Why sugar and fat are the secret ingredients to looking 10 years younger
One look at the waxy-faced, eyebrow-lifted, Botox-injected Joan Rivers-types, and it’s easy to see that people are scared to death of growing old. I can’t blame anyone for wanting to stay looking healthy and young…but getting fat injected into your forehead isn’t the way to do it. Neither is slathering on pricey creams that promise that youthful glow.
Because no matter how much skin serum or anti-wrinkle cream you slather on your skin, at the end of the day, you’re merely painting over the problem—and spending a fortune in the process.
If you want young, vibrant skin, you need to fix it from the inside out.
What you put into your body doesn’t just affect what goes on inside of your body. Remember, your skin is a living, breathing organ—it’s the largest one you have—so you should be just as concerned about the health of your skin as you are about the health of your liver. It’s much more than an issue of vanity. How healthy your skin looks is a telltale sign of how things are functioning on the inside.
“Your skin is the fingerprint of what is going on inside your body, and all skin conditions, from psoriasis to acne to aging, are the manifestations of your body’s internal needs, including nutritional needs,” said Georgiana Donadio, Ph.D., director or the National Institute of Whole Health in Boston.
You’ve probably been told that in order to have healthy skin, you need to drink gallons of water every day. Hogwash. Yes, it’s important to keep your skin well hydrated, but you don’t do that by drinking more water…You do that by eating more fat.
That’s right, believe it or not, Your body needs fat in order to keep your skin hydrated
Getting plenty of dietary fat is key to maintaining healthier skin and hair. For starters, it acts like a vapor barrier, keeping the moisture locked in your skin. But it also helps your body absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K—all of which are extremely vital to a healthier, younger-looking body.
Everyone hails fruits and vegetables for their high antioxidant content and their ability to fight free radical damage—those unstable molecules that are responsible for aging. They directly damage your skin’s DNA, which can lead to dry skin, wrinkles, age spots, and even skin cancer.
But your salad alone won’t save you.
The best way to make your skin cells resistant to free radical damage is to load up on saturated fat. Saturated fat enables your skin to resist oxidative damage and makes your skin cells more resilient. The easiest way to get plenty of this healthy fat is to cook with coconut oil, peanut oil, olive oil, or animal fats.
How sugar factors into the age equation
Believe it or not, sugar also plays a big role in how well you age. The more sugar you eat—in any form—the more your body ages, literally. In fact, I believe that ditching sugar is the easiest way to look 10 years younger!
When you eat sugar, you activate a process called glycation. This occurs when sugar binds to your collagen and elastin fibers (the building blocks of your skin), making them less springy and resilient. That means that when you smile (or frown), the lines don’t bounce back into place as quickly—and eventually, they don’t bounce back at all.
Ultimately, this glycation process produces damaged proteins called advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which can lead to cellular dysfunction and, ultimately, cell death. And if maintaining your youthful glow isn’t reason enough for you to eliminate sugar from your diet, maybe this will make a difference: AGEs can play a role in Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, atherosclerosis, and kidney failure as well.
5 more age-defying nutrients
If you’re still uncomfortable with the idea of eating saturated fat, don’t worry: There are other ways to make sure your skin gets all the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and young. Here are five of the biggest…
Vitamin A. If you’ve noticed that your skin is dry and flaky, you’re probably deficient in vitamin A. This vitamin is crucial to healthy skin because it maintains and repairs skin tissue.
Most nutritionists will tell you to get your vitamin A from vegetables like carrots and broccoli because they contain beta-carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A. If you’re a carrot and broccoli fan, then by all means, chomp away. But for a better vitamin A boost, eat more dairy. It contains straight vitamin A, so your body doesn’t have to convert it from beta-carotene—something many people can’t do (especially if you have diabetes or a thyroid condition).
Essential Fatty Acis. EFAs keep your cell membranes healthy, which helps them to hold in moisture, leading to plumpder, younger-looking skin.
The two main EFAs are omega-6 and omega-3. You probably get plenty of omega-6 without even trying, but most people don’t get enough omega-3. You can easily give your skin an omega-3 boost by eating more fish and walnuts. You should also consider adding flaxseed or flax seed oil to your daily supplement regimen.
Selenium. This mineral is vital for keeping your skin cells healthy—and not just in a cosmetic way. According to research published in the British Journal of Dermatology and Clinical Nutrition, the higher amounts of selenium you have, the less likely your skin cells are to suffer from oxidative damage that leads to cancer.
The best sources of selenium include turkey, tuna, and Brazil nuts.
Green tea. This tasty beverage also promises to protect against skin cancer. It can reduce the damage from ultraviolet light, which can reduce your risk of skin cancer specifically—and its anti-inflammatory properties lead to healthier skin overall.
Iron. This mineral delivers oxygen to the cells—including your skin cells. If your skin isn’t getting enough oxygen, it will end up looking dull and ashen. But don’t try to get your iron through vegetarian sources since your body doesn’t absorb it as well. Instead, stick to beef, chicken, and legumes.