Have you heard of the Truth Tube? A go-to act on the Dr. Oz show, he'll have a guest enter after answering some questions to find out their “real age.” I don’t know about you, but I know I’d prefer to be a young 24-year-old instead of someone as old as my mother!
A biological indication of age would be something like bone health, heart health, or lung capacity, while chronological age simply measures your time since birth. Your “real age” combines both factors. This means, you might be a 50-year old-with the heart of a 30-year-old or a 35-year-old with the lungs of a 70-year-old smoker.
Though genes play a role, we control up to 70 percent of our aging destiny with the daily lifestyle choices we make. And, many of those choices occur in the kitchen. How can what we put in our mouth help prevent the birth of a wrinkle and make us feel like a kid again?
1. Banish Internal Rust
Imagine your insides are a brand new bicycle! Over time, if it sits outside near the beach and is exposed to salty air, it becomes rusty and creaky and more difficult to ride because all the parts don’t work properly. This is similar to oxidative damage happening inside your body.
Oxidation from free radicals damages DNA (genetic material), proteins, and fats. This translates to collagen breakdown/cellulite, wrinkles and plaque in arteries. It creates internal inflammation. Although we need oxygen to live, too much oxygen can be corrosive and toxic.
Antioxidants to the rescue!
Free radicals are derived either from normal essential metabolic processes in the human body or from external sources such as exposure to radiation, ozone, cigarette smoke, air pollutants, or industrial chemicals. A balance between free radicals and antioxidants is necessary for proper physiological function.
Research suggests that free radicals significantly influence aging and that free radical damage can be controlled with adequate antioxidant defense. Optimal intake of antioxidant-rich foods may enhance quality of life and may even positively influence life span.
Foods Rich in Antioxidants Include
- Berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, etc.)
- Beans (especially red kidney beans and black beans)
- Artichoke hearts
- Sweet cherries
- Nuts (pecans, pistachios, walnuts)
- Spices (garlic, ginger, cloves, cinnamon)
- Herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, peppermint)
2. Mind Your Mitochondria
Mitochondria are the power plants that generate energy from oxygen and live within each of your cells. Metabolically active tissues like muscles have the greatest concentration of mitochondria.
Mitochondria are the fundamental drivers of metabolism, converting the food you eat into energy. The problem is, as they produce energy, they also produce oxygen free radicals — molecules that cause dangerous inflammation in the cell when they spill over. Think of them as the power plants of our bodily city. Just like an old factory, aging mitochondria spill more industrial waste into the environment. The damage this inflammation causes to your cells and to the mitochondria within your cells is responsible for many age-related problems. When these powerhouses are damaged, you suffer all the symptoms of low energy – fatigue, memory loss, pain, rapid aging and more.
For some beneficial nutrients and foods that help nourish the mitochondria, check out this article here about Multiple Sclerosis.
3. Shun the Sugar
Most people hear the term "glycosylation" and think it’s something you need to have done to your car at the lube shop. But glycosylation, unfortunately, is a process that cocurs deep inside your body that has dramatic effects on your cells. It occurs when excess sugar molecules float around in your blood and attach to proteins, diminishing their effectiveness.
Proteins can be damaged both by free radicals and glycation. Glycation can be reversed. However, the situation is complicated when oxidation occurs. This creates Advanced Glycation End-Products (AGEs). You literally ingest AGEs when you eat fried foods, burnt foods, aged foods and tobacco smoke. Your body is only able to get rid of one third of AGEs. The rest shows up on your skin and in your body.
Sugar is a pro-inflammatory food. It will accelerate aging by promoting glycation and activates enzymes that digest collagen. AGEs cause cross-linking of protein and sugars. Cross-linking of collagen leads to inelasticity and voila; a wrinkle is born.
Hidden Sources of Added Sugar:
- Processed foods with high fructose corn syrup (or plain corn syrup, sugar, brown sugar, molasses, fructose, agave, etc.)
- Sodas and most fruit juices
- Condiments like ketchup, barbecue sauce and salad dressing
- Pasta sauce
- Breads and crackers
- Breakfast boxed cereals
- Flavored yogurt
- Granola and energy bars
- Canned fruits and vegetables
- Processed lunch meats and bacon
- Frozen desserts
4. Weed – Seed - Feed
Nothing helps slow the aging process more than a well-maintained body! Due to our hectic lives and highly-polluted environments, an occasional time-out to detoxify the body may help roll the clock back on your biological clock.
First, weed out the things in your life that prevent you from achieving your health goals. Toss non-nourishing foods, plastic microwave meals, foods with added sugars, artificial ingredients and preservatives and trans fats.
Next, plant the seeds to help rebuild your environment. Many of us live on autopilot, adhering to a “scripted” life. This is a chance to embrace change. Reconnect with your body’s hunger and fullness signals, re-establish healthy bacteria in your intestinal tract and stock your kitchen with nourishing foods, including NutriBlast ingredients!
Finally, feed your body wholesome goodness by choosing foods closest to their natural state. Choose a few new recipes and plan ahead so that sticking with it becomes second nature, not an added chore. The reduced stress from lack of planning and the elimination of stress-inducing foods can help take years off your age!
Foods that Feed
- Complex carbohydrates such as leafy greens, broccoli, beans, and oatmeal
- Healthy fats such as avocadoes, olives, coconut, nuts, and seeds
- - Fresh fruits such as berries, apples, and pineapple
- - Protein-rich and anti-inflammatory wild Alaskan salmon and free-range organic eggs.
5. Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate!
Your body is 60% water. Without adequate water, organs and cells cannot function properly. Water helps metabolize fat and flush waste out of cells. Dehydration promotes aging. Drinking enough water will keep your skin radiant, soft and supple.
Ditch the alcohol. Excess alcohol does much more than dehydrate skin. When alcohol is metabolized it creates a toxic substance called aldehydes. Aldehydes are destructive in that they cause damage to cell membranes. Alcohol also causes tiny blood vessels in the skin to widen. This produces a flushed appearance, but over time may lead to broken capillaries in the face.
Hard time meeting your daily water quota? Slice some fresh cucumber, orange and lime (maybe even add some berries) into a pitcher of filtered water to store in your fridge. You’ll have a refreshing beverage right at your fingertips! Or you can try to incorporate more of these hydrating foods into your diet.
- Coconut water
- Caffeine-free herbal tea
- Cooked whole grains (brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa)
- Leafy greens
- Citrus (oranges and grapefruit)
In addition to the foods we eat, lifestyle choices such as getting enough sleep (ideally 7-9 hours/night), not smoking, living in a low pollution zone, choosing non-toxic beauty and personal care products, in addition to non-toxic cleaning supplies, can all help fight against premature aging and make you feel younger than you’ve felt in chronological years!