Unfortunately modern diets contain far too many processed foods that have been cooked at high temperatures.
Heating food at high temperatures, both during processing and also char-grilling, grilling and cooking on a barbeque all create AGEs.
Eating foods contaminated with AGEs leads to oxidative stress and inflammation, which cause aging of the skin tissue.
AGEs are actually already present in uncooked animal protein naturally.
But cooking at high temperatures results in the formation of new AGEs.
So if you really enjoy your meat try to eat high-quality, organic, free-range, grass-fed meat and cook it slowly. Slow cooking methods like braising and stewing are best.
In fact if you put your meat in a slow cooker with lots of vegetables and herbs you can produce a delicious meal, reduce the amount of AGE’s and you won’t lose any nutrients.
So it’s a win-win all round.
With regard to AGE’s these are also produced in dairy products that have been heat-treated such as pasteurised milk.
But butter, cream, cheese, margarine and mayonnaise also contain AGE’s.
So if you really want to look after your skin and slow the rate of aging try and minimise these in your diet.
Take a leaf out of those Blue Zone centenarians who eat cold pressed extra virgin olive oil.
It’s not heat treated and contains healthier omega 3 fats.
So much kinder to your skin and it also protects against mental decline by protecting your brain.
And if you really can’t do without your cheese try unpasteurised cheeses – but NOT if you are pregnant.
Boil those bones
Another delicious way to get collagen for healthy skin and joints, is to make bone broth.
You can boil chicken bones left behind after a roast dinner or buy bones from the butcher to make broth.
Bones that are rich in collagen are oxtail and chicken feet.
If you can, use fresh bones from healthy, preferably free-range, organically-raised animals.
Boil the bones gently for a few hours with an onion, carrot, celery and a few herbs.
Cool and then skim off the fat and strain before eating.
Use the broth as it is or for adding to stocks, stews and gravies.
As well as collagen, bone broth contains hyaluronic acid, and loads of anti-aging minerals too.
It also contains MSM (methyl-sulfonyl-methane), a sulphur-rich ingredient well known for its anti-aging properties.
Look after your gut
Our skin reflects what is going on in the gut and liver so it is important to keep these healthy.
The best way to do that is to feed the one trillion ‘good’ bacteria that live in our gut.
The food that they thrive on is fibre and you can get that from vegetables.
Fibre also keeps you ‘regular’ which is great as a congested gut is also reflected in the skin.
Unfortunately, modern day living can deplete the friendly bacteria living happily in our gut.
To repopulate them and make sure that there is a good mix of different varieties, eating fermented foods is a great thing to do.
These fermented foods such as kefir, kamboucha, sauerkraut and live yoghurt not only provide the bacteria (as probiotics) but also contain vitamin C, and loads of enzymes for maintaining a healthy gut.
Remember, keeping the gut healthy will keep our skin healthy!
Weigh in with some heavy lifting
Resistance training, be it with body weight exercise or lifting weights has been shown to be a very effective anti-aging strategy.
Unfortunately once we turn 30 our muscle mass starts to decline.
We then begin to lose strength, endurance, and power.
Paired with slower metabolism and increased body fat we begin to find it harder to lose weight whilst getting weaker at the same time.
For tighter, firmer skin weight lifting not only burns calories, it also helps to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and slow down premature aging.
Exercise helps to maintain your muscle mass which means that your skin does not wrinkle and sag so easily.
It also helps to increase blood flow which carries those anti-aging nutrients to the skin.
If you don’t fancy lifting weights why not take another leaf out of the book of those Blue Zone centenarians.
They add exercise into their daily schedules and there are many ways this can be done.
Why not walk or cycle instead of using the cars – it’s not only better for you but also for the environment.
Try using the stairs instead of the lift, getting off the bus one stop sooner, parking further away from the shops or going for a brisk walk or swim during your lunch break.
Getting those feel-good hormones, endorphins, going is also great for giving your skin a youthful glow so why not join in some team games or just get out in the garden with your children.
Forget your worries for an hour or so and play. It’s great for your heart, your skin and your soul. And best of all its free!
When we sleep our body not only rejuvenates and regenerates but it also detoxifies.
We need sleep to be ready to take on what the new day throws at us.
Just an hour less sleep than we need causes hormonal imbalances and can increase cortisol levels up to ten-fold.
This causes higher blood sugar and insulin and oxidative stress.
As we have already learnt these are our aging enemies.
If our body is not able to repair itself adequately the production of human growth hormone is affected.
This is a really important hormone when it comes to anti-aging!
Plus if you don’t get enough sleep you will get puffy, bloodshot eyes with dark circles underneath.
Instantly making you look old and haggard.
Not getting enough sleep on a regular basis, will lead to skin breakouts and has also been found in scientific studies to be linked to the development of life-shortening diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
All of which make you look older.
To ensure you get a great night’s sleep limit access to screens such as laptops, phones and tablets at least an hour before bedtime.
Do not use your phone as an alarm and invest in a good mattress.
It is also best to make sure that your bedroom is completely dark and if that is not possible try using an eye mask.
Lavender and camomile have been shown to help with relaxation so a sprig of lavender under the pillow and a calming camomile tea before bedtime are great for ensuring a great night’s restorative, anti-aging sleep.
Finally, if possible sleep on your back to smooth out those wrinkles.
Sleep is not the only use for that bed you know!!
Research has shown that regular sex (about 3 times a week) can make you look between 4 to 7 years younger.
Sex releases endorphins which are those feel-good hormones that leave you glowing but they also increase immunity.
And an active sex life also boosts blood flow which we have already learnt makes our skin look youthful.
The feeling of happiness you get from the shared intimacy with someone you love also puts you in a great mood.
And happy people always look younger.
Plus it’s great exercise and if you have to exercise you may as well enjoy it.
The sun has got his hat on!
What is it that the Australians say with regard to sun protection? “Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide”.
Slip on a shirt, Slop on the sunscreen, Slap on a hat, Seek shade, Slide on some glasses.
This guidance is to protect you from getting a type of skin cancer called melanoma.
However, its mighty fine advice when you are wanting to protect your skin from the aging effects of sun exposure. All year round!
It doesn’t matter what the weather wear a moisturiser on your face, neck and hands with at least factor 30 SPF (sun protection factor).
Those nasty UV rays can damage your skin even on a cloudy day and they are one of the quickest ways to age your skin.
When it is sunny reapply the sun lotion every three hours.
Remember to also wear sunglasses to protect your delicate eyes and also a hat.
The sun can dry your hair out making you look older.