A couple of weeks ago, a very close friend told me she had made a decision to start taking better care of herself. She then proudly showed me this very expensive face cream she had to make a 45-minute drive just to buy. We made small talk girl (or woman) talk on how we should allow ourselves to spend the money on the body that works the money (#YOLO) and then she drove off.
I couldn’t get the thought off my mind. I called her a few days later to share my thoughts. Permit me share it with you too and maybe go into greater detail.
My friend above is not alone. Lots of women are spending a lot of money on their “rubbing oyels” and whatever else they apply on their skin or do to their skin in an attempt to look young(er). Estimated to be to the tune of over $200 Billion by 2021! We place a high value on how we look on the outside. We have very high standards when it comes to what we will put on our skin. At the same time, we kick and scream about how expensive a pound of salmon is, how expensive it is to “eat healthy”, how hard it is to take time to cook nutritious foods. But here is the thing: NOTHING will influence how well we age more than the foods we eat. Period. The end. I promise you that the single most effective and affordable anti-aging strategy or skin care routine is what we put in to our mouths. I am all for spending your money and taking care of your skin, but if we are not addressing the root cause of aging, the root cause of the wrinkles and sagging skin, we are fighting a losing battle.
The signs of aging and the rate at which we age is influenced by the quality and the quantity of what we eat. The face cream she bought can address wrinkles but it will not slow down the aging process. We make more impact working from the inside out, addressing the causes of aging at the cellular level.
Hormones and chronic inflammation have a lot to do with aging. The foods we eat are the building blocks of our bodies. Food provides the raw materials the body needs to make new proteins including hormones. Hormones are chemical messengers that send marching orders to all organs telling them what to do. When hormones start acting up (because they are not manufactured correctly, or enough), we start to age. Inflammation is the starting point for all disease processes or break down in the body. It is also greatly influenced by what we eat. If we want to age well and have the best skin, we must keep our hormones happy and keep inflammation under control. That is the real secret.
So how can we eat so that we are creating a healthy, youthful resilient body and slowing down aging? I share 5 practical implementation strategies:
Eat to control blood sugar. We are eating way too much sugar. By sugar, I mean carbohydrates. One of the most common ways we trigger inflammation and speed up the aging process is by increasing blood sugar too much and too frequently. I am not condemning carbs, but we have to be smart about our carbohydrate consumption. We don’t need carbs at every meal. We don’t need to have the heap of rice plus two fingers of bananas all in one meal. A big change you can implement today to slow down rate of aging is to stay away from foods that spike blood sugar. I try to consume starchy carbs mostly after vigorous exercise or in the evening. ½ cup is more than enough for most of us.
Pay attention to the fats you are consuming. Specifically, reduce sources of Omega-6 fats and include more Omega- 3 fats in your diet. Omega-6 fats are the “bad fat” common in processed/refined foods. Think most things that come in a box or a bag. Stay away from oils such as canola, soybean corn oil, vegetable oils and things that have those oils. Coconut oil, olive oil are better alternatives. Omega-3 fats help reduce inflammation in the body. Good sources are wild caught fish like mackerel and salmon 2-3 times a week.
Fast every once in a while. More and more research is showing that periodic fasting can slow down the aging process. However, fasting will not make up for a bad diet. Your nutritional foundation has to be on point before you toy with the idea of fasting. I personally do what is called intermittent fasting 1-2 times a week.
Eat more vegetables! If you know me, you would know this was coming. Honestly, I truly believe that veggies are the panacea for everything! Eat a wide variety of colorful veggies. They supply the antioxidants that the body needs to fight reactive oxygen species. That is big book I know, but trust me you don’t want ROS running around in your body.
Drink more water! Enough said! Drink until your pee is the color of lemonade. For me that is about 2 liters a day. Find out what it takes for you.
Other lifestyle changes that really go a long way to slow down the aging process is sleep more and reduce stress in your life.
While we can’t stop aging, we can slow it down. I have nothing against lotions and potions and creams. My argument is that before we spend our money fixing the outside, why don’t we spend the same resources and address the issue at its roots. We are going to eat anyway. Why not spend the money on quality nutrition so we don’t just look young on the outside, but we equally feel young on the inside. Yes?
Let me know your thoughts!