We're all aware of the advice to treat our bodies right and slow the aging process: drink water, wear sunscreen, exercise, stress less, get more sleep. But there's a lot out there you might not already know.
Your lifestyle choices (including the food you put inside your body) show up in your appearance, and I don’t just mean on your waistline. Some foods actually age you faster than others, leaving you looking tired, bloated and years older. Thankfully, there are also plenty of foods and activities that can keep you looking youthful.
Here are my top seven age-defying nutrition and lifestyle tips to keep you looking as young as you feel.
1. Cut sugar, save your cells.
Sugar is not your friend when it comes to an anti-aging regimen. It causes inflammation, which plays a role in cancer, diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s, causes skin to lose its elasticity, collagen and moisture, and is even thought to help cause wrinkles!
Want to stay looking young? Keep your sugar intake to less than 25 grams (100 calories) a day. That's about six teaspoons of sugar, or about half the amount of sugar in a can of Coke. Satisfy your sweet tooth by opting for fresh fruit over baked goods.
2. Brighten your skin with exotic fruits.
While we're on the topic of using fruit to satisfy a sugar craving, why not also let that fruit pull double-duty as a skin brightener? Sure, guava and pichuberries might not be available at your local market, but I promise they're worth the search.
Guava is high in vitamin C, which is vital to the production of collagen to keep your skin looking young, tight and wrinkle-free. And pichuberries (golden berries native to the Andes) are high in antioxidants, which are known to have anti-inflammatory properties, protect the liver and kidneys, promote proper immune function, fight cancer and lower blood sugar.
3. Eat protein to help your skin cells rebuild.
Protein is a major component in every cell of the body and it's essential for to building and repairing bones, muscles, skin, cartilage and blood. Protein keeps you young, so stick with lean protein sources like chicken, turkey, beans, legumes, seeds, whey protein, yogurt, quinoa and eggs.
4. Eat fat to get fit.
People tend to think fat is the enemy, but that's just not true. "Bad fats" are dangerous for your waistline and heart health, but there are also healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, fish, nuts, whole grains and seeds (flax, chia, hemp).
Not only do these taste great, but they're are essential to keep you looking young and feeling great. Healthy fats, like omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids help lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol, increase HDL (good) cholesterol, reduce inflammation, promote cell turnover, increase skin elasticity, make skin glow, promote healthy/strong hair and nails, promote brain function and reduce joint pain.
5. Fight cellulite with cold showers.
Cold showers activate brown fat (good fat) to burn white fat (bad fat) as energy to keep us warm. Brown fat also improves circulation, reduces inflammation, repairs muscle and refines hair and skin by sealing pores to retain moisture. I suggest taking a warm (not hot) shower and turn it to cold for the last few minutes (or as long as you can tolerate!).
6. Sleep naked.
You may be a bit insecure about this one, but rest assured sleeping naked is worth it. Sleeping without clothes and keeping the room temperature below 71 degrees promotes a cooling of the body and helps you get a more restful night’s sleep. It can also help regulate cortisol, making you less likely to overeat the next day, and helps release melatonin and growth hormone — vital for aging gracefully.
7. Stall aging with resistance training.
We're told that exercise is important to maintain youth, but some forms of exercise — like spending hours on an elliptical — can actually have the opposite effect. Instead of always doing cardio, incorporate resistance training at least twice a week to build muscle, burn fat, increase metabolism, shape your body, tighten your skin, decrease the appearance of cellulite, increases endorphins and decrease stress.
Follow these tips and you'll be well on your way to prolonging your life and looking as youthful as ever!