At this time of year it’s worth remembering that there’s an abundance of ‘dis-comfort’ food around; the refined sugar in a lot of festive snacks causes glycation and premature ageing of your skin and cells. Telomere shortening can be slowed down by healthy diet choices and the side effects of hormonal decline can be eased – or exacerbated – by what you eat.
You’ve probably noticed that you feel better when you eat vitamin and mineral packed, nutritious food and all of us know that we’ll look better if our diet is loaded with nutrients. Certain foods do help keep you younger for longer, so we’ve compiled a handy list of the top ones to include on your shopping list below.
The “one good thing a day” rule is a great one to have in mind as the end of year festivities draw near.
Instead of refined sugar, try sweetening desserts with raw honey, and if you need your sweet tooth satisfied, you could whizz up an avocado and cacao mousse – which tastes as good as a more traditional chocolate mousse but is much better for your body and your skin. House guests will love it too.
Perhaps you’ve always linked gingerbread men with this time of year? How about starting the day with this delicious gingerbread granola?
If you have a big Christmas party to attend, don’t starve yourself before the big event. You’ll end up loading up on less than nutritious canapés once you get there, and you’ll possibly find that any alcohol goes to your head faster than it would have if had you eaten. The perfect pre-party meal is either a sizzling steak, with a side of green veg and some mashed sweet potato, or an easy-to-make B12 packed cheesy omelette with spinach, avocado and a tomato salad. Not only will this help you avoid feeling tired and lacklustre the next day, it will make you less likely to be temped by sugar and calorie-laden desserts as they waft past you.
Here’s a closer look at the top seven foods which are anti-ageing and will keep you looking younger for longer. If you can add one of the following to just one meal a day over the next few weeks, you will notice a difference to your skin, as well as your energy levels.
Blueberries: Packed with antioxidants, these tasty berries will give your skin extra protection against the skin-damaging free radicals that result from stress and overexercising (because that is actually a thing), as well as protecting your skin from sun damage.
Green vegetables: You don’t HAVE to eat lots of kale, but it is incredibly good for you. It’s actually delicious lightly tossed in olive oil and oven baked until slightly crispy, and it’s divine paired with fresh garlic and snuck into a stir fry. It’s barely noticeable in a smoothie, if you hide it behind lots of sweet green apples (recipe below). One serving of kale has 130 mg of vitamin C – that is one day’s vitamin C needs in a single serving! Broccoli, olives, spinach and even Brussell sprouts contain natural antioxidants that remove the harmful substances which destroy cells and lead to premature ageing.
Dairy products: Before you cut dairy from your diet, consider the fact that kefir, yoghurt and fermented baked milk are simply irreplaceable for skin beauty. They contain beneficial bifidobacteria which are necessary for good gut health and will help slow the appearance of new wrinkles as they contain a protein that promotes the production of collagen.
Red and orange vegetables: Carrots, apricots, pumpkin and tomatoes are rich in beta-carotene which helps to protect your skin from harmful UV rays (although never skip sunscreen), prevents wrinkles and improves your health from within, as well as being vital for hair and skin beauty. A good rule of thumb is to eat the rainbow – the more colour on your plate every day, the better.
Nuts: There’s a reason why models snack on nuts and they’re known as the food of eternal youth. Brazil nuts, pistachios and hazelnuts are all packed with the antioxidant selenium, as well as vitamin E and coenzyme Q10 – which are vital for skin cell renewal.
Fish and seafood: Packed with iodine, full of protein and Omega 3 oils, it’s worth opting for fish instead of meat several times a week. Besides, stir fried king prawns in garlic, a spicy tuna salad or a lovely fresh side of sea bass baked in Himalayan sea salt with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice are pretty hard to beat and super-easy to make. Seafood keeps you younger for longer and is a powerhouse of beauty vitamins, fatty acids and trace elements that will give your skin a healthy glow and there’s solid proof from recent scientific studies that they will even help you live longer.
Acidic fruits and berries: Cherries, strawberries, blackcurrants, persimmons, cranberries and pomegranates are all rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, plus they protect the skin from free radicals and help to form collagen.
Vegetable oil: Extra virgin olive oil is known for being one of the reasons that our friends on the Med live longer and have less disease than the majority of countries. The Mediterranean diet has been linked to lower cancer rates and reduced risks of heart disease, as well as lowering the occurrence of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Mix your extra virgin olive oil with balsamic vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice and smother your salads, vegetables and fresh fish with it as a simple dressing. Whenever a recipe calls for margarine or butter, olive oil makes a fabulous healthy swap, and some people swear that dabbing a paste made of equal parts of extra virgin olive oil and Himalayan sea salt on your skin will clear acne in a matter of days. (The thinking being that the salt exfoliates and cleans blocked pores while the oil replenishes your skin’s natural moisture.) As an added extra, lots of people use olive oil to shave their legs.
The Key To Youth In A Glass
Here’s the recipe for our juice of the week. This one is a nutritional powerhouse that even the fussiest eater will love. Called ‘The Bodyguard’ it’s the easy way to ensure you’re getting essential goodness your body needs to get you through the festive season. To the uninitiated it might sound suspiciously green and mean, but trust us, it’s delicious.
Method: Take one handful of fresh spinach (or two frozen cubes), an equal amount of kale, two small sweet apples – chopped and peeled, a quarter to a half of a cucumber, some peeled and chopped ginger root plus an equal amount of turmeric. Throw in a liquidiser with a cup of coconut water, or bottled spring water and whizz until smooth. If you want to add a teaspoon of spirulina, chia seeds or any superfood powder that you have to hand then do but be careful not to throw off the sweetness of the apples.
What are your favourite healthy diet swaps as the festive season gets underway? let us know in the comments…