Today we’re talking about healthy ageing with Jenni from Nettle & Rose Nutrition.
“Fill in wrinkles” “smooth out skin” “dye grey hairs” “tighten” “reduce” “wear a paper bag”!!! Ok, the last one I made up, but doesn’t advertising sometimes feel like that? Ageing is a topic that riles me up, especially with so much advertising fuelling women’s insecurities about it. Why do we fear something so natural? Western culture places a lot of stigma on ageing, when the real emphasis should be on embracing all stages of life and doing our best to age in a HEALTHY way. Instead of buying into expensive wrinkle cream products, I think we should invest in a lifestyle that can help us avoid disease, chronic illness, cognitive decline and a buffet of medication.
So, let’s chat about how we can age beautifully.
First up, antioxidants
Researchers say there is a 99% chance that oxidants, or free radicals, (which are produced by anything from cars to smoking to putting a piece of meat on the bbq) contribute to unhealthy ageing. Oxidants can cause damage and errors in structures and function of cells and DNA, and we generally know this as the symptoms of ageing…declining vision, wrinkling skin, poor digestion, lack of energy, a decrease in cognitive function, worsening cardiovascular health and so on.
But, antioxidants can mop these nasties up and help you slow down (perhaps even reverse!) this process from both inside and out.
Think deep, rich, colour! The deeper the pigment, the more antioxidants the fruit or vegetable contains. Berries are my ‘go to’ for an antioxidant hit in a nice smoothie. Eating a cup of berries a day – fresh or frozen – reduces oxidative stress, lowers inflammation and improves brain cell signalling. Carrots and tomatoes contain vitamin A; vitamin C is found in citrus fruit and dark leafy green vegetables; and vitamin E is found in seeds, nuts, eggs, liver and fish.
Nutrition is fundamentally involved at every stage of skin development, with antioxidants vital for healthy ageing skin. For example, vitamin C is involved in the process of making collagen. The flexibility of collagen and elastin fibres declines in time owing to damage caused by free radicals. This damage is limited by antioxidants. A diet rich in minerals and vitamins can literally transform the structure of skin and hair cells, increasing structural integrity, smoothness, elasticity and strength.
Essential Fatty Acids are…essential
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are involved in altering metabolism, affecting cellular growth and reducing DNA damage. Omega-3, 6, and 9s, or various combinations thereof, have been shown to provide cardiovascular, immune, brain, and nerve function benefits…and provide general anti-aging benefits for dry skin, brittle nails, and thinning hair (without enough fats in cell membranes, they are not able to retain water and they lose their plumpness).
So, for healthy brain, bones, eyes and skin – include plenty of essential fat-rich foods in your diet such as fish, nuts, seeds, and their oils. Think about having seeds or nuts as snacks, in salads or ground up and on yogurt.
Hydration for healthy looking skin
Imagine a balloon filled with water – taut and firm to the touch. Allow some of the water out and the balloon will shrink and become shrivelled. Deprive a cell of water and it will produce a similar result. That’s why hydration is so important. Deep in your skin, water is a crucial component. Water provides the basis for the healthy, soft and taut look of youthful skin. Plenty of water also promotes healthy liver function. We must look after our liver as it ages – happy liver, happy life!
B vitamins help keep your cells young
B vitamins control a process in the body called ‘methylation’. This is vital for keeping your cells young, by protecting DNA and allowing you to build healthy new cells. Sources of B vitamins includes fish, poultry, eggs, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds, and dark green leafy veg.
Avoiding or reducing stress could extend your life
Prolonged stress causes depletion of the adrenal hormone DHEA. Low DHEA levels are associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease and ageing in general. Try to reduce your stress with long walks, yoga sessions, meditation, swimming, journaling, hot baths etc.
So, here are my top-tips for ageing beautifully:
- Stay away from avoidable sources of free radicals – including fried or browned food, exhaust fumes, smoke and strong sunlight
- Eat plenty of anti-oxidant rich fruit and vegetables – think colour and favour green
- Don’t forget essential fatty acids – think good quality fish, nuts, seeds and their oils
- Keep fit with regular cardiovascular and resistance exercise
- Manage stress daily
- Limit alcohol, caffeine, chemical additives, sugar and smoking
- Drink at least a litre of water a day
And these are some of the best anti-ageing foods:
- Blueberries, cranberries, strawberries and raspberries
- Red and purple grapes – contain 20 known antioxidants!
- Broccoli – packed with antioxidants and is a rich source of chromium which protects the body against high blood sugar levels. In women it helps the body get rid of harmful oestrogen that promotes cancer.
- Carrots – beta carotene is good for the eyes and immune system
- Onion – rich source of quercetin, which inactivates cancer causing agents. Also have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral properties.
- Spinach – rich in lutein and beta carotene, appears to protect against cancer, high blood pressure, strokes, muscular degeneration and even psychiatric problems. Its rich in folic acid – a brain and artery protector
- Tomatoes – richest source of antioxidant leucopenia
- Garlic – contains dozens of antioxidants
- Ginger, almonds, brazil nuts and pumpkin seeds – packed with zinc, which gives super skin. Zinc heals wounds and helps prevent stretch marks. Brazil nuts and seeds are rich in selenium which is an antioxidant vital for younger-looking skin. It makes your skin supple and elastic and prevents and repairs damage caused by pollution.
Thanks so much to Jenni from Nettle & Rose Nutrition for this great post about healthy ageing. If you’ve got any questions or you’d like to know more about how Jenni could help you, please get in touch by phone: 07828533758, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website: www.nettleandrosenutrition.com