Sometimes we forget that our body works like a well-oiled machine. Joan Salge Blake, nutritionist, and professor at Boston University says, "You have to feed your body good nutrition for it to run like it's supposed to run. You have to have good maintenance. You have to start treating your body like you do your cars and your home".
When it comes to aging gracefully, most of us intuitively know what we should be doing: exercise, a good night sleep, and a proper diet. Also, we should probably avoid smoking and drinking heavily. Aging gracefully isn't rocket science. It just requires energy, stamina, motivation, and a well-balanced diet.
According to a study realized by Allergan, Inc., roughly 60% of women between 21 and 65 years old said they would rather have a younger-looking face than a younger-looking body. Even though we can't stop aging, in a way, we can "technically" slow it down. Many experts agree that expensive creams and procedures are not the key to aging gracefully, but that the secret actually lies in eating healthy.
As we age, our bodies slowly change, not only in how they look but also in how they function. Progressively, the efficiency of our digestive system starts to decline. Eventually, you won't feel as thirsty as you used to and might consume less water than you actually should. At times, you may decide to go for consecutive "cheat meals" and forget that your stomach and liver aren't the same as to when you were in your teens. If this continues, then your once well-oiled machine will begin to sputter.
Focusing on eating a healthy diet suited to your lifestyle and needs is the best way to help your body detox naturally, while providing it with the nutrients it needs to keep moving.
The most effective way to start eating better is by reducing grains and sugar (especially fructose) from your daily diet. It's important to understand that insulin and leptin (found in fat cells and in the pancreas, respectively) are both are major accelerants of the aging processes both on the inside and outside. It's important to keep your insulin and leptin levels low if you want to maintain a youthful look and an optimal health. Avoiding processed foods, trans fats, processed table salt, and pasteurized dairy products can also play a large role in staying youthful.
So, which foods can you incorporate into your day-to-day meal plan that also prove to be particularly effective when it comes to promoting younger, healthier skin?
Nuts -- especially almonds -- are beneficial due to their high levels of antioxidants. They contain vitamin E which helps to fight skin-aging free radicals and keep your skin moisturized.
Red and orange vegetables are full of beta-carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A. Vitamin A prevents cell damage and premature aging. Spinach, broccoli, kale, and other green, leafy vegetables provide lots of vitamin A that will keep your skin hydrated and healthy. Green juices are also an easy way to help absorb the nutrients more quickly. The anthocyanins found in cherries have an anti-inflammatory effect and fit in perfectly with a well-balanced diet.
Vitamin C aids facilitate the body's production of collagen, which is the protein that forms the basic structure of your skin. Collagen breakdown can leave your skin looking saggy, and vitamin C can help tighten it back up.
Calcium-rich foods help build strong bones and can boost the effects of osteoporosis drugs you may be taking. They can also amplify the benefits of weight-bearing exercise in building strong bones.
Packaged foods, fast foods, gluten, dairy, and sugar all cause inflammation in the body. According to Dr. Frank Lipman, MD, and author of The New Health Rules.
A substantial amount of research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids prevent inflammation in the body and reduce symptoms associated with arthritis. They also help keep your skin well-hydrated from the inside out, which is key when preventing dry skin and wrinkles. Omega fatty acids (-3, -6, and -9) are found in healthy fats and oils and are vital because they become part of the skin cell walls. Examples of these foods include: salmon, chia seeds, flax seeds, coconut oil, walnuts, olive oil, and avocado. Extra virgin oil is loaded with heart-healthy fats, as well as oleocanthal, which has properties similar to several anti-inflammatory drugs.
Another cause of wrinkles is the weakening of collagen and elastin in the skin, which happens as we age. Amino acids found in protein sources can help rebuild and repair damage. Some sources where these can be found: Meat, fish, eggs, tofu, some grains, nuts, and seeds.
Phytoceramides, plant-based ceramides found in wheat germ, brown rice, spinach, and beets, can help to protect the epidermis, the skin’s outer layer.
Too much time out in the sun is a leading cause of aging due to free radicals. Created by the sun, they can permanently kill off healthy skin cells. However, an unhealthy diet can have the same effect. Antioxidant-rich foods that contain carotenoids like tomatoes, carrots, kale, and pumpkin can protect the skin and reverse some of the damage.
If you have dark circles under your eyes, it’s most likely genetic, but they can also be caused by water retention or sodium-rich foods. Many fruits and vegetables, as well as potatoes, nuts, beans, legumes, meat, poultry, and fish, are potassium-rich and can offset your sodium intake. Plus, cutting down on your salt intake is not only a wise choice for your skin but also your overall health.
Regular foods won't always provide all the nutrients you need. Certain products like marine collagen and collagen peptides can serve as essential additions to your everyday diet. Collagen contains several elements like amino-acids and Vitamin C, both greatly contributing to a healthier diet and a fresher look. Gelatin is also an important supplement. It is rich in glycine and proline, two amino acids are responsible for the unique fibrous structure of collagen. Benefits of gelatin include: promotion of wound healing, reduction in levels of cortisol (stress hormone), promotion of deep sleep, the maintenance of healthy, radiant skin and the prevention of wrinkles.
These are only some of the foods and supplements that can help revitalize your skin to make it look radiantly young and rejuvenated. Bottom line: it’s never too late to start getting healthy. Check the link below to learn more about how you can heal your body from the inside out and look and feel your best!