Everyone is searching for the fountain of youth. From drugstores to infomercials, retailers promise secrets that will make you look younger. Experts say it’s never too early to start thinking about it. While we can't promise that you will take years off of your face or body overnight, with the help of area experts, we can offer some natural ways to minimize aging from the inside out.
“Drinking at least 80 ounces of hydrating fluid per day will help keep your skin nice and supple and prevent wrinkles and other early signs of aging,” said Meg Miller, a registered dietitian with the Greenville Hospital System.
Water is not the only hydrating liquid, but Miller cautions against caffeine and alcohol.
“Caffeine is dehydrating,” Miller said. “Limit coffee or tea to two cups per day. Alcohol is also dehydrating. Excessive alcohol decreases skin elasticity.”
Decrease inflammation with food
“As we age our bodies have a hard time managing inflammation,” Miller said. “You can see it externally in the form of redness, but it also is a factor in many diseases. Some foods that will decrease inflammation are onions, garlic and ginger.”
Increase intake of antioxidant-rich fruits
“The most nutritious fruits are those with the deepest, darkest colors, like blueberries, blackberries, grapes,” Miller said.
Antioxidants are important because they protect your cells against the affects of free radicals, which are thought to contribute to many diseases.
“Red grapes are good, because they also contain resveratrol, which also acts as an antioxidant,” she added. “There is some benefit to drinking moderate amounts of red wine (one glass a day for women, two for men) but alcohol has aging factors, so that is a fine line.”
Eat guava to promote collagen production
Collagen is a protein in our body that keeps skin looking firm, but decreases as we age.
“Vitamin C can promote collagen production,” said Miller. “Guava has one of the highest amounts of vitamin C in any fruit.”
Eat your veggies
“Just like with fruits, the darker the better. We recommend at least one serving of dark leafy green vegetable a day,” Miller said. “These contain magnesium, calcium and vitamin k. Vitamin K is important to make sure that your blood stays healthy and clots properly. there is also some research that suggests that it reduces certain types of cancer.”
Avoid sugar, salt and trans fat
Avoid the three dietary demons: sugar, salt and trans fat, said John Defendis, former Mr. America and creator of the Ultrafit weight loss program at 10 Star Fitness.
“Sodium makes your face look bloated and heavy,” said Defendis.
Miller agrees. “Salt increases blood presser and causes your heart to have to work harder,” she said.
Miller also recommends avoiding processed and charred meats.
“The char is actually hydrocarbons that are linked to cancer formation and interfere with the bodies ability to turn over and rebuild cells,” she said.
Do a little heavy lifting
“The more lean muscle you have, the slower you will age,” Defendis said. “Lean muscle utilizes energy so that you burn more calories. Weight loss is the number one way to minimize the aging process.”
Defendis recommends at least three rest days for those beginning a new training program.
“One of the mistakes people make as they begin a new exercise program is to go at it six days a week, they really want to get it done,” said Defendis. “They get burned out. What people have to understand, especially as you get older, is that your body needs rest to rebuild. The rest is just as important as the training.”