Every September is Healthy Aging Month, an observance designed to focus national attention on the positive aspects of aging and how to gracefully age.
Speaking of aging, there is something aging skin more than time itself. It's true, environmental factors such as stress, sun, pollution, and even smoking can age and damage your skin.
The environment, though, is not the only thing out there trying to ruin your skin. One of your skin's main enemies is probably hiding in your kitchen right now. It's sugar!
What's sugar got to do with it?
There are 3 ways sugar can harm and age skin:
1. Oxidative stress: A diet high in sugar can induce oxidative stress and the production of reactive oxygen species. This will speed up skin aging and degenerate the skin.
2. Inflammation: Inflammation also accelerates skin aging. A diet loaded with the wrong kinds of carbs, like simple carbs and refined sugars and flours, is pro-inflammatory. These foods spike insulin levels which thereafter bring about a burst of inflammation. 3 Inflammation can lead to redness, wrinkles and other signs of aging because certain enzymes produced can break down skin proteins that support skin structure (i.e. collagen).
3. Glycation: When sugar in the body is elevated, it can bind to skin proteins (elastin or collagen) and produce advanced glycation end products (also, coincidentally, known as AGEs). AGEs weaken skin structure and lead to the collapse of skin proteins, forming wrinkles.
Although gracefully aging is a great idea, you shouldn't have to be doing it prematurely (that is, in your 20s)!
Make simple changes in your diet now to delay or prevent any of these processes from aggravating, aging, or ruining your skin. If you're still getting carded at the bar in your 40's, you can thank your anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidation, anti-glycation diet, which:
-includes avoiding or limiting fried foods. Fried foods generally contain higher amounts of AGEs than boiled or steamed food.
-avoids processed meats (especially those infused with sugar) as well as processed, refined carbohydrates.
-avoids simple carbohydrates and added sugars that spike insulin levels and promote inflammation and oxidation.
The more you include healthy food choices in your diet, the easier it will be to avoid the above listed skin killers. Shoot for whole grains, vegetables and fruits, legumes, beans, and nuts that are rich in antioxidants and that help keep your blood sugar and insulin levels stable.
Make room in your kitchen for an efficient way to keep blood sugar levels stable- whey protein. When whey protein is evenly distributed throughout the day in meals and snacks, it can help prevent those pesky insulin spikes. EnergyFirst's whey protein isolate powder makes it an easy task. For more information about why this is a high-quality whey protein isolate and for tasty recipes to include in your anti-aging strategy, visit our ProEnergy page.
1. Int J Angiol. 2014 Dec;23(4):217-26. doi: 10.1055/s-0034-1387169.
2. Ageing Res Rev. 2015 May;21:16-29. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2015.01.001. Epub 2015 Jan 31.
3. Discov Med. 2012 Jun;13(73):451-60.
4. Clin Dermatol. 2010 Jul-Aug;28(4):409-11. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2010.03.018.
5. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012 Jul 1; 4(3): 259–270.