How To Look Young & Stay Younger Than Your Age
The media has it all. From magazines to newspapers to TV ads, they are all full of beauty tips on how to have smooth and youthful skin. And they eventually advise you to buy this anti-wrinkle product or that anti-aging product to achieve just that -smooth and youthful skin: a look that your family members, friends, colleagues would remark,
"You're 40? Wow! You don't look like 40 at all!"
"Yeah, I thought she's just 28!"
The internet, however, is full of articles for the same purpose giving personal tips on how to maintain good health, good skin, wrinkle-free face, etc. Sure, there are countless of doable tips out there.
Here are nine of the things that would contribute to help you look young and stay younger than your age. I am following them myself.
Eat more fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds
Forget about servings. These nature's provisions can be consumed without limit. What's amazing about these foods is that they have built-in natural suppressors which keep you satiated without over-eating. In fact, they cannot be over-eaten. Their fiber itself would suppress your appetite preventing you from eating more. These foods contain antioxidants and other anti-aging nutrients that combat free radicals (molecules or ions that can damage healthy cells and suppress your immune system). So the next time you shop, fill your trolley with foods which are closest to nature and ditch all packaged goods with 'best before' or 'expire on' written on their packaging.
Personally, the word "servings" does not apply to my husband and I. We are voracious eaters of fruits (whatever is seasonally available in the market which is a 45-minute drive) and vegetables. I only cook once, usually at lunch, and even with a cooked meal, mostly without grains, we always end it with two to three kinds of fruits. Our nuts consumption includes cashews, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, as well as peanuts (raw and slightly roasted) although peanuts are legumes. Our seeds consumption includes flax, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, and melon seeds generally grounded and added to whole wheat flour for making roti or chapati (Indian breads). We usually eat unsalted pistachios with sun-dried raisins. We also consume varieties of dates. We are about 70-80 percent raw vegan.
Drink a lot of water
Water is essential for having a softer, moisturized skin. It is the vehicle for delivering essential nutrients to the skin cells. Loss of hydration in the skin shows in all sorts of ways - dryness, tightness, flakiness. Dry skin has less resilience and is more prone to wrinkling. For soft and smooth skin, drinking an adequate amount of water is probably more important than lotions applied topically. In other words, if your skin cells are dehydrated, they need water from the inside more than lotion from the outside. Applying lotion on to the skin is like painting a cracked wall. The right thing to do is to repair the wall rather than hide the crack through paint. Plus, water brings no pollution compared to lotions and other chemically concocted skin moisturizers.
My husband drinks a lot of water, probably 4-5 liters a day, and has not used lotion for three decades and his skin is moisturized. I, however, was using it until nine years ago. I followed him -drinking a lot of water, probably 2-3 liters a day, and my skin does not need lotion anymore.
Stop eating meat and eggs
While many people think that animal protein is healthy as long as it is lean, the truth is that all types of animal proteins are unhealthy and can lead to critical imbalances in your body that sap you of your energy, drain minerals from your bones and cells, and actually speed up the aging process.
Animal protein is also acidic. In fact, it is one of the most metabolically acidic foods humans eat. Your body functions within a very narrow range of pH at about 7.0, which is slightly alkaline. When the foods you eat move your body out of this range of alkalinity, the cells don’t function properly. Your body then seeks to pull mineral salts from cells and bones in order to restore alkalinity. This can result in free radical formation, which accelerates the aging process.
In other words, the result of eating significant amounts of animal protein is accelerated aging.
Ditch dairy and dairy products
Milk does not only increase risks of bone fractures and is pro-inflammatory. Cow's milk or any other milk derived from animals is also associated with aging. D-galactose is produced by the body as it breaks down the sugar found in milk. Studies show that chronic exposure to this nutrient induces "oxidative stress damage, chronic inflammation, neurodegeneration, decreased immune response, and gene transcriptional changes.
Also, recent scientific studies have suggested that dairy products may be linked to increased risk for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and possibly for ovarian and breast cancers.
There are a wide variety of plant-based milk available in the market these days. Peanut milk, cashew milk, almond milk, coconut milk are just a few of these products which can be bought commercially or can easily be made at home.
As for skin moisturizer, plant-based milk cream is enough. I use it myself, not diligently every day, and it makes my skin soft and smooth. After making nut milk I just scoop a teaspoon of the cream and apply it on to my face, arms and legs.
Smoking is probably the worst thing you can possibly do for your body, including your skin.
Everyone ages, but those who smoke do so at a faster rate than those who do not. Wrinkles appear much faster in those who smoke, giving them the appearance of people much older. It has been observed that the skin of smoking addicts at the age of 40 years resembles skin of non-smoking 70 year old adults. This occurs as smoking damages tissues, reduces blood flow to the skin, and prevents vitamins and crucial oxygen from reaching the skin. According to the Mayo Clinic, smoking also damages collagen and elastin directly, both of which are contributors to aging. In tobacco smoke, nicotine and other dangerous substances have detrimental influence not only for smokers but for the "passive smokers" whom very often are children.
Skin damage due to tobacco smoke is irreversible, where further damage can be avoided by stopping smoking. So quit smoking. Or much better, don't start! Instead start a habit which is beneficial to your health and longevity. Eating varied seasonal fruits as your meal (not as desserts) is a good habit to start and maintain.
Eliminate or minimize cooking
Cooking produces AGEs or Advance Glycation End Products which cause premature aging. So it is not a surprise that a whole-food plant-based (WFPB) eater ages differently (slower and better) than those whose diets are processed or cooked. Two, cooking especially frying and roasting, produces acrylamide which is associated with cancer. Acrylamide is high in roasted and fried animal flesh and even in roasted and fried plant-based foods. Three, cooking damages some B vitamins and completely destroys vitamin C in foods. Vitamin C helps in better absorption of iron in the body. Take note though that too much iron, just like too much protein, is dangerous. So it is no wonder that even though many people consume iron-rich foods and take iron supplements they still become deficient of it because their consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables is minimal to nil or the vitamin C that is present in the vegetables they eat is destroyed by heating/cooking them.
Avoid refined sugar, artificial sweetener, and sweet foods
Sugar in all its forms (corn syrup, cane sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, etc.) is extremely damaging to the skin. In fact, it can be damaging to all organ systems. It hastens the degradation of elastin and collagen, both key skin proteins.
The sugar triggers a process in the body called glycation. This is where the sugar molecules bind to your protein fibres - those wonderfully springy and resilient collagen and elastin fibres - which are the building blocks of skin.
As dermatologist Dr. Fredric Brandt explains, "Imagine that your collagen is your skin’s mattress and the elastin fibres are the coils holding it together. The sugar attacks these fibres, making them less elastic and more brittle so they break. The result is that your once-youthful skin starts to sag and look old".
But what's worse is that the glycation process causes these proteins to mutate, creating harmful new molecules called Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs), which accumulateand cause further inflammation and damage to your collagen and elastin. If you have normal, healthy collagen and elastin, your skin will snap back to its original position after you smile. But if your collagen and elastin has been made brittle by glycation and so is prone to breaking, your skin can’t snap back. That’s when fine lines and wrinkles appear - and they don’t go away.
In other words, it actively ages you.
As for me, my husband and I stopped using table sugar for our coffee or tea about nine months ago and the only sweetener we use are dates or date syrup and we don't buy sweets and highly processed bakery and grocery items anymore. Though I admit that, once in a while (once in two or three months) I make vegan banana-mango ice cream and beet root cake with cashews and almonds as flour and dates and raisins as sweetener. I also stopped drinking soft drinks four years ago (my husband never drinks those).
Get enough sleep
Dr Elma Baron, director of the Skin Study Center at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio, said: ‘Sleep-deprived women show signs of premature skin ageing and a decrease in their skin’s ability to recover after sun exposure.’
Sleep is a time when the body rests, rejuvenates, replenishes, and regenerates. Particularly in the second stage of sleep called Delta sleep, which accounts for approximately one-third of the night, hormone levels peak and at this point cell repair takes place. That means any damage that has been done to the skin that could contribute to premature aging is repaired here. All stages of sleep are also responsible for dissolving free radicals – notorious for their contribution to early aging.
It has been shown that a chronic lack of sleep results in higher stress hormone levels like cortisol and cause premature aging and also leave us more vulnerable to diseases that cause early aging such as hypertension. This also means that those who slept badly had more fine lines, uneven skin color and slackening of skin.
A few tips to have a better sleep at night include, one, sleeping in darkness. Turn off all artificial lights and cover your room windows with thick curtains to prevent street lights from coming into your room. Two, eating melanin-rich foods is known to induce sleep. Almonds are rich in melanin. Foods rich in vitamin A encourage melanin production as well as maintaining its levels and making our tans last longer. The humble carrot is one of the largest sources of vitamin A. Three, avoid blue lights at night because they are known to suppress melanin production and melanin is important in sleep cycle. Change your LED lights to incandescent bulbs.
Live in a healthy environment
Air pollution in urban areas, much of which comes from traffic, includes tiny particles called PMs (particulate matters), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and chemicals such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). According to Prof. Jean Krutmann, director at the Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine in Germany, PMs are a problem for skin. They increase age spots and wrinkles. NO2 increases aging as well. So what does this tell you? Live in a place where there is much greenery. Spend weekends in the woods. Go hiking or camping.
Personally, my husband and I have always chosen a better environment to live in surrounded by hills and forest with plenty of trekking routes to walk on with our two non-human friends. The places we've lived in were less polluted and less people.