Beauty, Medical & Health Public Relations
POSTED ON THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2017 AT 10:59 AM
Go on your Facebook or Instagram feed and you’ll be hard pressed not to find selfies of people flexing at the gym or sunbathing in a bikini. Sprinkled in are ads for skin creams, weight management shakes, hair restoration, cosmetic procedures and butt lifting yoga pants. Thanks to smartphones and selfie culture we are all online being bombarded and obsessing over physical appearance, especially our own. Dr. Sanam Hafeez a NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, says it is time to lighten up. Below are some common obsessive thoughts and actions on physical appearance and what to do about them.
1. “It takes me an hour and 5 outfit changes before I can leave the house.”
“When you find it difficult to commit to an outfit choice and rapidly change outfits only to look in the mirror thinking everything looks terrible, there is certainly heightened anxiety taking place,” explains Dr. Hafeez. She adds, the problem isn’t the clothes. The problem is self-perception and mindset. “The better you feel about yourself from the inside and the more positive things you have in your life to be appreciative of, the less time you will spend on clothing choices. You’ll know exactly what you want to wear and you’ll be more than satisfied with your choice,” offers Hafeez.
The solution? She suggests training your mind to decide and stick to the style decision by setting an alarm for 5 minutes to brainstorm 2 options. Dr. Hafeez also encourages focusing on where you are going and the positive aspects of the anticipated experience to shift the mind off your physical appearance.
2. “I can’t pass a reflective surface without checking myself in it.”
If you’re checking yourself out thinking, you look fantastic and swiftly continue to walk on that’s normal, fine, and even healthy. However, if you are thinking, you need to lose weight, that you have a double chin, that you look old, that your hair is terrible, then you’re beating yourself up and are focused on unattainable perfection. “Our bodies will change and we will age. This is a fact of life. Exercising for as little as 20 minutes per day, eating healthily, walking, reading and meditation are all things that are beneficial to us. When we make how we feel top priority, we start to look good. We’re more radiant, smiling, and have higher, more positive energy,” explains Dr. Hafeez.
3. “I never can leave the house without make-up.”
This is a tough one and common for a lot of women. We all want that fresh faced, gorgeous without trying look. Very few women past puberty can achieve it. “There’s a difference between the level of self-consciousness between a woman who takes 10 minutes to put on some moisturizing foundation, mascara and lip gloss and someone who must spend an hour a full face of make-up perfectly applied,” says Dr. Hafeez.
Getting monthly facials and educating yourself on different make up formulations can help you cut down on the amount of make-up needed. This could shorten the time it takes getting glammed up!
4. “I constantly compare myself to others on social media, in magazines, in public.”
Dr. Kirk Brandow, founder and director of the Brandow Clinic for Cosmetic Surgery who has appeared on national programs such as Good Morning America and 20/20, commenting on physical appearance says comparison mindset is incredibly common. “Ten years ago people would come to me with pictures of celebrities, and now they’re showing me random people on their social media feeds. It is unreasonable to compare yourself to a celebrity as they have a team of trainers and stylists that help them achieve and maintain a certain desired look. Today people see their high school friend on social media with the perfect breasts and they want that same look. People are really comparing themselves to everyone now,” he candidly explains.
Dr. Hafeez advises taking breaks from social media and doing body strengthening and range of motion exercises that also weave in breathing and mindfulness such as yoga or tai chi. “When you are aware of your body’s strength and your general well-being, you’re not going to compare yourself to others. When you’re too busy enjoying a happy, healthy, you won’t care if your thighs are less toned than someone else’s.
5. “I have a list of cosmetic procedures I want to do and am planning to do this year!”
This is when we must be mindful of body dysmorphia. When we have a distorted perception of our appearance it can lead to an addiction to cosmetic procedures. Dr. Brandow adds that it is very important for cosmetic surgeons to screen people to see if they have signs of body dysmorphia. “Ethically when someone comes in with a list of flaws they want to fix it is up to us professionals to advise them appropriately. When someone is addicted to surgeries and tries to “fix” the same body part repeatedly, that’s a red flag.
Dr. Sanam Hafeez suggests keeping an “appreciation journal” and write down 10 things you appreciate about yourself and your life. This will lessen harsh self-criticism and the need to measure up to any physical ideal.
POSTED ON WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2017 AT 11:15 AM
The foods you have in your pantry and fridge may be helping or hindering your brain. Dr. Christopher Calapai DO, a New York City Osteopathic Physician board certified in family and anti-aging medicine explains that the foods we choose have a lot to do with how sharp, attentive, alert, focused and happy we feel after they are consumed. Certain foods may taste great have additives in them that literally cloud our brains and leave us sluggish and dull headed. The opposite is also true. We can eat certain foods and feel a charge of mental energy and focus. We spoke to Dr. Calapai and got a quick list of foods that boost and drain the brain. Which ones will you add and remove from your shopping list?
Brain Boosting Foods to Add!
1 Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are great sources of vitamin E. Higher levels of vitamin E correspond with less cognitive decline as you get older. Add an ounce a day of walnuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed, and un-hydrogenated nut butters such as peanut butter, almond butter, and tahini. Raw or roasted doesn't matter, although if you're on a sodium-restricted diet, buy unsalted nuts. “Adding nuts to your diet can aid in decreasing levels of enzymes that lead to protein plaques from forming and dementia. Nuts can also reduce brain inflammation, keep blood pressure low, key for preventing stroke,” explains Dr. Calapai.
“I eat these daily and encourage patients to add blueberries to as many things as possible. They’re great on their own, added to a shake, to oatmeal, or even to a salad,” says Dr. Calapai. Blueberries are tasty and sweet and loaded with antioxidants. They’re packed with vitamin C, K and fiber and pack high levels of gallic acid, making them especially good at protecting our brains from degeneration and stress. “Studies show that eating blueberries can boost focus and memory for up to 5 hours,” adds Dr. Calapai
Broccoli is one of the best brain foods out there. Thanks to its high levels of vitamin K and choline which is a B vitamin know for aiding brain development keeps memory sharp and protects the brain from later decline with age. It’s also loaded with vitamin C. Just one cup provides you with 150 percent of your recommended daily intake. Its high-fiber levels makes you feel full quickly, too. “People hear broccoli and roll their eyes thinking it’s bland a boring. Think of broccoli as a canvas ready to be painted with spices and flavors, offers Dr. Calapai. Try stir frying with a bit of olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Add in a spoonful of orange or lemon juice and it gets this nice sweetness to it.
Salmon, mackerel, tuna, and other fish are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA seems to be very important for the normal functioning of neurons in the brain. Eating more fish often means eating less red meat and other forms of protein that are high in artery-clogging saturated fats. “People who are lacking in Omega 3’s can experience mood swings and feeling edgy or negative. Omega 3’s have been know to be mood boosters in addition to enhancing focus and memory,” says Dr. Calapai.
This creamy treat is also a rich source of the antioxidant vitamin E. Research suggests that foods rich in vitamin E—including avocado, which is also high in the antioxidant powerhouse vitamin C—are associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
Brain Drainers to Drop!!
1. Partially Hydrogenated Oils
There is zero reason to ever eat foods that list "partially hydrogenated oils" in their ingredients list. It's code for trans fats, which, in addition to upping your risk for obesity and damaging your heart health, can cause serious brain drain. “Diets high in trans fats increase beta-amyloid, peptide 'plaque' deposits in brain associated with Alzheimer's disease. One study published in Neurology found that people who consumed high levels of trans fats had lower cognitive abilities and smaller brains later in life,” says Dr. Calapai. Common culprits include fried foods, baked goods, and processed foods. So bake or grill chicken instead of frying it, go for sweet potatoes instead of French fries and avoid anything wrapped in plastic that sits on a shelf for months at a time.
2. Added sugars
The average American eats 79 pounds of added sweeteners per year which can cause constant insulin spikes and inflammation resulting in both vascular and neuronal damage. One study published in Brain, Behavior and Immunity found that large amounts of sugar cause the hippocampus, the brain's memory control center, to become inflamed, meaning it can’t work at 100 percent. Meanwhile, one cross-cultural analysis found that high sugar intake is linked to depression. “Sugar is a big trap because when you eat something sweet there’s a high initially. It feels good at first taste but then once it starts to be processed in the body there’s a heaviness that follows, says Dr. Calapai.
3. Saturated fat
A diet high in saturated fat can decrease the brain’s ability to fight the formation of Alzheimer's-linked brain plaque. An onslaught of saturated fat also hurts your brain in the short-term. Saturated fat impairs your brain's ability to learn and form new memories within as little as 10 minutes after chowing down. Processed meats such as bacon, pepperoni, pork sausage, or chorizo are examples of very tasty foods that are high in saturated fat. “Look we all like to indulge from time to time and that is fine, but when saturated fats are staples in your diet, then that’s going to take a toll,” advises Dr. Calapai.
POSTED ON TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2017 AT 11:29 AM
Just when you have navigated the hurdles of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s as a single woman, now Valentine’s Day is almost here. For many it’s a day to celebrate love and romance with that special someone. Unfortunately, for others it’s their least favorite holiday. Whether you just got out of a long-term relationship or you just happen to be single, you may not want to stop and smell the roses on the “most romantic day of the year.” New York City’s neuropsychologist Dr. Sanam Hafeez shares a few heart-healthy tips on how to keep Valentine's Day from becoming an emotional meltdown.
It’s February 14th, Not Valentine’s Day
When it comes down to it, Valentine's Day isn't really a big deal. “Keep in mind that some of those “happy” couples you see while you're out and about may be putting up a really good front and aren't as happy as you think,” says Dr. Hafeez. “It's all about how someone treats you year round, not just on one day when it's standard for someone to go out of their way in honor of the holiday.” Although Valentine's Day is meant to be a day that celebrates love, it really is just one day out of the year.
It’s Me, Not You
Be your own Valentine this holiday and pamper yourself by splurging on a day at the spa, a new haircut or a little retail therapy. “You can still celebrate February 14th on your own terms,” says Dr. Hafeez. “Is there something that you’d really love to do, but you’ve been making excuses for why you shouldn’t? Be your own Valentine and treat yourself to something special.”
Be My Valentine
Who says everyone should only get Valentines from those they're dating? “The day is about love, so send some Valentines to those you love the most - your family and friends,” advises Dr. Hafeez. “You'll feel good knowing that you made them feel special and maybe even made them dislike the day a little less.”
Send Yourself Flowers
If you are feeling really down about being alone on Valentine's Day, why not send yourself flowers or chocolates to your place of work?
Avoid Love Triggers
If you are upset about being alone on Valentine's Day, avoid watching romantic movies and listening to love songs. These types of activities are sure to bring on the love blues.
A Single Girl’s Night In
Order your favorite takeout, pour yourself a glass of your favorite Pinot Noir and watch Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway duke it out in a fashion war in The Devil Wears Prada – for the gazillionth time. “There's no problem at all with staying in by yourself on Valentine's Day. If you're single and don't feel like going out, there's no better way to spend Valentine's Day,” says Dr. Hafeez.
Accepting What Is & Setting Goals for the Future
If you are alone and sad on Valentines Day, give yourself permission to experience all of your negative emotions. "Remember that your romantic status today does not determine your entire future,” says Dr. Hafeez. “Being single does not mean that there is something broken or wrong with you. Don't generalize your negative emotions to other aspects of your life. Not having a relationship is hardly tantamount to failure. Your romantic life is only one facet of who you are. It is also something that can change if you are unhappy with it.”
POSTED ON THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017 AT 11:44 AM
If surgeon’s scalpels and Botox fill you with fear there are less drastic approaches to looking and feeling younger that also do not include “snake oil” products or potions. Scientists now believe up to 40 per cent of how we age is within our power to slow down. Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O. is an NYC Osteopathic Physician board certified in family medicine and anti-aging medicine. Here are 10 of his suggestions:
Stop smoking ‘Cigarettes contain some 40,000 toxins, each deposited directly into the DNA of skin cells each time you take a drag,’ says Dr. Calapai. ‘Numerous studies in identical twins have found that smokers look ten years older than non-smokers. That evidence is profound in lines around the eyes.’ Talk to your doctor about methods to help you quit.
Use your face: ‘Facial muscles are just like body muscles,’ says Dr. Calapai. “The more you use them, the stronger they get and the less likely they are to sag and atrophy.” Try this quick cheek workout to help build up sagging facial muscles: look in a mirror, smile as broadly as possible while keeping your lips closed and mouth corners turned up. Try to make your mouth corners touch your ears. Next, wrinkle your nose and see your cheek muscles move upwards. Stay like this for a count of five, then relax. Repeat 10 times.
3)Drooping Brow- Acupuncture
Pin it up! Half of Hollywood is allegedly hooked on the face-saving, radiance-boosting power of cosmetic acupuncture. According to experts, it stimulates skin cells to lay down new collagen fibers under wrinkles, ‘filling them in’ literally while also toning different muscles to restore glow. The added bonus is that most cosmetic acupuncturists treat underlying problems that could be causing your skin to look older, such as insomnia and bad digestion.
4)Have More Sex
Having sex at least 3 times per week can make you look up to 10 years younger and according to Dr. Dr. Calapai. Having more sex is the next best thing you can do after exercise to look younger because it also helps you to naturally release more growth hormones and it's been proven that having more sex can help you live longer.
5) Don't eat Too Much Sugar
“Too much sugar in your diet will lead to an age accelerating process in your body known as glycation and glycation does damage to the collagen in your skin making you lose skin elasticity causing wrinkles to appear,” affirms Dr. Calapai.
6) Exfoliation is pivotal to facial rejuvenation
"Ultimately, it increases dermal volume, making skin look less wrinkly." It will also help brown spots. You can use a physical exfoliant, like a scrub, or a chemical exfoliant, such as a glycolic,” says Dr. Calapai.
7) Start Intermittent Fasting
The 2 main reasons why intermittent fasting makes you look younger is because
intermittent fasting naturally increases your human growth hormone which amps up the production of collagen for younger looking skin. Dr. Calapai explains that, “Intermittent fasting induces autophagy where the cells in your body repair themselves to make a newer much healthier cell to prevent aging.”
You may think you carry your age in your face, but people “guess” your age by how you move. The youthful figure is thin, muscular, flexible, and strong. Your exercise program should include lots of cardio (this allows you to move around without huffing and puffing—a definitely “geezer” give-away), training with free weights, and some flexibility exercises.
9) Improve Your Posture
One of the biggest give-aways for looking old is a curved back, slumpy sitting, and shoulders that ride up too high with respect to your neck Dr. Calapai recommends. fixing your posture by thinking of the top of your head as a flat surface and then try to get that flat surface as tall as you can. Consciously push down your shoulders. Do this as you walk and sit. Take a “posture check” as often as you think about it during the day. Young people may not have perfect posture, but correcting your posture will make you look more youthful.
10) Resolve to eat more oily fish
Or failing that, high-grade fish-oil supplements. Dr. Calapai says that, “None of us consume enough essential fatty acids, which as well as helping our brains to function more smoothly are considered vital to keep skin-cell-membranes in good health and therefore stop the skin from getting too dry.”
POSTED ON WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 08, 2017 AT 12:37 PM
Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching and instead of making reservations to some over-hyped trendy spot, stay in and prepare a “Lover’s Platter” full of indulgent aphrodisiacs. Pop some champagne, get that romantic playlist ready and feast onthese 10 foods to get you in the mood for love this Valentine’s Day. Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O a New York City Osteopathic Physician board certified in family and anti-aging medicine gives us his interesting insights on these aphrodisiacs.
“Aphrodisiacs are foods that have certain chemical properties that could increase pheromones, estrogen of testosterone, estrogen, heightening our interest in sex,” explains Dr. Calapai.
To be considered a true aphrodisiac the substance must be consumed orally, must reliably increase libido or sexual desire and within minutes. Ok so what are these sexual super foods and what is it about them that lights the fire of desire?
One of the most infamous aphrodisiacs oysters are high in zinc and have a reputation for being great for fertility. Researchers have found that oysters contain amino acids that trigger production of sex hormones. “Oysters offer a lean source of protein to help give you energy all night long. In addition to offering the body zinc, which helps blood flow and nourish sperm, there's scientific evidence that an amino acid found in oysters may directly raise sexual hormone levels," says Dr. Calapai.
With their phallic shape, bananas already look tempting and sensual; but they also contain bromelain, an enzyme, which Dr. Calapai says, triggers testosterone production. The fruit's potassium and vitamin B elevate energy levels and the high sugar content gives the brain a kick! Melt some chocolate to add some sexy decadence.
Honey is made through pollination and secretions of many fertile bees worshipping their queen, just what every woman wants! Drizzled on certain body parts honey can be fun. It has a number of vitamins and it also contains boron, which helps regulate estrogen and testosterone levels and the sweet and sappy sweetness provides a natural energy boost.
Packed with citrulline and lycopene, Watermelon may have a Viagra-like effect on the body, as it relaxes blood vessels and improves circulation. It may even prevent erectile dysfunction. It’s incredibly juicy, sexy and when dipped in chocolate is the perfect flavor explosion.
5. Pine Nuts
High in energizing zinc and fatty acids, which has been linked to a healthy sex drive, pine nuts are also considered aphrodisiacs because of the effort required to procure these oily gems from pinecones.
This peppery tasting plant has been documented as an aphrodisiac since the first century A.D. “The bite of the aromatic leaf might get you in the mood and the minerals and antioxidants found in dark leafy greens like arugula have also been proven to block environmental contaminates that could negatively harm libido,” explains Dr. Calapai.
7. Olive oil
Packed with antioxidants, olives and their oil have been used for centuries for health. The Greeks believed they made men more virile as well. “Olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are critical for a healthy heart, smooth blood flow and stable hormone production, all needed to keep the brain, prostate and penis in good shape!” says Dr. Calapai.
Eaten by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the fig has forever paradoxically symbolized both sexuality (the ripe fruit with seeds representing fertility) and modesty (the fig leaf). They are full of potassium and are an antioxidant powerhouse, sweet and delicate when eaten.
These bright gems enclosed in a thick rose-colored husk are filled with tangy sweet antioxidants, which support blood flow and clear thought. One study by The Male Clinic in California found that pomegranate juice had a positive effect on erectile dysfunction.
10. Chai Tea
Skip the coffee and end the night with a cup of Indian chai tea. The typical spices in this brew include ginger, cloves and cinnamon, all come from exotic places and certainly will get the blood flowing. Since it has almost no caffeine the stimulant effect is less than coffee allowing you and your lover to drift to sleep.
About the Doctor:
Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O. is an Osteopathic Physician board certified in family medicine, and anti-aging medicine. Proclaimed the "The Stem Cell Guru" by the New York Daily News, Dr. Calapai is a leader in the field of stem cell therapy in the U.S. His stem cell treatments have achieved remarkable results in clinical trials on patients with conditions as varied as Alzheimer's, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, frailty syndrome, heart, kidney and liver failure, lupus, MS and Parkinson's. He has worked with Mike Tyson, Mickey Rourke, Steven Seagal, and Gotham's, Donal Logue; and as a medical consultant for the New York Rangers. Connect with him via twitter @drcalapai or at www.drcal.net