There are plenty of natural rejuvenating methods that leave you looking young and beautiful without resulting to high tech anti-aging products, cosmetic surgery and quick fix procedures such as Botox.  The right diet, exercise, nutritional and herbal supplements and mental techniques can all help you look and feel younger than your age.  Lets focus on diet in this issue.

A healthy, balanced diet full of fresh vitamin-packed produce, lean proteins and healthy oils is key to a youthful, radiant skin. Antioxidant nutrients such as vitamins A, C and E and phytochemicals such as flavonoids found in fruits and vegetables help combat aging caused by free radicals. Your diet should consist of lots of fruits and vegetables. But one of the most exciting new areas of anti-aging research is the discovery that certain foods – such as red meats, fried foods, refined sugars and processed foods – accelerate ageing because they have a damaging inflammatory effect. You should avoid these foods or eat them in moderation if you want to have a youthful looking skin.

Abnormal inflammation, which can be trigged by certain foods such as red meats and refined foods, occurs when the inflammatory process spreads out of control, targeting normal tissues and promoting disease and ageing rather than healing. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet will help keep wrinkles at bay, as well as safeguard your health. You will find below a guide to what an inflammatory diet should consist of and what you should avoid. Try and follow this diet as much as you can.

Reducing sugar intake is another key to youthful looking skin. Many nutritionists believe sugar ages skin as much as smoking, leaving it dull and saggy. High levels of sugar promote glycation (a chemical reaction between glucose and protein), and the production of compounds that damage body structures and distort functions. Experts say this is a probable cause for premature aging. Reduce the amount of sugar you take in tea, porridge and cereals. Watch out for hidden sugars in processed foods and refined carbohydrates that produce rapid increase in blood sugar. Cakes, biscuits, bread and other bakery products contain a lot of sugar and its best if you remove them from your diet or take very little. Regular exercise can help burn off excess sugar so make it part of your lifestyle.

Very low-fat diets as those eaten by people on a weight loss diet can lead to dull, dry and prematurely wrinkled skin. Healthy fats and oils, such as olive oil and oily fish, provide essential anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients for your skin. Ensure you eat enough healthy protein from oily fish and legumes. If you stick to a diet rich in high quality protein, such as salmon, for a few weeks, your skin will start to look more toned and lifted.

The anti-inflammatory diet

This anti-inflammatory, anti-aging diet will help keep your skin looking fresh and youthful.

Eat more…

  • Fresh organic food.
  • Vegetables and fruit. The following are particularly rich in antioxidants: broccoli, spinach, prunes, raspberries, blueberries, papaya, sweet potato and cabbage. Also, eat more strongly coloured fruits and vegetables such as those that have deep reds, purples, oranges and yellows, as they are all packed with phytonutrients.
  • Sprouts, such as alfalfa and mung beans that are rich in beneficial enzymes.
  • Wholegrain such as brown rice, millet and quinoa.
  • Seeds such as pumpkin, sesame, linseed, and sunflower.
  • Nuts.
  • Oily fish such as mackerel, sardines, black cod and salmon, which are rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 oils.
  • Soya products.
  • Legumes (beans, lentils).
  • Ginger, turmeric and garlic, which all have an anti-inflammatory effect.
  • Try to eat at least 40g of fibre a day.

Eat less of:

  • Meat and poultry and other foods of animal origin especially processed meats such as ham, bacon and sausages.

Avoid:

  • Products, which list hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil as an ingredient. Be in the habit of reading food labels.
  • Refined or processed foods.
  • Fried foods such as chips, mandazi and samosas.
  • Margarine – use butter or olive oil instead, but sparingly.
  • Minimise the use of polyunsaturated oils including corn, sesame, soya and safflower. They are more likely to go rancid than monounsaturated oil such as olive oil.
  • Caffeine, as it blocks the uptake of nutrients and dehydrates you. Instead take green tea and other herbal teas.

Pick of the Month…

Published in October 2013 issue