Did you know that a healthy diet can help to slow the ageing process and give you clear and radiant skin?
While it’s true that genetics play a vital role in how we look and age, so too does our lifestyle.
While we cannot prevent the ageing process, there are certain things we can do to slow it down. It is well known that the foods we eat and what we drink influences how well we age.
Dietitians Anna and Alex, from The Biting Truth share their top secrets when it comes to what to eat to slow the ageing process.
1. Eat antioxidants from fresh fruit and vegetables
Antioxidants is a word you may be familiar with, but what actually are they?
Antioxidants are compounds that can prevent the harmful impacts of free radicals in the body. If free radicals are left to do their thing, they can cause damage to the body’s cells and tissues, and are linked to ageing and a host of diseases.
Dark green vegetables like spinach are packed with polyphenols and chlorophyll. These two antioxidants have been shown to be effective against inflammation, oxidative stress and DNA damage in the body. Another group of antioxidants is the carotenoids. These give fruits and vegetables like mangoes and pumpkin their bright orange/red colour. They work by supporting communication between cells in the body and have been shown to protect against many cancers and macular degeneration (a disease affecting the eyes that can cause loss of sight). When eaten, carotenoids accumulate in the skin and protect it from sun exposure, similarly to sunscreen. This can help prevent sunburn and subsequent damage causing dry and wrinkled skin. Research also suggests carotenoids are beneficial for the moisture, texture and elasticity of skin.
Vitamin C is another antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables that has other properties that are beneficial for healthy skin. Vitamin C stimulates the biosynthesis of collagen, a protein found in skin that gives it its elasticity and strength. Collagen degradation that occurs with ageing can lead to loss of elasticity and the formation of wrinkles. Research has shown that vitamin C can lessen wrinkle depth by increasing formation of collagen. Additionally, consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables (high in vitamin C) was found to improve skin tightness, tone and colour as well as decrease signs of ageing.
To reap the anti-ageing benefits of antioxidants, focus on including a range of colourful fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet.
2. Low Glycemic Index (GI) Foods
If you’re not familiar with GI, it’s a ranking given to carbohydrates in foods according to how they impact blood sugar levels. Blood sugar is important for providing our body (in particular our brain) with energy. We want our blood sugar levels to be stable so that our body and brain receive a steady amount of energy to carry out normal functions.
Foods with a low GI are slowly digested and absorbed in the body, which means they cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels, providing a steady supply of energy. On the other hand, foods with a high GI are rapidly digested and absorbed causing a rapid rise and fall in blood sugar levels – aka a sugar crash. When our blood sugar levels are low, our brain sends messages to find foods that will give it energy (i.e. sugary foods)…and the cycle continues.
Following a diet that is rich in low GI foods is a sensible and sustainable way to eat. These foods promote steady blood sugar levels which will allow you to control your weight. Weight management is so important to minimise the onset of ageing and age related diseases.