Did you look in the mirror this morning and think, “Wow, I look great?” Or instead, did you glance in the glass and think, “When did I get so old?” If it was the latter, you might want to take a look at your refrigerator, kitchen cupboard, and dinner table for one of the culprits. Aging happens to all of us, of course. There’s no way to put the brakes on it, no matter what the latest “nutraceuticals” may claim.
“There’s an incredible amount of evidence that says that eating junk puts your body into an inflammatory state,” says Timothy Harlan, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Tulane University School of Medicine, a former restaurateur known as “Dr. Gourmet,” and author of Just Tell Me What to Eat!
“Poor-quality foods, like trans fats, cause inflammation – and aging is basically a chronic inflammatory state,” Harlan says. “Can you look older because you’re eating crap? Absolutely.”
For example, too much sugar and processed carbohydrates in the diet can lead to the production of what are called AGEs — advanced glycation end products. “These are associated with a number of diseases, like heart disease and diabetes, but they also damage the collagen and fibers of your skin,” says Andrea Giancoli, MPH, RD, a nutrition policy consultant for the California Center for Public Health Advocacy and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.
But it’s not just your looks that are on the line. Eating too much of foods that ramp up inflammation – or clog your arteries, or pack on extra pounds – can be bad news, from head to toe.
Foods to Limit
Here are five examples of foods that you may want to limit to stay as young as possible, inside and out:
More importantly, Harlan says, eating a diet rich in high-quality foods can reduce inflammation, and help to keep you from looking your best. “It’s very clear that following a Mediterranean-style diet reduces the risk of a number of illnesses associated with aging, like cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease.”
Foods to Favor
Harlan and Giancoli both reluctant to pick out a list of “superfoods” that help to keep you looking young and healthy. “There are people who have these theories that foods that are very high in antioxidants somehow slow the aging process, and there is some scant evidence of that in animal models,” Harlan says. “But don’t just pick out a few foods and focus on them. The minute you start talking about individual foods, people lose sight of the big picture.”
So stay away from fad diets that are all about salmon and acai berries, he says. “I want you to eat lots of broccoli and sweet potatoes and salmon and chickpeas and good-quality chicken. Eat a healthy variety of foods and that will keep you looking your best.”
That’s not just one opinion. In general, many sources are now saying that a traditional Mediterranean-style diet — rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein — is your best option for overall health. Another important factor, Giancoli adds, is eating wholefoods, closest to their natural state as possible. “Don’t just eat plants, eat them pretty close to how they were when they came out of the ground or off the tree,” she says.
So instead of “superfoods,” here’s a list of five foods that are key elements of the Mediterranean diet, and are examples of the kinds of foods you need to be getting more of.
And you have to keep eating healthy to stay looking good. “Skin sloughs off all the time, so you need regular incoming doses of vitamins, nutrients, plant chemicals that we call phytonutrients, healthy fats, and proteins,” Giancoli says. “If you’re not getting enough of the good stuff on a regular basis, you won’t be able to produce healthy new skin cells in the way that you should.”
If you eat a diet like this, will you look better in the mirror? “That depends,” Harlan says. “I looked pretty ugly in the mirror before! But if you eat healthy, you are absolutely going to look better.”
Article source © Gina Shaw 2011 WebMD
Poor diet can age skin
Did you know?
A little known fact is that heating food above 116°F (47° C) destroys much of its nutrient content, and considering that most of us already aren’t eating enough veggies that hardly helps us maintain a healthy diet.
Nutritionists recommend five portions of fresh vegetables per day, but how many of us are able to put this into daily practice? Not always easy, is it?
A great way to get the important nutrients found in fresh veggies without spending hours preparing and cooking them - or resorting to eating raw celery sticks - is to juice your veggies.
Make sure that you own a good juicer (some juicers expose vegetables to heat created by friction during juicing, which breaks down important enzymes), grab some fresh vegetables and simply drink your way to good health.
It takes a fraction of the time because there’s no cooking involved, and is so much more convenient because you can take your juice to work with you.
Wheatgrass in particular is an excellent source of nutrition. It’s high in chlorophyll which is sometimes described as ‘plant blood’ because it closely resembles human red blood cell molecules, and has over 100 elements that the body needs.
Fresh grains are another excellent source for vitamins and minerals.
Eat your greens!
Our bodies thrive on all that is fresh and vital.
A raw food diet - or increasing the amount of raw food that you eat is bound to bring a feeling of increased wellbeing.
Raw food diets promote eating and drinking ‘living’ food, and a diet of at least 75% raw food offers numerous health benefits, starting with weight loss and detox.
The informative website Healthy Eating Made Easy features some well written articles about eating a healthy, balanced diet.
If you're trying to loose a little weight for summer, this informative little site could help you get started.
Is Your Diet Aging You?
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