Fountain of Youth – Everything You Need to Know About Anti-Ageing
There is no doubt that we’d all like to maintain our youthful looks and enjoy the benefits of good health as we age, but with so many ‘anti-ageing secrets’ and products on the market it is difficult to know where to begin.
It is important to note that apart from our individual genetic predispositions, the ageing process is also influenced by our environment, lifestyle and dietary choices.
Here is a comprehensive explanation of what really causes us to age faster than our years and how to make the right choices to enhance your longevity.
Fundamental Factors Involved in the Ageing Process
Chronic and excessive inflammation within the body has numerous negative effects on biological functions and ageing processes. It causes nutritional depletions, impairs the body’s capacity to repair DNA resulting in premature aging (“inflammageing”) and can even increase risk of developing cancer.
Inflammation also reduces the body’s ability to detoxify harmful substances, affects new cell formation, causes oxidative damage to body tissues and has harmful effects on the cardiovascular system.
Oxidative damage involves ‘free radical’ cells in the body reacting with certain chemicals and subsequently interfering with the ability of your cells to function normally.
Free radicals are highly reactive compounds that are created in the body during everyday normal metabolic functions or introduced from the environment, ie. air pollution, sun damage, food or cleaning chemicals.
The end result of excess free radical production is inflammation and cellular and tissue damage that manifests as ageing.
UK truck driver Bill McElligott had only one side of his face exposed to the sun for prolonged periods of time throughout his 20 years in the business.
This is dramatic evidence of the damage sun exposure (and free radical production) can cause to the skin.
Chronic stress impacts on all aspects of our wellbeing from hormonal balance and blood sugar regulation to reducing digestive function, sleep quality and adrenal function.
Stress is also a major cause of inflammation and oxidative damage in the body, causing tissue damage and premature ageing.
Unhealthy lifestyle habits
As we age the state of our skin often indicates whether we have indulged in too many coffees, alcoholic drinks or been smokers.
These lifestyle habits cause serious nutrient depletions (especially Vitamin C, B-vitamins, magnesium and anti-oxidants) and increase oxidative damage and inflammation within our systems.
Junk food diets
Eating a diet full of processed and refined foods is a major cause of accelerated ageing. These foods are usually high in sugar, additives and unhealthy fats that cause inflammation, have no nutritional value themselves and will actually deplete your body of existing nutrient stores.
Sugar has further harmful effects on the body as it is involved in a process called glycosylation, which affects our DNA and proteins by reducing their elasticity and generating free radicals.
High glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates, eg. white bread/sugar, are also associated with increased features of skin ageing.
Foods to Enhance Longevity and a Youthful Appearance
Essential fatty acids (EFAs)
There aren’t many biological functions that EFAs don’t influence in a positive way- they are vital for cardiovascular, nervous system, and musculoskeletal function just to name a few.
In the ageing process, omega 3 EFAs play an important role in reducing inflammation and protecting our DNA strands from becoming damaged.
Omega 6 EFAs are also essential for skin health and hydration as studies have found higher dietary intakes of these fats is associated with less features of skin ageing including wrinkling, dryness and thinning.
Healthy sources of EFAs include nuts and seeds, fish, avocado, olive oil.
Anti-oxidant Rich Foods
As we age, our bodies produce less anti-oxidant compounds internally, so it is important to ditch processed junk foods and fill up on fresh, colourful fruits and vegies. Better yet, buy organic produce.
The colour pigments in these foods possess strong anti-oxidant activity to reduce oxidative damage and inflammation in the body.
Plus they are packed full of nutrients required for healthy skin and aging like Vitamin C, beta-carotene and bioflavonoids.
Protein provides the building blocks for our muscles and connective tissue amongst other functions, so it is essential for maintaining healthy skin and overall wellbeing.
Results from population studies have shown that elderly people with low protein intake experience increased skin wrinkling and skin fragility.
Healthy sources of protein include fish, free range poultry and eggs, legumes, beans, natural yoghurts, unprocessed soy products, and some protein supplements.
When buying red meats, stick to free range/organic grass fed meat. In comparison to grain fed meat, grass fed animals are found to have increased anti-oxidant nutritional value and less inflammatory fat profiles.
To see our range of recommended protein supplements, click here.
Water, water, water
Water is an essential ingredient for millions of biochemical reactions to take place within the body.
Keeping our body and cells hydrated is a must for healthy ageing.
2-3L of water a day will meet the requirements of most adults. This can include herbal teas and water with some added fresh fruit juice, eg. lemon or orange juice, for flavour if you don’t like plain water.
Low GI foods
Due to the negative impacts of refined carbohydrates on skin and ageing processes, it is essential to eliminate these foods from your diet.
This includes artificial sweeteners too!
Your dietary sources of carbohydrate should include fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes, and if necessary- some whole grains such as brown rice, spelt, millet, amaranth or rye.
Age-Defying Lifestyle Techniques
Exercise has numerous benefits for wellbeing including stress reduction, weight management, hormonal regulation and enhancing detoxification, and improving cardiovascular health and oxygenation of body tissues.
These benefits contribute to the anti-ageing effects of regular physical activity.
Ensure you get Good Quality Sleep
Sleep is essential for physical recovery and renewal and plays a major role in your vitality and longevity. Poor quality sleep or chronic insomnia can have many negative effects on your body including increased inflammation, hormonal disturbances and reduced cognitive function.
Make sure you get your 6-8hours each night.
If you have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, read here for more pointers.
Our mind and emotional health has a significant impact on our physical wellbeing.
Meditation is an easy way to improve your mood and reduce stress levels, thereby supporting optimal ageing.
Be Smart with Sun Exposure
While sunlight is essential for Vitamin D synthesis, we do need to be cautious with excess sun exposure, especially at certain times of the day, as sunlight can be damaging to your skin and increase free radical production.
Read here for more information about healthy sun exposure.
Nutritional and herbal supplements can help to slow ageing processes by counteracting oxidative damage to cells and tissues, providing us with nutrients to maintain skin, immune and DNA health, reducing inflammation and enabling detoxification processes.
Cell-Logic GliSODin – A potent anti-oxidant supplement derived from a particular strain of melon. GliSODin contains an orally-bioactive form of Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) which acts early in the oxidative process by quenching free radicals to prevent inflammation and disease.
BioCeuticals AntiOx Excel – A comprehensive antioxidant formula designed to offer maximum protection against free-radical induced damage to cells and tissues.
AntiOx Excel contains potent plant-derived compounds from tomatoes and blueberries, a range of anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients including Vitamin A, C, E, Zinc and Selenium, plus the herbal super-antioxidants Grape seed, Ginkgo, Milk Thistle and Giant Knotweed (containing Resveratrol).
See our other favourite antioxidant supplements under ‘Recommended Products,’ side of page.
To skip the guesswork and find out exactly how your genetic make-up is influencing the rate at which you age, plus which supplements are best suited to you as an individual, read more on the genetic testing options offered at Emed.