Foods that protect against premature ageing
Growing older has many advantages, such as gaining experience and wisdom. However, many people fear losing their looks. But how important is our appearance really? Well, this study done by the University of Edinburgh revealed that “age of face, as rated from facial photographs, was a significant predictor of mortality”. Which means the younger we look, the healthier we probably are.
One way we can maintain our healthy glow and vitality as we get older is by eating foods that support good health. Here’s a closer look at skin‑loving foods to include in your diet, and the 1 food you should avoid:
Fruit and veges
Nutrient dense foods such as fruit and vegetables protect our skin because they contain antioxidants that slow down the free radical damage behind ageing. Our bodies create free radicals (otherwise known as oxidants) to neutralise viruses and bacteria, and environmental stressors such as pollution, cigarette smoke and other toxic chemicals. If there are more free radicals in the body than there are antioxidants to neutralise them, the excess free radicals damage our cells, leading to inflammation, which is the no.1 cause of premature ageing.
Omega 3’s are good fats that help the skin to retain moisture and consequently reduce the development of line and wrinkles. You can find Omega 3’s in nuts, chia seeds, salmon, avocados and flaxseed oil.
Ginger is a great digestive aid, which is good for supporting your natural beauty: it encourages the gallbladder to release bile, stimulating digestion and helping with the assimilation of nutrients from the food we eat. Ginger also contains around 40 antioxidant properties, including vitamin C, which lessen free radical damage. Plus, ginger is also anti‑inflammatory and anti-microbial, which can help to keep your skin glowing.
Curcumin, the bright yellow pigment in tumeric, has strong antioxidant properties which inhibits free radical damage and slows down ageing. Turmeric also helps to stimulate new cell growth, boosting resilience and firmness.
Our skin is nearly 80% collagen, and together with another protein, elastin, it provides the skin’s firmness and elasticity. Clinical trials have shown that patients who take collagen experience a decrease in wrinkles and an improvement in skin hydration.
This trial showed a 20% reduction in wrinkles around the eye area from only 8 weeks of collagen supplementation. The anti-wrinkle effects actually lasted for at least a month after the subjects stopped taking collagen.
Another trial in 2014 found that taking collagen daily over the course of 12 weeks led to a reduction in skin dryness and wrinkles. The researchers also observed a sizeable increase in collagen within the skin dermis.
Steer clear of sugar
The number 1 food to avoid is sugar! It can damage the skin via a process called glycation. When there is sugar in the bloodstream it attaches to proteins and produces harmful free radicals called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). As AGEs accumulate they damage the proteins around them, including collagen and elastin. AGEs causes collagen and elastin to become dry and stiff, causing fine lines, sagging and wrinkles.
Because metabolising sugar uses water, high blood sugar can also lead to dehydration and cause the skin to dry out and then the body produces more oil to combat the dryness. Sugar also inhibits water binding so your skin, making it look less plump and dulls the complexion.
So, go ahead and cut back on your sugar intake and up your intake of beneficial foods instead—your body will appreciate it!
Find out more: 5 anti-ageing tips