you are vegetarian, vegan or raw foodist, have allergic reactions to the particular foods involved in the diet, or are prone to problems with the bowel, kidneys or osteoporosis, or a person heavily involved with sports, then this diet may not be suitable for you. If you fall into one of these categories do not despair, as there are other nutritional ways of achieving total body and face rejuvenation for your particular biochemical type.

June Butlin
ISBN 0-00-715785-1

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