Written by: Nature’s Superfoods Team
Retinol, Resveratrol B, anti-aging masks, and firming creams – these are just a few of the hundreds of “solutions” that promise to keep our skin looking supple. With everyone, both men and women, chasing for the fountain of youth, it comes as no surprise that the beauty industry is tapping on this ever-growing market to churn out beauty products. Blatantly making claims on their ability to reverse aging and signs of it, thousands are going down the anti-aging rabbit hole. From Botox to hide wrinkles to overnight creams that stimulate collagen production, can what we put on our bodies really slow down the process of maturing?
What exactly is aging? It is simply the process of becoming older. As we go through this, deterioration of both cognitive and physical health are biological effects. Inevitable by nature, this process can only be decelerated. Since it cannot be stopped entirely, there is no such thing as “anti-aging” per se. So, how can you slow it down?
How to Slow Aging Naturally
Several genetic and environmental factors contribute to aging. For example, oxidative stress caused by pollution, smoking, and alcohol consumption can damage cells beyond repair. But making certain lifestyle and dietary changes can help reduce oxidative stress and facilitate the return to homeostasis. Numerous studies have shown that exercise and eating well are key drivers of slowing the effects of aging. Running for just 5 to 10 minutes a day can add 3-years to life expectancy. And, following a diet packed with fruits, vegetables and good fats, while avoiding saturated fats, trans fats, refined sugars & refined carbohydrates is key to our general well-being, both physically and mentally.
The Key to a Youthful Appearance
It is a given that many people are focused on their external appearance. Just like everyone else, if your goal is to achieve optimal skin health, you have to start with what goes into the body. Your health and your age are reflected in your skin. Follow a healthy, balanced diet and inculcate good habits like cleansing your skin thoroughly at night and using sunblock to protect your skin against sun damage. Also, be sure to avoid smoking, limit alcohol consumption, exercise regularly and get sufficient quality sleep. By doing so, you’ll be fighting aging inside-out.
Foods to Avoid When on an Anti-Aging Journey
While smoking, drinking alcohol excessively, and sun damage have been long known to accelerate the breakdown of skin elasticity, researchers and dermatologists are constantly looking into specific foods that trigger aging. Here are some foods that could be the reason behind those fine lines, wrinkles, and blotchy skin:
1. Deep Fried Foods
Deep-fried food always hits the spot, but at the same time, it can release free radicals that cause cellular damage. Beyond weakening the skin’s elasticity, the salt that is often added to these foods will draw water out, cause dehydration, and make your skin more prone to wrinkling. The next time you find yourself indulging in some French fries or fried chicken (hopefully not too often!), note to drink lots of water, and enjoy antioxidant-rich fruits/vegetables at the same time. Antioxidants help fight excessive free radicals in your body.
2. Refined Sugar
The most vilified ingredient, and rightfully so, sugar and sweeteners are by far the top culprits for aging. Think of commercially produced cakes, pastries, sweetened snacks, etc. These may be ‘comforting’ foods; however, they contribute to the formation of collagen-damaging AGEs (Advanced Glycation and End products) that stiffen the skin’s elastic fibres and prematurely age them. To prevent this, start training your palate to appreciate naturally sweet foods like fruits, dried apricots, dried mulberries, honey, or create your own desserts using unrefined healthier ingredients such as organic coconut sugar.
Anti-Aging Foods to Add to Your Diet
As mentioned, there is only so much an expensive face serum or moisturiser can do. When we switch up our diet to include antioxidant-rich foods, healthy fats, and essential nutrients, the largest organ in your body, your skin, will thank you. Here’s how you can slow aging with foods.
1. Dark Chocolate
Good-quality dark chocolates have polyphenols, specifically flavanols, that act as antioxidants and possess anti-inflammatory properties. They also induce the release of nitric oxide that promotes heart health. Instead of grabbing a chocolate bar, opt for organic cacao nibs to munch on or whip up a smoothie containing organic cacao powder.
Honey boosts cytokine production, fighting off pathogens and protecting your body from infections. You can even use it as a face mask to rejuvenate the skin and boost resistance to harmful pollutants present in the air.
Fruits like blueberries, pineapples, lemons, limes, oranges, pomegranates, and watermelons are extremely beneficial. Pineapple has a generous amount of magnesium, fibre, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, and phosphorous that supports the heart, brain, and immune system. Citrus fruits that are generally high in Vitamin C can also improve the appearance of wrinkles and dull skin. Rather than incorporating individual food sources and nutrients, take things up a notch and consider a plant-based diet. Some studies show that picking up a vegan diet can protect your cells’ DNA structure.
4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
A must-have in every diet, omega-3 fatty acids are one of the supplements that slow the key biological process linked to aging. It reduces oxidative stress caused by excess free radicals in the blood. Add this to a stress-free lifestyle where one exercises regularly and practises mindfulness, and youthful-looking skin will be yours to boast for years to come.