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 plumpedr, 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.
Study finds shocking link between exercise and heart disease
It amazes me that people can lead lazy, sedentary lives, and then think that working up a lather in the gym is going to suddenly make them healthy and fit. It just doesn’t work that way. And a new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine proves just that. The researchers found that no amount of exercise can offset the negative effects of being too inactive.
In fact, for every extra hour that you sit on your hind parts watching the boob tube, your risk of developing metabolic syndrome rises an extra 26 percent. That part is the no-brainer. Here’s what’s likely to shock people:
You face the same risks of heart disease and diabetes whether you exercise or not
That’s because being inactive for extended periods of time causes chemical reactions in the body that can’t be solved by going to the gym five times a week.
The researchers concluded: “In the future, the focus in clinical practice and guidelines should not only be to promote and prescribe exercise, but also to encourage people to maintain their intermittent levels of daily activities [that involve movement].”
That’s the same advice I’ve been giving you for decades now—and that most of my colleagues have ridiculed me for. I always knew the science would catch up…eventually.
The bottom line is that it’s important to stay active. After all, muscles function with a use-it-or-lose-it mentality. But you don’t need to pay pricy gym memberships to get the benefits of some healthy activity.
The point is not to increase your amount of stressful exercise, but to cut down on the amount of inactivity. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park farther away in the parking lot. Take up doubles tennis, or take a dance lesson.
Or, you could engage in my all-time favorite activity…sex. If the results of a recent study in the American Journal of Cardiology hold true…
Having sex twice a week is about the best thing you can do for your heart
Scientists at the New England Research Institute in Massachusetts studied more than 1,000 men between 40 and 70 years old over a 16-year period as a part of the Massachusetts Male Ageing Study. After quizzing the men on how frequently they had sex, the researches tested them for signs of heart disease. Sure enough, the men who were getting lucky at least twice a week were 45 percent less likely to develop heart disease than those who only had sex once a month.
Sounds like a win-win to me, but there are a few things I need to point out about this study. The first is that it’s based on a questionnaire—and let’s be honest here. How many men are going to admit that their red-hot love life has seen better days? But even if you give these men the benefit of the doubt, it’s hard to ignore the chicken-or-the-egg phenomenon with a study like this one: Does regular sex lead to a healthy heart, or do people who have healthier hearts have sex more often? I tend to think that the answer to both questions is yes.
Clearly, if you’re not healthy enough to have sex, you won’t be able to cash in on its benefits. But if you ARE healthy enough to have sex, there’s no doubt that the benefits extend beyond immediate gratification. It starts with a healthier heart—and it keeps adding up from there. If you need more reasons to have sex on a regular basis, try these on for size…
5 surprising benefits of sex
1. Sex strengthens your immune system. Boosting your bedroom performance can improve your immune system by increasing levels of immunoglobulin A, an antibody that helps protect you from colds and infections.
2. Sex relieves pain. Your body releases the hormone oxytocin during sex, which has been shown to be a powerful pain reliever. You know what that means…Next time your wife uses a headache as an excuse to avoid sex, tell her you’ve got the cure!
3. Sex improves your sleep. If you’re having trouble falling asleep at night, don’t take a Tylenol PM, take a romp with your wife. Turns out that yet another benefit of oxytocin is that it promotes sleep.
4. Sex reduces your risk of prostate cancer. Men who ejaculate at least five times a week—with or without a partner—are less likely to develop prostate cancer, according to the Nation Cancer Institute.
5. Sex helps you live longer. One study found that men who have an orgasm at least twice a week are half as likely to die as those who only had an orgasm once a month. That could be because sex increases your levels of the hormone DHEA, which can boost your immune system, repair damaged tissue, improve your memory, and work as an antidepressant—all factors that could lead to a longer lifespan.
I know what some of you are thinking: You’d have more sex if you could…but what if you can’t? Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered. Stay tuned for next month’s issue, where I’ll share some of the best-kept secrets for getting back in the saddle again. Trust me. If you only read one issue, this should be the one.