Remember that old adage, “You are what you eat!” Through science and technology, we have realized that this is ABSOLUTELY TRUE! Everything you eat gets broken down into tiny particles that become the building blocks for your hair, skin, fingernails, organs, etc. If you are eating poorly, then you are giving your body poor nutrients with which to heal and rebuild your body with. Processed foods high in sugars and bad fats, like hydrogenated oils, cause inflammation, which can lead to body aches, red, dry itchy skin, rosacea, eczema, dehydration, and a dull, flaky complexion. These foods also do nothing for your energy, so you’ll feel older faster. Finally, foods with poor nutrient quality give your body nothing to help repair it to keep you looking young, vibrant, fresh, or youthful. Poor nutrition will cause you will look older sooner and feel the effects of aging more quickly too. Aging may not be completely preventable, but we can certainly do it gracefully.
Some people believe that a good anti-aging skincare routine will help reduce the look of lines and wrinkles. This is only partially true. Consider the fact that skin has multiple layers starting with the hypodermis or subcutaneous tissue, the fatty tissue below the skin.; the next layer of the skin is the dermis, the vascularized part of the skin containing veins and capillaries, finally, we have the the epidermis, the part of the skin everyone sees. Topical skincare products, like those in an anti-aging cream, only work on the epidermis of the skin. That layer of skin is primarily composed of dead skin cells structured with collagen. These cells flake off throughout the day.
Most anti-aging creams do not make it much past the epidermis, so the treatment is only superficial and short term. The epidermis is constantly replenished by the dermis, which is the living tissue that receives vitamins and nutrients from the blood stream. This is where the idea comes from that, “Good skin comes from within.” If the dermis of the skin is constantly being fed healthy nutrients and vitamins to replenish itself, then the body will have to building blocks to create healthy cells and build things like collagen: collagen is what gives skin structure—wrinkles are partially caused by collagen breakdown. A nourished, healthy dermis will lead strong collagen and a replenished healthy epidermis that will cause your skin to be radiant, dewy, and to have a beautiful glow. Healthy blood carrying nutrients and good hydration give the skin its vibrant, youthful color. Further, by the time the dermis layer reaches the epidermis of the skin, it will not look like the dry scales of a snake shedding by the time it gets there because the cells would have been in optimal shape. The top layer of the skin is constantly replenished with dead skin cells from the dermal layer, so it makes sense that having a healthy interior leads to a healthy exterior. So what kinds of nutrients do we need to age better? Let’s take a look at some of the top ones.
1) WATER : Water is the life giving resource for ALL living things. It is so important that when our scientists are looking at our galaxy (or any object in space), the first thing they do after they find something new is to look for water regardles of whether it’s a planet, a moon, or an asteroid rock! Recently, our government spent billions of dollars to send a probe to Mars with one of the main objectives being that it search for sign of water because water means life! If that isn’t enough to convince you water is important, then keep in mind the basics that humans are nearly 2/3 water. We need water to keep our blood flowing freely, which in turn carries nutrients to every cell in our whole body. Further, we need water for nearly every chemical reaction to occur in the body. Drink your eight-8oz glasses of water per day. I can’t say it enough. Drink more if you’re working out or it’s a hot day and you’re sweating. Clean, filtered water that is more alkaline is the best. You can filter your own water, buy an alkalizing water filter to achieve this, or drink bottled water (please recycle the plastic). My favorite bottle waters are Essentia, Icelandic, and Fiji waters because they are more alkaline and support healthy pH in the body.
2) Cuciferous vegetables: Cuciferous vegetables include things like broccoli, cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts. They are vegetables that contain sulfur compounds that are necessary for healthy blood flow and proper DNA transcription and replication. Healthy DNA replication is necessary to create healthy gene expression, which is a mandatory part of preventing severe health issues and of preventing cancer. The older we get, the more times our DNA has been replicated in each new cell. Proper nutrients can help to ensure that the body and DNA has all the necessary ingredients needed to recreate itself in each new cell.
3) Protein: I’m not saying go overboard on animal protein, but protein (either from animals or vegetables) is necessary in every part of cell creation including collagen and elastin production, muscle healing, and supporting connective tissue. Connective tissue is all throughout the body and helps your body and skin keep shape. Strong connective tissue includes collagen and elastin and helps prevent injury, drooping, and skin sagging.
4) Good fats: I could do a whole blog on this, but I’ll try to keep it simple here. Good fats give your body essential fatty acids it needs to help with cellular creation and brain health. These include: monounsaturated fats like olive oil and sesame oil, Oleic acids, from avocado oils, butter, and eggs, as well as, alpha-linoleic acids found in Omega-3 fatty acids from fish, chia seeds, and walnuts. Good fats not only give the body satiation cues so it knows that it has eaten, but they also prevent inflammation and support a healthy heart and a healthy brain. There’s nothing more anti-aging than having all of your “faculties” in order and a healthy heart. Nutritional fact: It is absolutely imperative to avoid trans fats. These have been correlated with a number of health issues from obesity and high cholesterol to high blood pressure and heart disease. Just say no to these nasty fats.
5) Dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher) and Green Tea: Um yes! They are delicious and high in antioxidants. Food high in antioxidants decrease aging from the inside out by bonding with free radicals and toxins in the body so they do minimal harm. Oxidative stress caused by free radicals in the body leads to blood that can be more acidic and cause inflammation. This is a factor in autoimmune diseases and faster aging. Other foods that have high amounts of antioxidants are blueberries, raspberries, citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, and heirloom tomatoes...just to name a few of my favorites. Eating these will help move the body toward becoming more alkaline, and decrease internal stresses that cause aging.
6) Foods high in vitamin A and beta-carotene: Beta-carotene is the inactive form of Vitamin A. Vitmin A is also known as retinol. It is a great support for the skin, hair, vision, and neurological function. It is responsible for keeping the skin firm and strong in the deep layers. It helps with cellular structure and skin firmness by supporting cells in the dermal layer. In addition, beta-carotene found in orange vegetables, like carrots and yellow and orange bell peppers, gives the skin a healthy golden undertone. Active Vitamin A can be found in eggs, grass fed beef, and grass fed dairy, while the inactive beta-carotene that gets turned into Vitamin A can be found in yellow/orange bell peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, and yams.
So here are my top 6 favorite nutrient tips for anti-aging. I really could go on and on, but the key really is drink plenty of water, eat whole non-processed food, and get your vitamins and nutrients by eating a wide variety of natural foods. Here’s to your health and your anti-aging protocol getting a bump through nutrition.
If you’d like a skincare consultation or a nutritional consultation, please feel free to call and make an appointment to learn how I can help you in your anti-aging protocol and on your health journey.