Another year has passed. And psychologically, it’s the best time for self assessment of YOUR total wellbeing. So here are a few age-defying tips to kick-start, reboot, rebalance and boost you into 2014.
According to food and health expert, Elizabeth Peyton–Jones in her book ‘Eat Yourself Young’, the five most ageing foods are sugar, salt, cow’s milk, meat and bad fats. SUGAR is the most ageing food of all and is involved in four of the ageing processes: acidification, inflammation, eliminative slowdown and hormonal imbalance. A diet of highly sugared foods slows down the body’s ability to regenerate itself thereby speeding up the ageing process. On an everyday level amongst other things, it results in aching joints, cravings, flabby stomach, lack of muscle tone and mood swings. Switch to slow-release carbohydrates such as whole grains, pulses, fruits and vegetables instead of refined sugar. If you crave for something sweet, try beetroot, carrots, sweet potatoes, tomato, almonds or pistachios. Good fats slow down the metabolism of sugar, so eat fruit with nuts and seeds. SALT although an essential compound is a cheap flavour enhancer as well as a preservative found in over-processed foods and in ‘healthy’ foods such as canned beans, cold meats, cheese, cereals and soups. Over consumption accelerates the ageing processes. Instead of adding salt to your food and processed foods try using herbs instead. A diet high in salt causes inflammation, the cells swell with water, which upsets the sodium/potassium balance that generates the energy needed to move muscles and nerves, causing weakness and fatigue. COW’S MILK is full of calcium, vitamins and protein, but it also triggers four of the ageing processes – eliminative slowdown (causing bloating, constipation or diarrhoea), inflammation (mucus, stiff joints, inflammatory bowel disorders), hormonal imbalance (affecting blood sugar and oestrogen levels) and is acid-forming. Therefore it needs to be balanced by alkalising foods such as vegetables. It’s also been linked to serious health conditions, including diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers, and can be a major allergen linked to asthma and eczema. Look out also for milk derivatives (casein and lactose) in breads, cakes, biscuits, processed meats and crisps. Switch to goat’s, sheep’s or buffalo milk, which are richer in many vitamins and minerals and contain anti-inflammatory oligosaccharides, which boost friendly gut bacteria and are easier to digest. Try cheeses such as manchego, feta and mozzarella, which are not from cow’s milk. For calcium, switch to dark green leafy veg, beans, nuts and seeds, grains and nut milks. MEAT is a high source of protein needed to build muscles, ligaments and skin. But meat is not the only protein and as well as triggering all five of the ageing processes, it is loaded with saturated fats and very calorific. Meat is one of the most acid-forming foodstuffs and because of its high levels of saturated fats, it causes chronic inflammation. Processed meat is high in cancer-causing sulphites and nitrites. It irritates the gut and frying, grilling or chargrilling causes DNA-altering, cancer-causing compounds. It also causes free radicals and leads to oxidative stress. Switch to fish, which is a good source of protein. Other youth-making proteins include eggs, grains (especially amaranth and quinoa), legumes (beans, lentils, tofu), nuts and seeds. If you do eat meat limit it to one portion (up to 100g) once a week, preferably free-range chicken/turkey or organic lamb (once a month). Avoid sausages, bacon, ham, burgers, hot dogs and barbecued, grilled and roasted meats should be avoided if possible as they are acid-forming, cause inflammation and some are high in cancer-causing sulphites and nitrites. BAD FATS are transfats or hydrogenated fats and, even though UK producers are phasing out transfats, they are still widely found in processed foods such as cakes, fast food, ice cream and oils for deep frying. They interfere with cell function and cause inflammation, acidification, oxidation and hormonal imbalance. Trans-fats have also been linked to depression, coronary heart disease, raising bad cholesterol and lowering good, and increasing the risk of degenerative diseases. They may also lead to blood sugar disorders as they disrupt the action of insulin. GOOD FATS are essential for maintaining cell structure, helping the body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins and for healthy-looking skin, brain function, mood and energy. Every cell in our body has a protective outer coating of fat and protein. If that coating is fluid (ie, made of good fats), it can help cells absorb nutrients and water, as well as process chemical messengers. If it is not fluid (because of a diet of bad fats), this process is impaired. It’s thought that lack of fluidity is a trigger for many ageing symptoms, including decline in skin quality, inflammation, allergies, depression, PMT, joint pain and osteoarthritis. Switch to fats from unprocessed oily fish, avocados, goat/sheep products, soya and nuts. It’s better to eat full fat than processed low-fat foods and cold-pressed rather than refined oils.
MENTAL AND PHYSICAL FITNESS
Regular exercise has many benefits including: weight control, reduces your risk of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, some cancers, improves your mental health and mood, strengthens your bones and muscles and increases your chances of living longer. Mental health is an important aspect of health and physical fitness. Keep your mind engaged and stimulated through brain games on the computer, crossword puzzles; learn a language, join a book club etc. Like your body, the brain needs to be exercised to keep it functioning well. Physical exercise doesn’t have to be exhausting. Join a fitness class such as yoga, pilates or do exercises from the comfort of your home by using workout DVDs or the Wii fitness programmes. One of the simplest forms of exercise is also the most effective – walking. Regular walking, like most aerobic activities, is good for you because cardio-vascular exercise strengthens the heart and lungs, increasing overall fitness. Together with diet and other exercise plans, it can also help with weight loss and tone up muscles. There are also psychological benefits to walking. According to Pete Cohen, GMTV’s Life Coach for the Inch Loss Beach series: “When you walk, just like any other form of exercise, your body has a chemical release of serotonin, the natural feel-good chemical.” There is also the release of endorphins, which are happy hormones, which is why people feel on a natural high at the end of an exercise session. Remembering how you feel should be an incentive for you to keep it up.
Not only is the skin the largest organ of the body, but it is a great tell-tale sign of ageing. As you age there are physical changes to the features and conditions of the skin which are evident below and above the skin such as drier, more fragile, thinner, bruising (due to loss of support around blood vessel walls that happens with ageing), loss of fat in cheeks and around the eyes may loosen the skin and give you a leaner look. There are some practical steps to decrease the ageing signs such as protecting yourself from sun exposure. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light damages certain fibers in the skin called elastin. The breakdown of elastin fibers causes the skin to sag, stretch, and lose its ability to snap back after stretching; always wear suitable clothing such as hat, sunglasses and sunscreen to protect your skin. Smoking too is a number one culprit to premature ageing.
Timeless Face Oil
It not only reduces the levels of collagen in your skin, but it also causes dull skin, and increases wrinkles around the eyes and mouth. Say ‘No’ to nicotine! Drink plenty of water and make it a part of your routine. Without water skin cells dehydrate and essential anti-aging nutrients cannot be delivered to your system. While a rich moisturiser applied day and night will do wonders for your skin, it cannot reach its full potential without a regular exfoliation session. Exfoliation equals fresh, healthy skin that will effectively soak up the moisture provided. Antioxidants in skincare assist in protecting the cells from damage by limiting the production of free radicals, which can damage skin cells. They can do a lot for the health and appearance of your skin, including reducing the signs of ageing. From calming inflamed skin to tightening and toning, antioxidants offer great benefits from natural sources. Make sure you get the right amount of SLEEP. You may be resting, but your skin will still be working. During sleep your body releases growth hormones, which stimulates cell turnover.
The key is awareness and regularity. Everyone can gain the health benefits of mental and physical activity regardless of age, ethnicity, shape or size.
Source: NHS health http://www.nhs.uk/Pages/HomePage.aspx