Longevity is big business in America today – the dream that anything is possible, even reversing our internal clocks, drives millions of people to seek out sometimes drastic measures to reduce the signs of aging. Plastic surgery, botox and other invasive procedures bring high dollar and high risk.
Even something so seemingly simple as our morning makeup routine can go really bad when what we do to make ourselves look younger may actually cause premature aging. The Doctors featured a piece on a woman who voluntarily left her makeup on for thirty days. She was curious to see the impact that this would have on her skin. After her experiment, her face was inflamed, her lines were deeper and her skin was blotchy and dull.
Dr. Annie Chiu explains that environmental toxins stick to makeup causing oxidative skin stress and may decrease collagen production. Makeup also forms a barrier on the skin which keeps moisture out and deepens wrinkles. How often have you forgotten to take off your makeup?
The Good News
The key to fighting aging does not rest in some procedure, injection, pill, or even our makeup, but rather on achieving internal balance. The overall health of the body determines how gracefully we age.
The human body has a unique way of achieving a healthy internal balance no matter how old we are. The key to unlocking the anti aging code rests in providing the raw materials that we need for cellular repair and restoration.
Foods that Restore Balance
Whole foods bring balance to the body and supply energy, while processed foods create unhealthy internal chaos and rob us of our youth. Here are five anti-aging foods to add to your diet today.
Carrots: Eat organic carrots as you please all day long or enjoy some fresh juiced carrots. These little orange gems contain beta-carotene which slows down aging and also vitamin A which prevents damage from too many UVB rays and stops premature wrinkles in their tracks while balancing out skin tone.
Green Tea: The well-researched benefits of green tea are no longer a secret in America. Enjoying a cup of this flavorful tea on a regular basis will fight free radicals. Amino acids contained in the tea also help to reduce stress,which accelerates aging.
Berries: Fresh or frozen, berries have tremendous age-defying characteristics. Studies indicate that compounds found in berries prevent damage from oxidation. Mulberries contain resveratrol which is commonly found in wine. This substance is an anti-inflammatory that fights cancer and protects the body from free radical damage.
Aloe Vera: You can consume aloe vera internally in order to help the skin hydrate, or you can apply it topically and it will act as an exfoliant. Aloe contains an impressive list of compounds including 96% water, 4% amino acids, minerals, enzymes, vitamins A, C and E as well as antioxidants, zinc, and superoxide dismutases that are excellent for the skin.
Kiwis: Vitamin C is a powerful force against wrinkles as it is necessary for the production of collagen. Although you can get vitamin C from many sources, kiwis have one of the highest concentrations of any fruit. Enjoy a kiwi each day for healthier and more vital skin.
Herbs Fight Oxidative Stress
Herbs are jam-packed full of natural protective antioxidants and other properties that combat oxidative stress and reduce the signs and symptoms of aging. Here are three you don’t want to miss.
Milk Thistle: Milk thistle is an ancient herb recognized for its medicinal qualities for thousands of years. The extract is made from the plant’s seeds and contains 20% fatty acids and 80% silymarin, a powerful antioxidant. The fatty acids maintain cell membrane integrity and healthy cellular metabolism. Silymarin and its active compound silybin, provide a strong defense against toxins while strengthening cell walls and blocking the free radicals responsible for signs of aging, from attacking healthy cells. Milk thistle is often used topically to clean and protect the face from bacteria and toxins. As an oral supplement, milk thistle cleanses the liver and encourages the production of antioxidants that fight aging.
Ginger: Ginger is a potent anti-aging herb mainly due to its anti-inflammatory properties. If sore or stiff joints are a concern, ginger goes right to work to alleviate the pain and inflammation. Ginger boosts the immune system and helps the body to absorb nutrients from the food we eat. Ginger contains over 50 different antioxidants that work at neutralizing free radicals in our bodies and stimulating the healing process in damaged cells. Ginger improves skin elasticity, prevents fine lines under eyes, reduces forehead wrinkles and sagging skin. Make a tea with a teaspoon of ginger daily for best results.
Neem Oil: Both neem oil and neem leaves have been used to treat the skin for thousands of years. The Neem Tree belongs to the Mahogany family and is an evergreen found mostly in India, Southeast Asia and parts of Africa. All parts of the tree including the oils, seeds, bark and leaves have health promoting qualities.
Neem oil is loaded with nutrients and contains a high level of antioxidants that protect the skin from environmental toxins. The oil is high in fatty acids and vitamin E, which is easily absorbed into the skin to help rejuvenate tired cells, restore elasticity and give skin a healthy glow. Aspirin-like properties soothe inflammation and irritation while fighting off the bacteria.
A discussion about anti aging would not be complete without mention of one of the most potent superfoods on the planet. Coconuts and their oil have been used by Pacific Islanders for thousands of years both as a food source and a medicinal aid. It is a natural oil that is rich in health promoting lauric acid. According to the Coconut Research Center, “Coconut helps to protect the body from harmful free radicals that promote premature aging and degenerative disease.” Coconut oil softens skin, diminishes fine lines and wrinkles, and when taken internally, helps balance hormones, metabolism and improve immune function.
Don’t Forget About Water
You lose about 8 glasses of water each day through your skin. Hydration is essential to overall health and wellness. It helps remove toxins, circulates nutrients and reduces fine lines and wrinkles. Begin each day with a glass of warm lemon water.
Lemons provide a valuable dose of vitamin C, which boosts immune function and helps the skin to repair itself. The potassium in the lemon also helps keep free radicals at bay. Drink water freely throughout the day to stay hydrated.