So much of how we age has to do with what we eat. So if lackluster skin is getting you down, it may be time to arm yourself with some quality food – rather than expensive face cream – to change all that, writes Emma-Charlotte Bangay.
What we eat has an enormous impact on how we age, so a poor diet can only equate to an ageing body – and the diseases that come with it such as heart disease, declining kidney function and diabetes.
”A typical western diet definitely contributes to wrinkles and other beauty problems including cellulite, dry hair and brittle fingernails,” explains Karen Fischer, a nutritionist and author of several books including Healthy Skin Diet who specializes in skin health and beauty. She says the biggest edible beauty saboteurs are dairy products and red meat.
“According to a study of 2000 people over the age of 70 participants who frequently ate red meat or dairy products had more skin wrinkling than those who rarely consumed them,” she says. “This could be due to wrinkle-promoting molecules called advanced glycation end products – appropriately referred to as AGEs or AGE – as the richest sources are from red meat, cheese and deli meats.”
5 Most Ageing Foods:
Dairy products, red meat, burnt foods; butter/margarine and sugar are amongst the most ageing foods as they cause an accumulation of AGE molecules in your body, Karen explains. “AGEs cause damage by attaching and cross-linking with collagen and elastin fibres which renders them incapable of easy repair,” she explains. This contributes significantly to superficial ageing –wrinkles – but also more sinister signs of age including diabetes, heart disease and other internal and external signs of ageing.
10 Best Foods To Fight Ageing:
A German study found that diabetics who took an anthocyanin supplement daily for two months had a reduction in abnormal collagen production, Karen notes, adding that “foods are just as effective,” as supplements. “Anthocyanin-rich foods supply purple, red and black pigments which fight AGE molecules and protect the skin from UV radiation if consumed daily,” she explains. Think blueberries and purple salad leaves, along with other AGE fighters including limes, lemons, cinnamon, cloves and kumatoes – a type of tomato, which is blackish in colour. “Foods which are naturally low in harmful AGE molecules include fruits and vegetables, and wholegrain such rolled oats,” Karen adds.
More Tips To Turning Back Time:
o Drinking water is incredible to smooth out fine lines and the hydrating effects become more apparent as you age, assures Karen. “You’ll need about 8 glasses of water daily to ward of dehydrated skin, which is a common cause of premature wrinkles, especially on the chest and face.” Fresh vegetable juices are also a brilliant addition to liquid skin benefits
o Decrease levels of AGE molecules by eating a healthy diet (preferably avoiding red meat and dairy) and use low-AGE cooking methods.
o Steer clear of burnt anything – burnt toast, charcoaled or fried meats etc.
o Avoid white stuff – sugar, refined breads – and swap them for deep purple and red foods, which are rich in anthocyanins such as fruits and red quinoa.
o Marinate your meats with homemade marinades that contain tomato, lemon or spices as they reduce AGE molecule formation and they taste delicious.
Super Simple Age Defying Recipe:
This is a low-AGE breakfast recipe from another of Karen’s books, Younger Skin in 28 Days
Photo: Omega Muesli Recipe from Younger Skin in 28 Days
¾ cup rolled oats
1-teaspoon whole linseeds/flaxseeds
Almond milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)
¼ cup blueberries
3 chopped raw almonds
Dash of ground cinnamon
Place oats and linseeds into a bowl with enough water to cover and tightly cover with plastic wrap. Leave on the bench overnight (do not refrigerate).
The next morning, drain off the water using a strainer; rinse the oats and linseeds with filtered water and place into a serving bowl.
Add almond milk or non-dairy milk of choice and top with blueberries, chopped almonds and cinnamon.