A couple of months back; I met this girl on my regular walking route. She seemed to be sweet, smart and uncomplicated, about the same age as me, and we soon became walk buddies. So one day when she told me that she was 42 years old, I couldn’t quite believe it! She definitely looked at least 10 years younger, if not more. And I was determined to find out the secret behind her ageless beauty.
Astonishing as it may sound, the secret to her youthful appearance wasn’t super expensive age-defying creams and lotions, but was in fact her disciplined lifestyle that revolved around exercising religiously, eating healthy, and caring for her body from inside out.
Here is a truth we all know – there is no secret Fountain of Youth. You cannot fight the hands of time, and you simply cannot stop aging. For some it shows in their dry scaly hands, others will show it in their hair or the fine lines on their face. Aging attacks the face and any exposed skin first, and often times it will leave you looking a lot older than you really should. It’s for this reason that it comes as no surprise that the skincare industry is flourishing. Over-the-counter creams, serums, lotions, washes and toners are purchased every single day, at every single second all with the sole purpose of creating the illusion of youth.
Sadly, youth cannot be copied nor faked. After all, when you take the mask off at the end of the day you still see the same sagging lines and wrinkles that is a reminder of your age. However, there is a way to defy premature aging, and that method relies not on expensive skincare regimen alone, but rather on living a healthy, balanced life. The secret to anti-aging isn’t about miracle potions or cosmetic procedures. It’s about building a foundation from the inside-out with a strong body and mind.
Anti-Aging Secret #1: Add Healthy Fats to Your Diet
The concern over fats is outdated and quite frankly a whole bunch of misinformation. Most people think that banishing fats from their diets will lead to a happier waistline, but it will only leave your skin at the short end of the stick. Healthy bodies need healthy fats and your skin needs essential fatty acids (EFA) to look its best.
The University of Maryland Medical Center concluded that the key elements to upholding natural skin care are essential fatty acids like omega-3s and omega-6s. These fats are the building blocks of healthy cell membranes. Healthy cell membranes promote the production of the skin’s natural oil barrier and keeps it hydrated, plumper and younger looking. EFAs can also help protect your skin from the sun by reducing its sensitivity and it also helps diminish inflammation associated with acne. You’ll probably notice that when you restrict yourself from healthy fats your skin appears dry, inflamed and prone to blemishes.
“With aging, we’ve always studied things that decline,” says Changiz Geula, PhD, research professor of neurology at the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine. But now she and other experts are looking instead to unlock the secrets of defying aging and agree that healthy fats are your friends if you want to look younger.
If you’re ready to boost the look of your skin, then be sure to add essential fatty acids into your diet. Your body cannot produce its own EFAs, so it’s important to consume the appropriate balance of food into your diet. EFAs can easily be found in salmon, mackerel, flax, walnuts, fortified eggs, poultry and cooking oils.
Anti-Aging Secret #2: Make Exercising Your Religion
Haven’t you noticed that someone who is fit and healthy often looks much younger? And those who are over-weight even in their late 20’s are often mistaken to be in their 30’s? There are far too many benefits of exercise to list them all down. It makes you lose weight, fight diseases, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. But what you probably didn’t know is that exercising regularly can make you look and feel younger, because it affects your DNA.
When a study was conducted by the King’s College in London on more than 2,400 twins, it was discovered that regular exercisers had significantly longer telomeres than their non-active peers. A telomere is a region of DNA at the end of a chromosome that protects the end of the chromosome from deterioration. It’s essentially a biological marker for aging, and the shorter your telomere is, the faster your chromosome will be destroyed. When your chromosome is destroyed, your DNA is effectively fulfilling its cell death cycle and overtime it begins to show through aging.
So how do you stop your telomeres from shortening? Easy, exercise for about 30-45 minutes a day and you’ll have telomeres that look 10 years younger than someone who exercises for just 16 minutes a week.
But here is the trick with exercise – you have to keep challenging yourself to reap the benefits. And that means just walking for 30 minutes a day, every day, isn’t enough to keep you looking younger. Make sure your exercise regimen is versatile, like you! Try Yoga, Pilates, Dancing and HIIT training to keep pushing yourself. And if you ever feel like giving up while you’re working out, just remember you only have to push yourself for a maximum of thirty minutes to add ten more years to your life!
Anti-Aging Secret #3: Eat the Right Superfruits
You’ve frequently heard the overused saying: “You are what you eat!”
What you don’t often hear is: “Your food is your facial!” Food is an extremely important part of our well-being and that goes as far as the surface, which is your skin. Fruits are a great source of all natural anti-aging properties. In fact you’re well off adding super fruits to your diet because the fact is; they’re just filled to the brim with antioxidants.
To recap, antioxidants are extremely important in preventing cell damage. Every day and at every second your body is being exposed to free radicals which function to compromise your cells. If antioxidants are in the picture, they work to create a barrier around your healthy cells and effectively rid your body of these free radicals.
That’s why it’s so important to ensure your body is provided with an adequate amount of antioxidants. The most efficient way to get them is by eating super fruits. Now every fruit is good for you, but not all fruits are created equal when we talk of their anti-aging potential. Superfruits are deemed super by nutrition experts because they are packed with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that help you live longer, look better and even prevent disease. Strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, apples, bananas and cherries are the names of just a few.
Anti-Aging Secret #4: Stay Hydrated
Water is essential for most body functions and drinking 8-10 glasses a day is great for your health. However, it also is a natural way to keep your skin nourished. The human body does not consider the skin a vital organ like the heart, lungs and brain. So when your body is lacking hydration, rest, or vitamins the skin is the first to exhibit symptoms. That’s why it is extremely important to always stay hydrated because it will keep your skin looking younger and more supple.
As we age, our skin slowly loses the ability to retain high levels of water. Drinking water aids digestion, helps in weight loss, improves your energy and concentration and flushes toxins from your body. But these are also all important attributes for good skin!
If you’re going to take your liquid intake seriously, considering replacing a few glasses of water a day with coconut water. Coconut water is full of electrolyte potassium, which helps replenish your dehydrated body faster and minerals like calcium, manganese, magnesium and zinc. Most importantly however, coconut water is chock full of Cytokinins, a hormone that has anti-carcinogenic, anti-thrombotic and anti-aging effects.
Anti-Aging Secret #5: Give Up Coffee and Embrace Tea
You crave coffee and think it to be the key to staying up hours on end and to get that extra boost when needed. But did you know that coffee doesn’t exactly do much for your natural aging process?
Yes, coffee is notorious for keeping you awake and energized for longer periods of time. But those periods of time and that extra burst of energy are all things your body doesn’t need. Rest is essential for a healthy mind and body, and the longer you go in the day without sleep the worse your skin looks. Coffee is also dehydrating and if you choose to drink that over water, then you’re definitely doing more bad than good.
For these reasons alone, experts suggest that it’s in your best interest to trade your mug of coffee for a cup of tea. To start off, green tea contains 5 to 10% the caffeine of one cup of coffee. So you get that extra boost, sans the extended hours of no sleep. There’s more to tea than that though, in fact tea is full of healthy Polyphenols that not only provide antioxidant protection to the cells, but also contains L-theanine. This creates a meditative-like state in the mind, thus putting you at rest and relieving your brain of any mental stress.
Green tea is one of the more popular anti-aging teas, but you don’t ever have to feel limited. White, oolong and black teas carry the same anti-aging benefits and all offer a variety of tastes that are sure to easily replace any coffee desires you might ever have.
Anti-Aging Secret #6: Cook Your Veggies Right
Yes, eating more vegetables means you get the right form of carbohydrate in your diet, along with healthy fiber and antioxidants. However, most of us overcook our veggies, which might make them tastier, but strips them off their health benefits. Experts recommend that eating vegetables as close to their natural state as possible is the best way.
It might sound like you are being asked to eat bland foods, but in fact there are several ways to add vegetables to your diet without overcooking them. Salads and steamed veggies are your friends, so make sure that you don’t neglect them.
Anti-Aging Secret #7: Get More Sleep
Let’s face it, getting less sleep results in fatigue, irritability, lack of concentration and overall just a general feeling of unhappiness. If you thought it was just your mind that felt this way, take a good look in the mirror. Your skin suffers the most when you deprive it from sleep, you can tell in an instant by the dark circles, puffy eye bags, fine lines and wrinkles that form upon your face after a very late and very short sleeping session.
Getting the right amount of sleep is the most important step in your battle again aging; sleep is essential to looking your best at any age. You see, when you sleep, your body undergoes a very meticulous healing process. All the wear and tear that you experienced earlier in the day is washed away by your body’s natural ability to restore itself. While you sleep, hormones initiate cell and tissue repair, where new and fresh skin cells replace old, dead skin. Collagen production is at its peak during sleep hours and this helps your skin become firmer. During sleep, your facial muscles also relax, allowing the dermal layers of your skin to rejuvenate, thus smoothing our wrinkles and diminishing fine lines. Finally, by lying down, your skin is relieved from the effects of gravity and this helps your skin return to its original positioning on your face.
A recent study conducted by the Brain Behaviour Research Institute, La Trobe University concluded that if you’re not sleeping enough, you’re not allowing your body the proper conditions to rejuvenate yourself. That’s why it’s important to always maintain a sleep schedule and try to avoid late nights.
Anti-Aging Secret #8: Harness the Power of Natural Herbs
Herbal remedies have been used all over the world since the beginning of time. Nature was once our pharmacist and she provided the most potent herbs with powerful healing properties that worked from the inside and out. Herbs are plants that contain a variety of naturally occurring nutrients that can be effective in curing everything from the common cold to cancer. Some of the oldest uses of herbs are to serve as anti-aging agents, it’s probably our ancestor’s best kept secret for looking and acting young. Although an unorthodox approach to modern skin care, herbs are probably one of the most powerful tools in your fight against aging.
It’s best to choose herbal remedies for anything and everything – be it a cold or flu, lifeless dull hair, or a raging headache. Herbal concoctions can have powerful healing properties, without the side effects that are guaranteed in any medicated, chemical based product.
When choosing herbs it is better to choose a more fragrant herb as it has more potent benefits. Also, when choosing between fresh or dried, it’s best to go with fresh variety as they contain the most nutrition content and in general are more powerful. Some potent herbs that are probably already lying around in your pantry include: basil, thyme, mint, parsley, sage, marjoram, and oregano.
Anti-Aging Secret #9: Care For Your Skin
To have a youthful appearance, you have to take care of your skin. And that means you should regualrly cleanse, tone and moisturize your skin. Also, it is very important to exfoliate and remove the layer of dead skin through desquamation process by removing the dead epidermal cells and exposing a new, fresh layer of skin cells. Exfoliation helps improve your skin texture, reduces fine lines and wrinkles, unclogs pores, and makes your skin look healthier, fresher and more radiant and boots circulation from the friction. Not everyone practices the best hygiene habits, which is also the reason why their skin can develop imperfections with time.
Also, sun damage is one of the most common signs of aging. The culprit responsible for skin aging is ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. There are three types of UV rays: UVA, UBC and UVC. Because UVC rays are mostly filtered out by the ozone layer, we are primarily affected by UVA and UVB penetration. Based on research conducted by the Queensland Institute of Medical Research at the University of Queensland in Australia the best way to protect yourself from the sun’s anti-aging effects is by applying generous amounts of sun screen. Especially on the arms and face – or any surface that will be in direct sunlight for extended periods of time.
Whenever the skin on our face is afflicted with an imperfection we have the terrible tendency to try and hide it with concealers and powders and pretend it never happened. What we forget though is that healing is an extremely important part of our body’s cycle and we should let it do what it must to restore our skin – even if it means going a few days with an unsightly mark on your face. Irritation of the afflicted area can lead to the skin healing improperly and that means in place of fresh skin you’ll have scars, craters, or apparent discoloration. These types of imperfections often lead to skin that looks worn and torn and essentially aged beyond its own years.
That’s why it is very important to let your skin heal. If it itches or bothers you aesthetically, ignore it! Mild irritation such as itchiness is a sign of your skin healing and the current sight of the imperfection a lot better than what it could be if you picked at it. Your body is designed to naturally restore itself and if you interrupt that process then you won’t get the most desirable results.
To aid in the healing process of your skin, it’s a good idea consider sprinkling in turmeric powder with your daily moisturizer. Turmeric is recognized worldwide for its powerful antioxidants and antibacterial properties that help heal acne, blackheads, hyper-pigmentation, eczema and psoriasis. It has also shown evidence of slowing down the aging process by improving the skin’s elasticity. By adding a little bit of turmeric powder in with your moisturizer you’ll get a double whammy of positive benefits and will unsurprisingly find that your skin will heal faster, efficiently and look better. With proper usage, you’ll have healthy skin that consistently looks radiant, dewy and youthful.
Anti-Aging Secret #10: Buy the Right Skincare Products
When it comes to over-the-counter skincare products, let’s face it, there are just too many choices. Varied by brand, function, medium, method of application and much more – the options are endless. On top of that you have so little reliable sources of information on which product works best for your skin. So which is the right product for you? The one your friend recommends or perhaps the ones you see your favorite celebrity is endorsing?
After plenty of water and proper nourishment, your skin needs five essential nutrients: retinol, alpha lipoic acid, madecassol and Vitamin C. If anyone tells you that you need more than that, then you either have a special skin condition or they are trying to sell you something you don’t need.
Retinol is a type of Vitamin A that is considered the most effective over-the-counter treatment to smooth skin and prevent wrinkles. Retinol works by gently peeling the dead and damaged skin and revealing a smoother, silkier and younger looking layer underneath. Alpha Lipoic Acid is a powerful antioxidant that naturally occurs in the body and helps reduce fine lines, improve skin texture, tightens pores and gives the skin an overall radiance. Madecassol is an Asian plant extract that promotes the plumpness of your skin, minimizes fine lines and gives the skin a youthful glow. Finally Vitamin C is an important mineral that stimulates collagen growth and protects your skin against free radicals.
So if you’re in the market for a new moisturizer, night cream, or serum – make sure to tick off one of the five ingredients mentioned above on the label list. It will save you a whole lot of money and give you that youthful skin you so desire.
Scientists at St. Louis University found that, while both exercising and eating less led to weight loss in the study’s volunteers, cutting calories also lowered production of T3, a thyroid hormone that slows metabolism. The researchers believe that lower T3 levels may also slow the aging process.
The elixir of youth is taking care of yourself, starting right from today. It’s about paying more attention to everything you eat, your fitness and your stress levels. It’s never too late to begin, and the good news is that you will benefit from living a healthier lifestyle in more ways than one.
It is possible to look years younger than your actual age. After all, age is just a number! So follow these 10 secrets to look younger, and maybe you too can defy signs of aging for another decade the more holistic way.
Read more about how to get a youthful, glowing skin here.