The 7 habits of wrinkle-free women
Spice up your food
What do spices have to do with ageing, you ask? The answer involves a little explanation of how ageing occurs: inflammation is the culprit. When inflammation happens in your body, free radicals are produced. These free radicals break down collagen in your skin, resulting in fine lines and skin thinning. Spices like tumeric, cayenne and sage have brilliant anti-inflammatory compounds.
Natural health expert Dr Joseph Mercola says a teaspoon of herbs and spices a day can have a positive effect on your health. “Basil, for example, is in many Italian spices and is loaded with antioxidants.”
Exercise sounds like a cliché, but it really is the best medicine for anti-ageing. It helps reduce stress (another factor in making you look older) and it improves your circulation, which will give you a gorgeous and healthy glow.
Sadly, this isn’t good news if you’re an insomniac: when you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces cortisol – a hormone that, in excess amounts, breaks down your skin’s collagen. Sleep also helps produce human growth hormone (HGH), which gives your skin its elasticity and thickness.
We’re talking the healthy kind, like monounsaturated and omega-3 rich fats which can be found in fish oil, olive oil, walnuts and pumpkin seeds. All of these fats also help fight that ageing inflammation.
Protein contributes to the collagen and elastin (the building blocks) of your skin. The recommended minimum amount of protein a day is about three tablespoons worth in size for an average sized women who doesn’t exercise. If you exercise or are recovering from an injury, you need much more protein a day.
Avoid sugar and carbohydrates
Sure, your waistline will thank you, but these foods also greatly contribute to ageing. When you eat sugar, it attaches itself to the proteins in your bloodstream to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products (called AGES for short). “As AGES accumulate, they damage adjacent proteins in a domino-like fashion,” explains dermatologist Dr Fredric Brandt in his book 10 Minutes/10 Years (Simon & Schuster, R403).
Collagen is the most prevalent protein in your body, which makes it most susceptible to AGES damage. Instead, replace sugar and refined carbohydrates with brightly coloured vegetables like peppers, kale, spinach, cabbage and broccoli. And remember to check your labels for hidden sugars in your foods.
Stay out of the sun
It’s starting to sound like that annoying buzz in your ear, but here are the statistics to support it. Dermatologists tested the effects of UV light on 298 women in 2013. They discovered that the sun is responsible for 80.3% of skin ageing. Those aren’t figures to mess with! So apply your SPF and make sure to include your hands and your neck.
They say that it takes 21 days to form a new habit, so we’ve found tricks and tips that are easy to do. The added bonus? They won’t cost you a thing!