How’s your beauty cupboard looking? Is it filled with random creams or treatments to fight off wrinkles, spots, sun damage??… in hopes to hold on to your glowing youthful skin??? As I’ve said before, the right products are essential (especially sunscreen!), but often we are overlooking the importance of our diet and lifestyle and their influence on our skin’s health.
What if I told you that by understanding how food affects you, following a healthy balanced diet (less processed, more plants), altering your cooking methods, in addition to living an overall healthier lifestyle, you could decrease the signs of aging and promote long radiant lives, would you invest??? This is more of a time investment but it pays off for our whole bodies (looks AND health) for the long-term.
So to add to your wonderful cupboard of products, let’s start making steps to protecting the health of your skin from the inside out (also very important for protecting against disease). One of those major steps include getting to know Advanced Glycation End Products or AGEs, the role they play in aging, and what you can do to decrease their intake.
Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) are compounds that form when excess protein and sugar bind together (process called glycation). AGEs are formed naturally inside your body and can also be ingested from the foods you eat. When AGEs accumulate in excessive amounts they become harmful and damaging – promoting inflammation, free radical damage (see more on free radicals here), increase risk of disease and pre-mature aging!
Excessive AGEs damage collagen and elastin, which are very important proteins for your skin’s integrity. This damage can lead to less taught, more wrinkled and dull skin disrupting your youthful appearance.
Decrease Harmful Effects of AGEs
Major external factors that lead to increased AGEs include UV sun rays, stress, smoking, and DIET! In terms of lifestyle it’s important to not smoke, get adequate sleep, eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
As I mentioned above, the foods that you eat can also contain AGEs.
Try decreasing these foods high in AGEs:
• Sugary items such as candy, cookies, chips, crackers,cakes, soda, and pastries
• Processed foods, including packaged meats and high-fat cheese
• High-fat (especially red) meats
• High-fat spreads, butter, margarine, and oil (aim for small portions of healthy oils)
• Charred and Fried foods
And substitute with more foods low in AGEs:
• Vegetables and Fruits
• Whole grains, low-fat breads
• Low-fat milk products
• Vegetarian burgers
The way that foods are prepared and cooked influence the AGEs content as well- cooking foods with dry high temperatures including roasting, grilling (BBQ), broiling, searing, frying, increase AGEs! (the charring on meat indicates AGEs). If you can’t stay away from the BBQ, marinate your foods in an acidic mix ( ex. lemon juice, vinegar) for at least 1 hour before cooking to help help decrease formation of AGEs.
Try to cook foods with wet heat, use shorter cooking times and/or at lower temperatures:
• Slow cooker
In addition to your beauty creams, serums, masks and so on, don’t forget your beauty foods to promote your radiance and youthful good looks and don’t let AGEs age you!