The new trend towards aging celebrates health, vibrancy and natural beauty. Hallelujah!
We had to get off that hamster wheel of a few years ago when women were encouraged to keep chasing a younger and younger look with regular visits to the cosmetic surgeon.
It was a race that would never be won. The nips, tucks, pulls and over-the-top injections made one crease less and tight but always looked a little ‘off’. There was a certain sadness to it all and feelings of self betrayal for those scrambling to stay ‘young’. With poster girls like model Yasmina Rossi leading the way we can now embrace subtle, natural and holistic ways to keep ourselves healthy and our beauty ageless.
We look to food choices as one of the best anti-aging and health strategies. We try to do all the right things, eat fresh fruits and vegetables, drink more water, eat less meat, watch fat and sugar intake. But there are some hidden health destroyers that may be sabotaging the good we’re doing and speeding up the aging process.
The Saboteurs Unmasked
THE SUGAR TRAP
The amount of sugar present in your daily food intake might surprise you. Hidden sugars are lurking in ‘healthy’ foods like flavored yogurt, breakfast bars, smoothies, dried fruit, tomato sauce, bread, salad dressing and crackers. The dangers of sugar have long been known, especially in the area of diabetes or heart disease, so it’s important to keep a vigilant look-out for how much sugar you actually consume.
A study recently conducted in the UK showed that high blood sugar levels are contributing factors to accelerated aging. The results of the study showed that the higher your blood sugar/ glucose level is, the more likely you are to look more aged compared to other people who have lower levels of sugar in their blood.
This is believed to be caused by the fact that high blood sugar levels translate to more sugar in your system that will bind itself to collagen, thereby causing the collagen to lose its flexibility and to constrict. This is important because collagen is a very beneficial protein that naturally aids in keeping your skin looking and feeling young. High blood sugar levels also cause a reduction in insulin production which speeds up aging.
Sugar be gone!
NOT ALL OILS ARE CREATED EQUAL
Many people assume that vegetable oil is a good cooking oil. The truth is, all vegetable oils can increase the rate at which you age.
Due to the highly perishable nature of vegetable oils, they are prone to undergo “oxidation,” a chemical reaction that, when consumed and introduced to your body, can cause up to 60 different illnesses or conditions that accelerate aging. This is because “free radicals,” which are the wild, uncontrolled molecules in your body, attack and age healthy cells in your body, resulting in the release of oxygen.
Vegetable oils also usually contain an overload of omega-6 fats, which, in moderation, are usually a good thing for your body and your health, but when taken in excess results in the increased risk of acquiring dreaded diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, arthritis, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
What’s the best oil to use? Try extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil.
LET’S CALL IT WHAT IT IS — JUNK
The fact that snack food, junk food and soda are bad for health isn’t news. Recent studies, have uncovered yet another reason to drop the snack habit.
Studies have found the high amounts of phosphate, in snack food, soda and all processed food, vastly accelerate rate of aging. This manifests as wrinkles and spots on the skin and also with dangerous complications that come with an aging body. Tested on groups of mice, it was found that those who had an imbalance of phosphate in their system lived up to only half as long (8-15 weeks) as those who did not have a heavy presence of phosphate in their diet (20 weeks).
It’s time to finally junk all forms of junk and processed food and stop calling it ‘food’. Think of it this way…paper would actually be a healthier ‘food’ than junk ‘food’. Would you consider sitting down to nice plate of sauteed paper? Hardly. Dump all the junk and stick to fresh, natural whole food ingredients.
While it’s good to know which foods are beneficial to health and which foods are not, sometimes this isn’t enough. It is also important to know how to cook food. Cooking food at a higher temperature, no matter how healthy, organic, or natural it is, can actually make your food unhealthy and increase the speed of aging.
This is because of Advanced Glycation End products (also known as A.G.E.s) which are substances and compounds which can increase chronic inflammation and contribute to heart disease and other complications. A.G.E.s are already commonly present in sugary, processed, or browned foods, and have the particular reaction of forming at a greater rate in the food that you eat when you cook food at higher temperatures. However, the buildup of A.G.E.s can be easily negated by cooking your food at a lower temperature over an extended period of time. Preparing your meats and foods with an acidic component like a marinade will also reduce the appearance of A.G.E.s. Using more water-based methods of cooking such as boiling, poaching, stewing, braising or steaming helps as well.
TELOMERES THAT ARE GOING, GOING…GONE
Telomeres may not be a familiar term to most of us, but we should know how important they are to our health and longevity. Telomeres act as a sort of “cap” at the ends of our DNA strands which prevent the strands from unraveling and dying. As we age, our telomeres slowly and gradually decrease and decrease, acting as indicators of our age and well-being.
When these telomeres are barely there, the cells and DNA unravel and our body grows older and unhealthier. In many ways, telomeres can be seen as a fuse which begins shortening from the beginning of our lives.
Making sure that our telomeres are not unnecessarily wasted is simply exercising good judgment. Studies have shown that eating processed meats and foods can decrease the lifespan of our telomeres by up to 14 years. What we can do to extent the length of our telomeres is to: control and reduce stress, exercise regularly, practice meditation and yoga, and eat a range of foods fresh healthy foods. There is a way we can expand the longevity of our telomeres and that is by eating organically vegan. This is because telomerase, enzymes which help repair our telomeres, and telomerase activity are significantly encouraged and boosted by a whole-foods plant-based diet. Doing so not only helps deter the aging process, but impedes the occurrence of debilitating conditions and diseases associated with age. Here’s 7 ways to slow down the shortening of telomeres.
VIBRANT HEALTHY AGING
Aging is a process that we can’t stop or halt. However, we can slow it down if we arm ourselves with accurate knowledge and take proper steps. With knowledge and positive action, we can gracefully age in a way that is vibrant, healthy and truly beautiful.
Adopt a healthy eating plan with wide plant base. I love this cookbook – ‘Oh She Glows’ by Angela Liddon. Check out her website for recipes and fabulous tips for super healthy eating.
The average adult woman is 55% water – drink lots of water to keep cells hydrated and healthy.
Eliminate all sugar and processed foods.
Cook with olive and coconut oil.
To keep telomeres long, destress your life, exercise regularly, eat fish 2x’s per week or take a fish oil supplement, get out in the sun or take a vitamin D supplement and maintain a healthy weight.
Embrace your radiance, vitality and divine sensuousness.
What are you doing to age in a healthy vibrant way? Please share in the comments below.
PS/Pass this along to all the women you know so they may be well informed and on the path to graceful, beautiful aging. Check out Five Strategies for Aging Well.