Looking for anti-aging dietary remedies is nothing new. If you dig into history you’ll find plenty of bizarre examples. In ancient China it was thought that eating foods related to long-lived animals and plants would help you live longer. Naturally the advice was to eat tortoise soup, crane eggs and the products made of pines and cypresses. It wasn’t much better in Europe either. How about ingesting small quantities of pearl, coral and gold to preserve innate moisture and reduce wrinkles? Or breath of a virgin recommended for old men?
In twenty-first century we still get a lot of contradicting advice and some of it might be almost as bizarre as ingesting gold. In this article we will look at official scientifically-proven advice, which might be not exactly what you want to hear but is helpful nevertheless.
Does diet affect skin wrinkling?
A study concluded more than 10 years ago (you can see the official document here) looked at the degree of wrinkling of sun-exposed skin in subjects of Greek, Swedish and British ancestry living in different parts of the world and eating different diet. The correlated data showed that those who ate more olive oil, vegetables, legumes and fish and less butter and margarine had less skin damage. On the other hand those who ate more meat, dairy products and butter displayed more aging signs than the other group.
The easiest way to get started with anti-aging diet is to eat five to ten servings of fruit and vegetables daily. While taking supplements is a great idea, it is hard to reproduce the full effects of a given nutrients through supplements. First of all, many vitamins aren’t one single substance, but rather families of related substances. Second, nutrients work synergy. Most often it is a combination of nutrients that has anti-aging and health benefits. Combining supplements and a good diet will get you the best results.
Sugar and Aging
While carbohydrates are necessary for the proper body functioning, you must make sure that most of carbohydrates in your diet have low glycemic index. This type of carbohydrates keeps your blood-sugar levels stable. The most popular carbohydrates – white bread, sugary cereals, cookies, pizza, cakes, and other processed foods – all contain high-glycemic carbohydrates that result into high blood sugar levels.
High blood sugar levels literally destroy your skin’s cells and tissues. When you eat something like sugary cereals or cookies glucose reacts with skin proteins (collagen and elastin are proteins) it causes abnormal cross-linking of collagen. This process causes tissues to harden and lose their flexibility. This abnormal cross-linking is a major factor in appearance of wrinkles and other skin issues. Keep in mind that collagen is present in all types of tissues, which means that this process will also contribute to many other health problems. However this is beyond the scope of this article.
The solution is to go low-glycemic. Use glycemic index table to make your food choices. In addition add three servings of whole grains per day. Not only whole grains have low-glycemic index they also help improve glucose metabolism.
Note: some high-glycemic foods such as honey have numerous health benefits and shouldn’t be avoided. Sugar, white bread, pizzas and cakes cannot compare to the goodness of natural honey and shouldn’t be put in the same line.
Controlled Saturated Fats
Excessive amounts of saturated fats are thought to promote inflammation. Inflammation increases levels of free radicals in the body, accelerating aging. Saturated fats are found in animal products, such as beef, poultry, milk and butter. While we will never tell you to avoid these products altogether for they have obvious health benefits, remember that moderation is the key.
Your Anti-aging Ingredients – Unsaturated Fats
Omega-3 essential acids containing in polyunsaturated fats are vital for your skin health. A lack of Omega-3 may manifest as dry skin, cracked nails and dry hair. On the other hand monosaturated fats are important for your general health and should be the primary source of fat in your diet.
Protein Foods and Anti-Aging
Proteins are important for your body’s repair and maintenance functions. Your body proteins function as hormones, enzymes, and antibodies. Collagen and elastin are proteins too. The body makes most of its proteins from amino acids. Some amino acids are produced by the body itself, while some others can be only obtained from your diet. This means that you have to include some plant and animal protein into your diet to get most of anti-aging and health effects. Eggs, fish, beans and soy foods are good examples of healthy anti-aging foods you want to include in your diet.
The Role of Water in Anti-aging
Pure water is the best drink you could possibly have. Water also helps hydrate your skin from inside out, which makes it a natural preventive against wrinkles. You can learn more about importance of water in anti-aging here.