Eat well, Age Amazingly


Posted on December 29th, by Helen in Diet, Health. 5 comments

Eat well, Age Amazingly

Berries are Mother Nature’s memory pills. Research from Tufts University shows that the antioxidant compounds found in blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries help keep you sharp by turning on your brain’s housekeeping cells, which work to clean up toxic proteins that can mess with memory and mental function. Perserving your mental faculty is just one of the many ways in which food can help you age gracefully.

The effect of food on the appearance of your skin as you age is another.

Feed your skin

Eating healthfully keeps your skin looking youthful because it all comes down to two proteins in your skin called collagen and elastin. Collagen and elastin work hand-in-hand in the body to keep your skin looking firm and tight. Collagen is what keeps your skin looking plump, juicy, and firm. Whereas elastin gives your skin flexibility – the ability to snap back in place after you smile, laugh, or frown, or blink. Frown lines and crow’s feet are the result of less elasticity in your skin. After age 30, your skin produces less collagen and elastin, resulting in saggy thinner skin. Eating certain foods can help amp up production of these precious skin-saving proteins.

Crash diets? As we enter a new year, you will probably be tempted to start some kind of detox diet. But keep in mind, dieting is bad on your skin. When you deprive your skin of the necessary nutrients your body needs to produce collagen and elastin, your body will tap into your skin’s reserve of collagen and elastin. So while you may look slightly thinner, you might also have a swallow complexion. You’re also weakening your immune system, making yourself more susceptible to diseases like colds and flus.

Instead of making drastic cuts to your diet, try eating less of the two ‘S’s –  Salt and Sugar – and more of the two ‘P’s – Proteins and Produce. Check out the skin science behind these true anti-aging food groups:

Proteins

Research from the University of Michigan shows that protein helps to stimulate new collagen cells as well as wake up old sleepy ones that have been dormant for years – so it’s never too late to turn back the hands of time. Choose lean proteins such as:

  • Chicken breasts, pork and lean beef such as bison
  • Soy (tofu and edamame)
  • Eggs
  • Low-fat cottage cheese and Greek yogurt. Both are good sources of proline, an amino acid (a building block of protein ) that is a major component of collagen.
  • Fatty fish and seafood. They’re high in glycine, another amino acid that builds collagen.

Produce

Fruits and vegetables are packed with cancer-fighting fiber and antioxidants. The key to reaping the benefits, though, is to eat at least 3 different colours each day. Different types of antioxidants target different free radicals (those unstable compounds that cause wrinkling, sagging skin, and UV damage). Most people eat just one colour a day – beige! (think potatoes, pasta, rice) but research shows that eating more colours will get a bigger army of antioxidants in your body to fight the damage caused by free radical production. You wouldn’t wear khakis every day would you? Age-proof your skin by eating lots of hues, try:

  • Tomatoes and red bell peppers. Red vegetables contain lycopene, which provides a bit of sunscreen protection.
  • Sweet potatoes and carrots. Orange vegetables contain beta-carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A, an effective skin smoother and acne fighter.
  • Blueberries, kiwis, oranges, and strawberries. These are high in vitamin C, which protect the collagen layer from damage.
  • Kale, collard greens, spinach. Good sources of vit A and E; acne sufferers have been found to have lower blood levels of these vitamins than people with clearer complexions.

A word on supplements 

If you take antioxidant supplements to cover your nutritional basis then consider this withering message on the website of the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: “Large, long-term studies funded primarily by NIH have generally found that antioxidant supplements have no beneficial effects.” The only two supplements with well-established health benefits, to date, are omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D (not an antioxidant, unlike vitamins A, C, and E.). If you’re not a big fish eater  – all you need is two portions a week to boost brain health, and skin suppleness – experts recommend taking omega-3s every day. And vitamin D, an immune system regulator, is essential because most people don’t get enough of it through diet alone.

 





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