Although we cannot stop ageing, we can slow down this process by leading a healthy lifestyle and, most importantly, eating healthily and making smarter food choices.
Eat the rainbow
Increase the intake of orange-rich foods (pumpkin, sweet potato, carrots, peaches, apricots) which are naturally high in beta carotene. Once ingested, beta carotene gets converted into vitamin A (also known as retinol), which performs several biological functions within the body and acts as an antioxidant that protects cells from the damaging effects of harmful free radicals, giving you a healthy glow.
Lycopene present in red-coloured foods is also an incredible antioxidant. Usually known for its presence in tomatoes, it can help assist in metabolic functions related to cell growth and repair (other food sources include pink grapefruit, papaya, and goji berries).
Lutein, a carotenoid found in dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, as well as avocados and eggs, has been studied for years not only for its health benefits but also for its role in slowing down brain ageing.
Another potent antioxidant found in green vegetables, zeaxanthin, has been shown to be beneficial to help slow down age-related eye diseases. Other ‘anti-ageing’ foods packed with vitamin E, such as almonds, spinach and sunflower seeds, as well as foods rich in omega-3 including salmon, trout, sardines and walnuts, can help hydrate and lubricate the skin from within.
We have probably all heard how important it is to stay hydrated; this is especially important when it comes to fighting off signs of ageing. If we are not getting enough fluids, our skin loses elasticity and, as a result, is more prone to wrinkles, can look dull, tired and aged.
Nourish the gut
The ageing process begins deep within our body; a radiant and healthy gut can translate into a radiant and wrinkle-free appearance!
Probiotics can promote the growth of new brain cells, especially after antibiotic use. As we get older, we are naturally exposed to more toxins from our environment and our metabolism becomes sluggish which can lead to premature ageing – probiotics play a fundamental role in giving our immunity and metabolism a natural boost.
In terms of skin health, probiotics can help with nutrient absorption which will improve skin complexity; they help in restoring the body’s natural pH and can help in reducing damage from sun exposure. Think of including natural sources of probiotics in your diet e.g. sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi and kombucha.
Say ‘no’ to inflammatory foods
Inflammation seems to be the primary cause of a large number of illnesses. Many scientists now believe that a build-up of chronic inflammation is one of the root causes of ageing. This process is being referred to as ‘inflammaging’: the greater the underlying inflammation, the faster the ageing process. Try to limit processed and high fat foods such as pastries, crisps, fatty meats, as well as excessive alcohol and foods high in sugar.
Sugar is believed to be a big evil when it comes to inflammation – it can lead to damage in your skin’s collagen, which usually keeps it springy and wrinkle-resistant!