On the hunt for the fountain of youth? Join the queue!
Many of us search high and low for that secret ingredient to prolong a youthful glow and avoid succumbing to wrinkled skin, whether that’s through lathering ourselves in creams that promise to ‘turn back the clock’, having regular facials or splurging on the latest anti-ageing foundation.
Whilst ageing is inevitable, could the answer to a youthful appearance simply be in our diet?
Ongoing studies of the ageing process continue to indicate that what we eat can influence how our skin ages. Firstly, a well-functioning digestive system is central to the anti-ageing process, but knowing exactly which foods to avoid is the hard part. When the gut becomes ‘sluggish’, the body finds it difficult to absorb nutrients, meaning skin, hair, nails etc. become undernourished which can speed up the ageing process.
Furthermore, not only does eating the wrong foods make you look older but it can also have a negative impact on your mood. With around 90% of the body’s serotonin (mood-enhancing nutrient) produced in the gut, having a happy gut is incredibly important.
But what foods can make you age and what should you be eating instead? Below is a list of some of the most notorious (and some surprising ones!)
Sugar is the cause of a process happening within the body called glycation. This process is when sugar binds with protein; the protein this involves within the skin is collagen. This causes a cross-linking effect to the collagen which hardens and stiffens the protein causing sagging, bagging, lines and wrinkles to appear. Our bodies have a natural defence against this until around the age of 35 but this can vary. Limiting your diet of sugar, including sucrose and fructose, from an early age can mean you are less likely to get into a pattern of eating sugary foods and lead to this becoming a concern.
Foods that are burnt have a high level of free radicals. These are cell damaging invaders which, in relation to the skin, in high levels can cause skin cell damage and lead to ageing. To combat this, you could look out for foods which are high in anti-oxidants which are naturally colourful fruits, vegetables and spices including blueberries, pomegranate, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots. Peppers and turmeric -these would help quench the free radicals.
Stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol have a dehydrating effect on the skin. If the skin is dehydrated for long enough this can cause further concerns which can lead to ageing.
Plagued with dark circles under your eyes? Whilst this might be genetic, it can also be attributed to water retention or high sodium foods. Instead, opt for potassium-rich foods such as potatoes, chicken, red meat, spinach, sunflower seeds, figs, nuts, beans, butternut squash and bananas.
Avoiding these foods, including antioxidants within your diet, leading a healthy lifestyle and avoiding UV rays could help to prevent premature ageing of the skin, helping you keep your youthful glow for years to come.