Stay younger and live longer
Everyone wants to look younger, stay younger and live longer. Without too much effort you could be on your way to making these things happen.
The omega-3 fats which are found in oily fish such as mackerel and salmon, are needed for healthy cell membranes, and to act as a barrier and help cells hold on to moisture, so by increasing these means you are encouraging plumper, younger-looking skin. A lack of omega-3s may result in dry, flaky, lifeless skin. If you don’t like fish, then walnuts, pumpkin seeds and green leafy vegetables are also good sources.
A study found that the more people weigh, the older the biological age of their body, with obesity adding the equivalent of nearly nine years to a person’s body. Fat cells are thought to hasten the ageing processes, as well as increase the risk of health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and certain cancers.
Researchers have found that red wine has anti-ageing properties, due to a high content of procyanidins (which keep blood vessels healthy) and resveratrol, which activates the SIRT1 anti-ageing gene. This said, consuming more units than the Government guidelines can make you look older than your years. This is partly due to alcohol’s dehydrating effects on skin, but it also damages parts of cells linked to premature ageing and cancer. So in moderation, of course.
In a Chinese study, people who drank three or more cups of green tea daily were found to be biologically five years younger than those who drank less than a cup a day. It has been found that extract of green tea inhibits the accumulation of AGEs (Advanced Glycation End products), associated with ageing.
AGEs are oxidants that corrode our body the way rust damages metal if it’s allowed to build up. AGEs form when food browns – during roasting, frying, grilling and barbecuing – as sugars and proteins react together with heat. Instead, bake, boil, stew or steam your food. If you really want to grill it, use lemon juice in marinades (which reduces AGE formation) and don’t overcook it.
Berries and walnuts are rich in polyphenols, which are antioxidant compounds that help prevent sugar from attaching to proteins to form AGEs. So help yourself to fruits such as raspberries, cherries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, oranges, plus walnuts and red peppers.
You should avoid processed trans fats found in hydrogenated oils as they interfere with cell function and cause inflammation, oxidation and hormonal imbalance. They’ve also been linked to depression, heart disease, raising bad cholesterol and lowering good, and increasing the risk of degenerative diseases. They can be found in some processed foods such as cakes, fast food, ice cream and oils for deep frying. Beware ingredient labels that lists hydrogenated oils or fats.
The three vitamins that are great for anti-ageing are vitamins A, C and E and these are best got from food rather than supplements.
Carrots, peppers and butternut squash are full of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that prevents cell damage and converts to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is involved in making new skin cells, so a deficiency can mean dull skin. You’ll also find it in cantaloupe, mango, apricots, spinach, watercress and broccoli.
This helps to build collagen, which keeps skin looking younger. Its antioxidant properties also neutralise free radicals that damage cells. In a UK study of 4,025 women, those with higher vitamin C intake were less likely to develop wrinkles. Find it in kiwi fruit, oranges, raspberries, strawberries and peppers.
A good intake of vitamin E helps prevent and limit damage caused by free radicals and oxidation. It also protects skin from sun damage caused by UV-generated free radicals and helps it retain moisture, making it look younger. Best sources are nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables.