As we get older sugar and refined carbohydrates become our enemies as they can actually damage the cells in our bodies.
Basically, refined carbohydrates are forms of sugar and starch that don’t exist in nature. For example, most white bread: the grain to make the flour used to create the bread exists in nature but the additives used to keep it fresh, for instance, don’t.
Even foods labelled as being ‘healthy’ are not necessarily so. So called ‘diet’ cereals contain a great deal of sugar unless they are unsweetened and 100% whole grain. Snack bars, unless you can see a label which says ‘sugar free’ will also contain high levels of sugar.
To avoid the aging effects of this type of food – keep it natural with fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh fish and lean meat.
Here we have an example of a daily meal plan which will keep refined carbs and sugars to a minimum, helping to keep those wrinkles at bay but also to tickle your taste buds!
Breakfast: Porridge oats with raw honey. These are complex carbohydrates that are low-glycemic which means that they release energy slowly rather than giving a quick blast of energy which spikes your blood sugar.
Lunch: Avocado Salad
Avocados are full of mono-unsaturated fats i.e. the good kind and they will help your skin stay hydrated and will help your body to absorb nutrients. If you can use a low sugar or sugar free salad dressing all the better. A simple dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper is delicious and with the creaminess of the avocado, you shouldn’t need to load your plate with mayonnaise or salad cream.
Dinner: Salmon with Roasted Vegetables
Salmon contains Omega 3 fatty acids which naturally moisturise the skin from the inside out. They can also protect the skin from sun-induced inflammation and we all know that the sun’s rays are aging for the skin
Or: Lean Steak with Fresh Mushrooms.
Good quality, lean red meat will give your body protein and protein helps to build collagen. Mushrooms are rich in Vitamin D and anti-oxidants which protect your skin against wrinkles and other damage caused by the environment.
Snacks: Oranges and almonds.
Oranges contain high levels of vitamin C and loads of water. The vitamin C will help your body to produce collagen (the main structural protein in your skin) and the water will help to keep your skin hydrated.
Almonds are high in protein, vitamin E and mono-unsaturated fatty acids. Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant and, for older women, has the added benefit of helping to reduce the hot flushes caused by the menopause!
Let’s compare these natural foods to the ingredients found in some fast food chain burgers:
Enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, high fructose corn syrup and/or sugar, yeast, soybean oil and/or canola oil, contains 2% or less of the following: salt, wheat gluten, calcium sulfate, calcium carbonate, ammonium sulfate, ammonium chloride, dough conditioners (may contain one or more of the following: sodium stearoyl lactylate, datem, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, mono- and diglycerides, ethoxylated monoglycerides, monocalcium phosphate, enzymes, guar gum, calcium peroxide), sorbic acid, calcium propionate and/or sodium propionate (preservatives), soy lecithin.
All of these additives are just in the burger bun so that’s without considering the processed cheese slice or the ketchup or mayonnaise and the burger itself.
Ready meals also often contain many additives and artificial preservatives which will give flavour and increase the shelf life but they are hard for your body to digest. They are also often loaded with sugar which can have a seriously aging effect on the body. The recommended daily intake for sugar is around 25g (1oz) but some ready meals contain up to 50g in just one serving so, in just one meal, you will have already eaten twice the daily recommended amount!
Eating naturally will not only keep your skin looking younger and firmer but it will also keep your body at a healthy weight; many people consider that the obesity epidemics in America and, more recently, in the UK have been caused by the increase in the consumption of ultra-processed foods.