Eating to Reduce the Signs of Aging
Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN
Aging occurs because our bodies break down due to wear and tear. Over time, our bodies become like an old car that has driven hundreds of thousands of miles. Like all mechanical things, it is only a matter of time before our bodies break down for good due to the aging process.
But that doesn't mean we can't delay our biological clock and look (and stay) younger for longer than most.
The most important thing for you to understand is that no anti-aging skin cream will ever make you look younger. You see the cosmetic industry has it all backwards! They think by applying a "mask" of creams over your skin you'll be able to regain that youthful glow. However, they have overlooked the simple fact that how we look and feel is a direct reflection of how we eat.
Pure and simple...we are what we eat, digest , and absorb. Our skin, then, becomes a reflection of the quality of our nutrition. Want healthier looking skin? Then, eat healthier foods - don't use expensive creams!
The ultimate anti-aging solution is to make healthy eating a part of your daily regime. But what does eating healthy have to do with anti-aging, you might ask?
Free Radical Damage Accelerates the Aging Process
Certain foods produce free radicals in the body. For instance, sugars, rancid fats, alcohol, and most acid-forming foods produce a cascade of free radicals that multiply throughout the body, and along the way destroy and mutate our cells and their DNA. This is known as the "free radical theory of aging" whereby our body simply ages more and more with years of excess bodily damage caused by free radicals.
Free radicals play a big role in heart disease, eye degeneration, cancer, and most every other disease you think of. That's why it's important to consume plenty of antioxidants.
Antioxidants Disarm Free Radicals
Antioxidants are compounds that fight free radicals and render them useless in the body. Examples of antioxidants include vitamins A, C, E, selenium, and zinc. However, whole foods contain a plethora of tiny phytonutrients that also act as powerful antioxidants. Examples include the most popular group of antioxidants known as polyphenols (ie. flavonoids), which include flavonols, flavones, catechins, flavanones, anthocyanidins, and isoflavonoids.
The most abundant polyphenols are the condensed tannins, found in the "skin" and leaves virtually all families of plants, and comprising up to 50% of the dry weight of leaves. That's why the skin of fruits and vegetables are the best sources of antioxidants. Notable sources of polyphenol antioxidants include berries, tea, grapes, olive oil, chocolate/cacao, walnuts, peanuts, pomegranates, yerba mate, and other fruits and vegetables. But remember that you want eat the whole food so that you benefit from the antioxidant-rich skin!
The more antioxidants you bring into your body, the less free radical damage you will incur. Over time, this may have a profound effect on your ability to delay the aging process. And put the supplements aside. Research consistently shows that whole foods are a much better and more bioavailable source of antioxidants than supplements.
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