My Anti-Aging Tips
I am often told I don’t look my age. Most people guess me to be in my late 20s or early 30s when they first meet me. They’re surprised to find out that I am actually the ripe old age of 40. I’m not complaining about this one bit! 🙂 Nope, I’m trying to hold onto my youth just as much as the next person, but I try not to obsess or stress about it too much. I simply do the things that I feel make a big impact on how I look and feel. Because what’s the point of looking youthful if you feel old, right? 😉
So, what do I do to stay looking (and feeling) as young as possible? Well, it’s not what I do on the outside, it’s what I do on the inside that has the biggest bang for my buck. I actually didn’t start using any type of anti-aging serums, creams, or anything like that until I was 39 or so… Until then I was still struggling with acne from food sensitivities and hormonal issues, and anti-aging products just made it worse. So, I didn’t use anything besides an eye cream I liked to help with under eye bags. Nope, almost all of my anti-aging strategies are what I put IN my body… not what I put ON my body.
Our bodies are in a constant state of breaking down and removing old, damaged cells, and replacing them with new cells. This begins from the moment we are born. Aging occurs when the breakdown happens faster than the regeneration.
So, how do we obtain the products necessary regenerate new cells?
The food we eat is broken down into molecules that are used in every metabolic process to keep us alive, and to build new cells to replace the old. We literally are what we eat! It is estimated that every 7 years we have an entirely new body, as the old cells have died off, and have been replaced with new cells. Some organ systems’ cells die off and regenerate very quickly, such as our GI tract which regenerates every 3-5 days, and other systems such as our bones and our brains take longer. Either way, whatever you choose to put into your mouth today will impact the body you have tomorrow, next month, next year and beyond…. it will influence how you feel AND how you look.
Here are my top 8 anti-aging habits:
- Cut out sugar – In my early 30s I switched from being a junk food junkie to a whole food junkie. I cut out the majority of processed foods. I started shopping the perimeter of the grocery store instead of the aisles. I switched from highly refined sugars, such as high fructose corn syrup in packaged foods, to more natural sugars such as pure maple syrup in homemade goodies. Over the last decade I have refined that even more. I now eat lower carbohydrate in general, as all carbs (except fiber) are converted to sugar in the body. Most of my carb sources are high fiber, and have minimal impact on my blood sugar. Now, I rarely use added sugars at all… when I do, I usually cut them in half in recipes. I still use a little bit of pure maple syrup from time to time because I love the taste, and if I do choose to use cane sugar, I use organic, and half the amount. I try to use coconut sugar in baking anytime I can as it has a lower effect on blood sugar than refined cane sugar. I use natural sweeteners that don’t impact blood sugar levels, such as stevia or monk fruit, whenever possible. Why does sugar have an impact on aging? Well, for one, sugar is inflammatory. Inflammation is the precursor to pretty much every disease. As far as our skin goes, sugar binds to proteins in a process called glycation. This is the same process that gives bread it’s crust. So, basically sugar binds to proteins in our cells (and our skin) and causes them to be hard and “crusty”… I don’t know about you, but I hope no one ever describes my skin as “crusty”. lol… By cutting sugar I have allowed new cells to generate over the last decade with a more supple look.
- Eat the rainbow – If you have followed me on social media for while you have seen the transformation of my meals over the years. Today I eat a sh*t ton of vegetables everyday. (yes, that’s more than a crap ton 😉 lol) I try to have several servings of leafy greens everyday, and I try to incorporate as many colors of vegetables as possible into my day. I also stick to low sugar fruits, with deep, dark colors, such as blueberries and blackberries too. Why does this matter? Polyphenols and antioxidants. Poly-wha??? Polyphenols are compounds in foods such as fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, and spices. They have been getting more attention in recent years as they are showing promise in disease prevention as well as anti-aging. Antioxidants are a component of polyphenols. They have been researched for decades in their role against fighting off oxidative damage in our cells. Oxidative damage occurs when pollutants and stressors from our environment cause free radicals. A free radical is an oxygen containing moelcule that has one or more unpaired electrons, making it highly reactive with other molecules. The unpaired electron causes a chain reaction of that cell “stealing” an electron from another molecule to become stable. That causes the next molecule to become unstable, and the process continues. Antioxidants we consume in our foods are broken down to a molecular level, and provide electrons to those unstable molecules, thus stopping the chain reaction of damaged cells. Antioxidants such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E (among others) are especially beneficial to our skin. So, why not just take antioxidant supplements? Because you don’t get the full spectrum of polyphenols and antioxidants from a pill that has isolated one small component. All of these compounds work in conjunction to repair damage and build new molecules, which build new cells. By simply supplementing without having a base of a healthy diet, you only get partial benefits… which may not actually benefit at all. Supplementing is fine if you are deficient in something, and unable to achieve optimal levels by food alone, but supplementing won’t replace how foods work together to build our bodies and our health. Aim to eat AT LEAST 5-9 servings of vegetables, and 1-3 servings of fruit per day. Generally the darker, deeper color the fruit or vegetable, the higher level of polyphenols and antioxidants. Coffee, teas, and spices are great sources of polyphenols as well, so drink up and add some flavor to your food!
- Eat fat – Our cells contain lipids. Lipids are the molecules that make up fats. Some of our cells have a LOT of lipids in their makeup. Two types of cells in particular are our brain cells and our skin cells. Our brains are estimated to be approximately 60% fat (yes, we are all fat heads 😉 lol) The majority of the fatty acids in our brains are Omega-3 fats that are found in foods such as salmon and flax seeds. To have a healthy brain you have to have fat in your diet. Our skin is also composed of layers of proteins and fats. So, load up on healthy fat sources such as avocados, olive oil, nuts and seeds for healthy looking skin. Another reason to eat fat is hormones. Fat is a building block of our hormones in our bodies. Hormones are a part of every physiological function. They signal from one organ system to another to perform a task, or release another hormone. They determine if we build tissue or break down tissue for survival. Hormones control how we look and feel everyday. Fat in a diet is necessary for healthy hormone function. There are certain fats that are beneficial, and some that are not. Saturated fat got a bad rap for decades because it was thought to cause heart disease. That has been proven to be untrue. Saturated fats such as grass fed butter and coconut oil provide the fatty acids necessary to produce some of our most anti-aging hormones such as testosterone. This doesn’t mean you need to go crazy and eat a stick of butter with each meal, but it does mean you can feel free to add a couple of servings of these fats throughout your day. Getting a balance of Omega-3 to Omega-6 and Omega-9 fatty acids is crucial to health and how we look as well. So, vary your fat sources. An imbalance will cause inflammation, and inflammation leads to cell damage and aging. Most Americans get too much Omega-6 from processed foods, so at the very least incorporate some salmon and flax into your diet, or supplement with a good fish oil or krill oil. Some fats, such as trans fats, Canola oil, corn oil, etc. should be avoided altogether as they are inflammatory and do not build healthy cells.
- Get enough iron – No, I don’t mean a supplement or food in this case. 😉 I mean lift some weight. I always say weight lifting is the fountain of youth. As we get older we lose muscle mass. It’s estimated that we naturally lose 10% or more every decade after the age of 30. Muscle is what gives us that “toned” look instead of sagging skin. Strength training keeps our muscles strong which helps protect our joints. Strength training also boosts hormones such as human growth hormone which is known as the ‘youth hormone’. Human growth hormone, or HGH for short, is the hormone that is produced at high levels in our youth to make us grow. It causes cells to repair quickly. It declines as we age. Testosterone is also boosted from strength training. Testosterone is what helps us preserve and grow muscle mass, as well as affecting our energy levels and sex drive… and women, we need testosterone as well… we just produce it at lower levels, but it’s still necessary to feel and look good.
- Get beauty sleep – To be honest this should probably be number 1 on the list, as it is THAT important. Sleep is one of the most important things we can do to help our bodies repair damaged tissues, as it is when the majority of repair processes happen… but, sleep is not something I have personally been able to conquer completely. (yet!) I have always had insomnia, but it is one of the practices I am focused on for my future. I am much better than I used to be in the sleep department… for many years I touted a “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” mentality. But, now I realize the importance of it, and I do make it a priority… I’m just not that great at it, so I tend to forget about it when I think of my daily practices. lol… But, I absolutely do see a change in my health, and how I look, when I do get optimal sleep. So, make it a priority
- Drink water – To have supple looking skin, you must be properly hydrated. Just like a grape turns into a raisin when it is dehydrated, so does our skin. Water also helps the body detoxify and remove substances that are harmful to our biology. What goes in, must come out, so speed up the process by giving your body water… otherwise you’ll “gunk up” the system. 😉 Proper hydration allows our kidneys to excrete toxins in our urine, it allows us to sweat out toxins, and it prevents constipation. Our excess hormones are excreted in our feces, so if you’re not pooping regularly, you’re likely creating a hormone imbalance. Just like a clock with all of it’s gears, your hormones work together to regulate and repair. Also, dehydration will has an impact on energy levels. Feeling tired? Drink some water. Having optimal energy levels will allow you to do the other things, such as workout, that keep you young and healthy. Aim for at least 3 Liters of water a day.
- Bone up on bone broth – A couple of years ago I began experiencing some health problems including chronic pain, chronic fatigue, acne, weight gain, hair loss, and a whole slew of symptoms of just not feeling well… not feeling like myself. During this time I learned about leaky gut, and how it can cause systemic inflammation, acne, and a bunch of the problems I was experiencing. One of the things I learned could help heal leaky gut was bone broth. So, I started drinking 1-3 cups a day. I have since healed my leaky gut, but I still continue to drink bone broth on the regular. I used to make a big batch of bone broth every week by buying bones from my local farmer at the farmers market, but now I just find it easier to buy bone broth protein powder. I also add collagen to my bone broth. Collagen is in bone broth, but it comes in a higher concentration in supplement form. Collagen is in all of our connective tissues in our body, including our joints and our skin. So, I figure I may as well consume the building blocks that make up my skin and joints to make sure there is enough available to repair any breakdown. I don’t know if drinking bone broth with added collagen has un-aged me, but I can say that I haven’t really seen too many new wrinkles since it became a part of my regular diet. I will say that I believe my cellulite has reduced since consuming it… which makes sense, I guess… thicker skin looks more taught. I will link the bone broth and collagen I use below.
- Skin care – Yes, the majority of my anti-aging practices have nothing to do with creams and serums, but I do try to protect my skin as much as possible. If I am going to be out in the sun for an extended period of time I use sunscreen. Although, I don’t typically use it on my body on a day to day basis… I actually try to get a little bit of sun each day to boost my Vitamin D levels (a necessary component to immune function as well as overall health) It’s all about the dosing… too little sun is bad for you, just like too much sun is bad for you. Spending about 20-30 minutes in the sun without sunscreen each day seems to be ideal for most people to achieve optimal health. Use a sunscreen on your face if you feel so inclined, but get some sun on your body, briefly, each day. I also did start using a skin care regimen that has helped even out my skin tone, cleared up my acne, and moisturizes my skin from the outside, giving it a supple, bright appearance… both things associated with youth. I will link all of my skin care products below if you’d like to check them out yourself. I use all natural skin care, as what you put on your skin is absorbed by your body… just like what you eat affects your health and your appearance, what you put on your body affects your health and your appearance. Synthetic skin care products can actually negatively affect hormone levels, so to keep my hormones and health optimal, I stick to natural. I typically use products that follow EU standards, as they have much stricter standards as to what is considered safe than we do here in the U.S. This is just my opinion, but I believe not all chemicals have been thoroughly tested for long-term consequences… I mean, they can’t have been properly tested for long term effects because they haven’t been around long enough to do so. I believe we, as a society, are living the experiment right now, and only after several generations will we actually know if a man-made chemical is safe or not. So, I choose to use the compounds found in Mother Nature… I figured we’ve survived thousands of years as a species living next to these compounds, so they are probably what our bodies need. If I can’t eat it, I don’t put it on my skin.
There you have it. These are my top tips for anti-aging. Honestly, stress reduction should be on the list as well, as chronic stress does age you… but, I’m not that great at it myself to be honest. lol… Although, I am significantly better at it than I used to be! Now I incorporate things such as yoga, meditation, hobbies I enjoy, and “play” into my routine. When I forgo these things, I can tell… I start to look my age. (in my opinion) So, I make them a priority like diet and exercise… they are a key component to living a long, healthy life, and happy life. 🙂
Without makeup… With makeup (and a hair brush). 😉 #nofilters
Here is the bone broth and collagen supplements I use. https://store.draxe.com/collections/proteins/products/bone-broth-protein-chocolate-max
Here are the skin care products I have started using within the last couple of years to help enhance the internal ways I prevent aging. https://store.thespadr.com/collections/the-spa-dr-products/products/daily-essentals-4-step-system?variant=8841104707
Here is a link for $25 off this skin care system if you’d like to try it – http://thespadr.refr.cc/staciem
I order all of these products on autoship, so they are cheaper.
To your health (and youth!), my friends.