Unnatural Enemy

keep those wrinkles at bay but also to tickle your taste buds!

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.

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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.

salmon fillet with vegetables and basilDinner: 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. beef with mushrooms.jpg

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: plastic burger

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! meal0618

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.

Beat the Clock

‘miracle herb against aging and cancer’

According to the National Centre For Biotechnology Information one of the very first signs of physical aging is the decline in thymocyte function or the slowing down of production of T cells which recognise and destroy other cells in our bodies that have become infected. T cells mature in the thymus gland but, as we get older, this gland becomes smaller and smaller and so the T cell function decreases leaving us at greater risk of disease. This means that, as we get older, we need to do what we can to stimulate our immune system.

220px-Echinacea_3Many of us know of the herbal supplement Echinacea and use it when we have the first signs of a cold but scientific tests indicate that it may also be effective in helping to enhance immune systems and therefore increase protection against more serious illnesses. Some studies have even questioned whether Echinacea is the ‘miracle herb against aging and cancer’

We should also think about the foods that we can eat that will nourish the thymus gland and therefore improve its efficacy. We all know the importance of having enough fresh fruits and vegetables in our diet but we should also be thinking in terms of increasing our intake of foods which are rich in carotenes. Scientific studies have been carried out which show that B carotene has ‘marked stimulatory action on the growth of the thymus gland’ and are therefore essential to our diets if we want to maintain our health as we get older.

CARROUSELcarrot-sweet-potato-salad-11-660x400This is a perfect example of the type of foods that we should be eating; carrots, spinach and sweet potatoes are all rich sources of B carotene. Look for yellow and orange in your fruits and vegetables as well as green leafy vegetables; as a general rule of thumb, the more intense the colour, the more B carotene.

If you’re not that keen on eating lots of vegetables then try juicing them – carrot, orange and spinach juice is a great tasting combination and a super quick and efficient way to get your daily B carotene fix.

We can also stimulate the thymus gland through exercise; there are a number of yoga poses which are believed to be particularly effective. If you have never tried yoga then have a chat with a professional first.

Both cobra pose (right) and Bridge Pose are designed to stimulate the Thymus gland

If you exercise daily you will improve your blood circulation and this will ensure that thymus waste products are removed quickly and efficiently so, whether its yoga, walking, tennis or football, make sure that you are doing at least 30 minutes of exercise every day to keep yourself feeling younger and healthier.