If you asked most women about their beauty priorities, younger looking skin will often be at the top of their list.
Anti-ageing is big business; but while we’re religiously applying our SPF, Vitamin C, Retinoids and Hyaluronic Acid – not to mention having Non Surgical Treatments like Skin Peels, Microdermabrasion and Dermal Fillers – could the things we eat and drink also help us fend off visible signs of ageing?
We asked our Nutrition Expert Christine Bailey, is it possible to eat your way young?
The answer: absolutely! Here, Christine takes us through some common complaints about getting older and the foods that could help to turn back the clock.
Liven up dull skin with plenty of protein and healthy fats in your diet.
Collagen is a crucial protein keeping the skin supple, firm and elastic. As collagen and other proteins break down, the skin essentially folds into itself, creating wrinkles and lines. Vitamin C, and plant antioxidants are needed for the synthesis of collagen fibres and help to preserve collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, all key components of healthy skin. Amino acids, which can be found in protein rich foods, are used by the body to make collagen. Lean meats, fish, pulses, eggs are good choices.
Getting a healthy balance of the right types of fats is crucial for a more youthful appearance. Drastically cutting out fat can lead to dry, flaky and dull skin. Focus on a Mediterranean style of eating with plenty of olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds and oily fish. These provide monounsaturated and omega 3 fats, which help lower inflammation and nourish the skin.
To give skin an immediate boost, try The Harley Medical’s Group’s DermaQuest Rejuvenating Pumpkin Resurfacer containing 40% pumpkin pulp. It also contains orange stem cells which, when combined with other ingredients, promotes collagen and elastin production, reducing fine lines, wrinkles and sun damage. (Prices start at £99, The Harley Medical Group).
Significant hair loss can be trigged by many factors including hormone changes, thyroid imbalances, stress and dietary changes. One of the most common causes of hair loss is actually a result of an Iron deficiency, so make sure you are getting enough in your diet.
You can increase your iron levels by eating red meat such as beef, lamb, venison and other game. Vegetarian sources include beans, pulses, dark leafy green vegetables and dried fruit. To aid absorption from vegetarian sources include vitamin C rich foods at the same time such as red pepper, citrus, berries.
Protein is important in reducing hair loss so include 2-3 portions of quality protein foods each day – eggs, poultry, fish, lean meat, beans, pulses, tofu or take a protein powder supplement.
You may also wish to increase your B vitamins particularly biotin – which can be found in eggs, almonds, oats, onions, sweet potato and walnuts.
Belly fat is common as we age – often triggered by changes in hormone levels. One way to tackle this by reducing your carbohydrate intake and focus more on lean protein and vegetables at each meal. Omega 3 rich foods such as oily fish, flaxseed, hemp, walnuts, chia have also been shown to improve the body’s ability to burn fat and support metabolism.
Try including Matcha green tea powder – a known natural fat burner. Green tea extract is rich in catechins, which has thermogenic properties and promotes fat oxidation. Matcha tea powder is much more potent than using green tea infusions. Add ½ tsp to hot water and drink or stir into a pot of plain yogurt or add to a smoothie each day.
Really stubborn areas of fat (stomach, inner thighs, arms, chin) can often been hard to tackle just by watching what you eat. The Harley Medical Group’s I-Lipo Xcell offers a solution for tackling those stubborn areas. The treatment combines Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), vacuum massage and radio frequency to reduce fat in targeted areas that can be difficult to get rid of with a healthy diet and exercise alone. The three-pronged treatment works by emptying fat cells, aiding the body’s lymphatic drainage system to move the fat cell contents for use and tightening the skin (£150 per treatment, The Harley Medical Group Harley Street clinic).
We all suffer with fatigue from time to time. If it is ongoing, despite plenty of sleep and rest, it may be caused by a thyroid imbalance and low iron / B12, both of which with your GP can test for. For other people excess stress can place high demands on our adrenal glands depleting crucial nutrients and hormones. It can also lead to fluctuating blood sugar levels can lead to energy slumps.
One of the very best ways to increase your energy and vitality is to reduce your toxic load. So look at your diet, alcohol consumption and medications. Magnesium is one of the most important anti-stress nutrients, a defciency hampers adrenal function and causes anxiety – good sources include nuts, seeds, oats, leafy greens. B vitamins are also important for energy; Vitamin B5, for example, is vital for adrenal hormone production. B vitamins are found in the protein foods, as well as in nuts, seeds, whole grains and leafy greens.
Additionally, inside each of our cells lie hundreds of tiny batteries called mitochondria. Their role is to turn the proteins, fats and carbohydrates from our food into energy and they need specific additional nutrients including CoQ10, alpha lipoic acid, acetyl-L-carnitine. Often these fall as we age – supplements can be helpful and foods rich in CoQ10 include organ meats such as liver, kidney, and heart, as well as in beef, sardines, and mackerel. Vegetable sources include spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower.
As we get older our tissues start to get weaker, our levels of anabolic hormones decline, our cells are renewed more slowly and our repair processes become gradually less efficient. We become more prone to destructive processes such as oxidation which can result in aches and pains in our joints.
Including anti-inflammatory foods can be helpful such as turmeric, berries, ginger, pineapple, papaya, garlic, oily fish, fermented foods like yogurt and kefir, pomegranate, green tea.
The trace mineral sulphur plays an essential role in maintaining healthy cartilage – found in foods like cruciferous vegetables, eggs, onion and garlic. Vitamin D is also a powerful nutrient that improves immune tolerance, helping to reduce inflammation in the body – so get your levels checked and include oily fish, mushrooms or take cod liver oil.
We all want to live younger for longer, and a healthy, balanced diet lays the foundations to keep you looking and feeling your best.
You can find more information about super skin-saving foods here, and if you have any questions about anti-ageing and your diet, ask us on Facebook today.