It's no secret that I'm 26. Kidding, I'm 28. Okay, okay I'm 36 - my real age. I know women don't love disclosing their age but I've actually learned to embrace mine. Sort of.
Getting older is an interesting phenomenon. But it doesn't have to be a painful one as our culture so often portrays. I'm not immune to what social media is showing me. Seeing beautiful women in their 20s with not a dimple of cellulite on their perfect thighs or a wrinkle in sight around their eyes does have an effect on me. I think it does on everyone. But I'm a firm believer that one can age gracefully if one is kind to their minds and bodies without having to break the bank on anti aging creams or going under the knife.
Part of me feels slightly vain for even writing this piece because looks are not everything but the truth is we all want to look and feel better...not 20, but better. I don't always wear makeup and like to feel good in my own skin on a daily basis. When I eat like shit, I feel it everywhere, including on my skin. So I wanted to look at certian foods that can help keep us look and feel healthy.
But first let us look at what foods have a negative impact on us and actually speed up the aging process.
Foods that speed up aging process
Sugar - It should come as no surprise to anyone that sugar isn't good for us. "The effect of sugars on aging skin is governed by the simple act of covalently cross-linking two collagen fibers, which renders both of them incapable of easy repair. Glucose and fructose link the amino acids present in the collagen and elastin that support the dermis, producing advanced glycation end products or "AGEs."
Excess alcohol - If you've been following me for a while, you know that I'm a big wine lover. But just because I'm a wine lover, doesn't mean I drink in excess. I generally have one glass of wine a day, sometimes 2 and on special occasions more. But drinking in excess regularly can burden the liver causing a buildup of toxins which ultimately tax the whole body including our skin. Not to mention the dehydration that comes as a result of excess drinking.
Charred meat - I used to like charred meat and never much minded the black stuff, but evidently my skin did. When we consume the charred part of meat, it causes an inflammatory responses in the body which ultimately spills out onto our skin.
Processed meats: Most meats that have been processed contain preservatives, sulfites and high amounts of salt, which lead to inflammation of the skin. If you're going to eat processed meat, be sure to look for organic and least processed with no added preservatives.
Trans fats - By June, 2018 you likely will not find trans fats on most grocery store shelves. Manufacturers have to eliminate all partially hydrogenated oils from their products, but in the mean time, they're still out there so read labels and best of all stay away from them. Trans fats lead to inflammation and accelerate UV-radiation-induced oxidative damage on skin.
You probably knew about most of those as being not so great for skin health so now let's have a look last some of foods you can eat that can potentially slow the skin's aging process.
What are anti-aging foods?
Blueberries: These are of the best anti-inflammatory and anti aging foods you can eat for skin health. They're packed with antioxidants and flavonoids.
Almonds: Are high in vitamin E which helps to keep skin looking tight and firm. The more collagen and elastin break down in your skin, the more at risk you are of developing fine lines and wrinkles.
Avocados: Another food I've discussed at length in many posts. Avocado contains glutathione which acts as an anti-aging agent as it protects cells from oxidation. "Glutathione is a tripeptide consisting of cysteine, glycine, and glutamate and functions as a major antioxidant."
Pomegranate: This is one of the most potent antioxidant sources and one often referenced when talking about heart health. But the juice of these little seeds contains serious antioxidant properties, it's also beneficial for wound healing and it is rich in "flavonoids, anthocyanins, punicic acid and alkaloids."
Collagen: If you want healthy, robust skin, collagen is something you may want to incorporate into your diet. Studies show that consuming collagen improves's skin's moisture as well as elasticity.
Turmeric: One of the biggest contributors to aging quicker is chronic inflammation. Turmeric however has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Since turmeric is poorly absorbed in the blood stream, it's recommended that it always be taken in conjunction with pepper, which helps it become more bioavailable.
Green tea: Contains high levels of oligomeric proanthocyanidins, which are very powerful antioxidants, therefore aiding in slowing down premature aging of skin. Many skin care products contain green tea which has a topical effect as well by reducing inflammation.
Salmon: Selenium is a mineral that helps support skin elasticity. Salmon, along with other fish and Brazil nuts are some of the richest sources of selenium. Additionally, salmon is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation. "Also, the carotenoid anti-oxidants of astaxanthin found in salmon can greatly reduce the effects of free radical damage which causes aging."
Bone broth: Rarely do I skip a day of drinking bone broth. It's one of the best things you can consume for overall health. But bone broth has remarkable benefits for skin health as well. It is rich in collagen, which I've previously discussed, but also contains glycine, gelatin, proline and glutamine. If you want several ways to make your own bone broth, check out these recipes.
Using anti-agin products can help temporarily, but taking care of yourself from the inside out by consuming the right foods, will make all the difference in the long run. In addition to these foods, keeping skin hydrated by consuming ample amounts of water during the day, will improve everything from digestion to skin health.
Yes, it does take work eating for skin health but incorporating some of these foods into your diet may make a significant impact in the way you feel and the way you look.