Monday, 12 April 2010

13 going on 30

I got ID'd today in tesco buying wine!

Infact it's not unusual for me to be ID'd dressed down when doing my weekend food shopping, but somehow, even in a smart suit and high heels, I still look young enough to not be able to buy alcohol.

Not that I'm complaining - when you're 16 you're desperate to look 18, but coming up to 30 I'm delighted to be mistaken for a 25 year old.

A certain element of how people age is down to their genes but nutrition and lifestyle has a huge part to play. It is also important to remember that ageing skin reflects an ageing body, so by keeping yourself looking young you're also keeping your body in good health.

Here are my top picks for what helps and hinders the ageing process:

The bad stuff:
Sugar - I don't think many people realise the full extent of the negative health effects of eating sugar, one of which is the hardening of the walls of your skin cells, leading to wrinkles.

Alcohol & Cigarettes - both of these put stress on the liver, who's health is often reflected in your skin. They also produce free radicals, which age your skin cells.

Too much sun - as per my blog yesterday a little sun is beneficial for health, however the sun's rays also cause oxidative damage to your skin cells, ageing the skin.

And now for the good stuff:
Healthy fats - the walls of your skin cells are mainly made up of fat, and this fat holds water in the cells keeping them plump and supple. Therefore following a very low fat diet can make the skin appear thin and age the skin prematurely. This is why essential fats found in oily fish, nuts and seeds are all beneficial.

Antioxidants - found mainly in fruit and veg these help fight free radical damage and help the liver process toxins. If you drink, smoke, have a lot of stress or live in a big city you're likely to need a higher dose and may want to supplement with vitamin c and other antioxidants.

Water - water keeps your skin cells plump, keeping your skin healthy looking and hydrated, as well as helping your liver flush out toxins.

Red wine - a well known contributor to the longevity of people from the mediteranean, red wine is beneficial due to the anti-ageing antioxidants contained in the skin of the grapes. As mentioned above alcohol is also ageing, but fortunately the most beneficial antioxidant (resveratrol) is available as a supplement.

Exercise - it's all well and good eating a healthy diet and taking supplements but once digested the nutrients need to get to your skin cells - this is where exercise comes in - pumping blood round the body, and into the face to help you cool down, at the same time carrying nutrients to your skin cells.

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