It's no secret, we all want to look younger and feel healthy! Aging gracefully is an art form. And as with any form of art, effort must be made on the part of the artist in order for a masterpiece to be created.
For some people, aging seems to be paused! These are the lucky few who look the same at 50 as they did in high school. While these rare people are out there, they are hard to find. There are a host of factors that can play a role in what causes one person to appear to age more rapidly than another.
Luckily, there are numerous ways to slow and even reverse the aging process. Whether you’re just hitting your stride or trying to turn back the hands of time, these tricks and tips for aging gracefully can help you move into your golden years with ease and confidence.
Smoking Advances The Aging Process
Smoking has been shown to decrease collagen levels, increase fine lines, and advances premature skin aging. The bottom line is that smoking will undoubtedly make someone appear to be far beyond their years appearance-wise. The best way to avoid this aging pitfall is to never start smoking to begin with. And if you are currently a smoker, it is time to quit.
Cigarette smoking also speeds up the production of free radicals in your body.
Vitamins act as a defense against free radicals. They help to neutralize free radicals to prevent or minimize damage. Smoking depletes these shields, making it easier for free radicals to damage the body.
Studies have found that people who smoke, and those who are exposed to secondhand smoke, have greatly reduced amounts of vitamin C in their bodies. It's thought that smokers require 35 mg more vitamin C daily than non-smokers.
Vitamin C is needed to make collagen, and these reduced levels could be a factor in premature aging.
Sun Exposure Causes Premature Aging
A good sunscreen and staying out of the sun can have compounding positive effects on appearance. Areas of the body that are more exposed to the sun such as the face, neck, forearms, and back of the hands show visible signs of aging more quickly than other areas of the body.
UV light has been shown to trigger collagen loss which leads to an increase in the presence of aging indicators like wrinkles, leathery skin texture, and roughness to the skin.
Staying out of the sun between the peak hours of UV light intensity is the best way to mitigate your exposure to harmful UV light. The EPA has suggested that the peak hours to avoid UV light are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. So after getting your recommended 10 to 15minutes of direct sunlight a day, when possible, avoid being out during these hours of the day.
If you can’t avoid being a sun worshiper during midday, make sure to use a high-quality sunscreen. An SPF of 30 or higher with full spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays is recommended for outdoor activities.
For those with sensitive skin or who want a more "natural" sun protection, physcal sunscreens like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are alternatives to chemical sunscreens (like avobenzone). (2)
Alcohol Can Cause You To Look Older Than You Are
Sadly that tasty cocktail can lead to an increased appearance of aging. Some of the most commonly associated indicators of aging associated with drinking are upper facial lines, under-eye puffiness, mid-face volume loss, muscle wasting, and broken blood vessels. (3)
Staying Hydrated Keeps Skin Looking Young
Eight glasses a day is the average recommended amount of water that most adults should be consuming. Staying hydrated has been shown to have major beneficial effects on the appearance of skin by changing the appearance of the outer layer of the skin.
So basically, water makes your skin look healthier, plumper, and smoother.
Eat A Diet Rich In Fruits And Vegetables
To maintain a youthful appearance, it’s best to start from the inside out. It’s really hard to achieve a healthy glow when your diet isn’t providing your body with the required nutrients that it needs to function properly.
Poor diet has been linked to skin damage in multiple studies. Nutrition levels and eating habits can either repair damaged skin or can cause damage to the skin. Foods that cause inflammation should always be avoided.
The top food-related causes for inflammation are:
- Refined sugar
- Dairy products
- Processed meats
- Processed foods and salty foods
High antioxidant foods like fruits and vegetables are great inflammation fighters. Aim for a diet heavy in these foods as well as a balance of whole grains and healthy fats, like avocados. (4)
Curcumin derived from the Turmeric root is one of the most powerful, natural anti-inflammatories. If you are unable to completely overhaul your diet to cut out inflammatory foods and, let's be honest, who wants to live that way, it can be a great addition to your daily routine that can help significantly reduce inflammation.
How To Supplement Your Diet To Reduce Signs Of Aging
If your diet isn’t meeting your needs for all essential vitamins and minerals, there could be a heightened potential to age prematurely.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is essential to skin health and helps to promote the stimulation of collagen production. *
This super-powered antioxidant also plays an important role in protecting the skin from harmful UV rays.* (5)
Collagen loss or the slowed ability of the body to produce collagen over time as well as sun damage are some of the leading causes of an increased appearance of aging. Evidence has shown that photo damaged and aged skin has lower levels of Vitamin C. (5)
Many creams and serums contain Vitamin C as an anti-aging additive, but it’s been shown that Vitamin C is actually better absorbed through oral delivery. To enhance the absorption rate even beyond the rates for traditional liquid vitamins, liposomal encapsulation can be used to increase the absorption rate of Vitamin C substantially.* (5)
The new most talked about supplement in the skin health game has to be Glutathione.
Glutathione, a critical antioxidant, is shown to be anti-aging and can play an important part in helping us feel and look younger for longer. Apart from protecting our cells, it’s role in detoxing prevents a build-up of toxins that can contribute to oxidative stress and damage to our bodies.
As we age, its levels naturally decline in our bodies. Many of the common signs of aging and chronic conditions are associated with decreased levels of glutathione. By supplementing with glutathione and following healthy lifestyle practices that can help our glutathione levels, we can potentially slow down aging in our bodies.
Of course, we are all concerned with our appearance as we age, but the benefits of maintaining a healthy lifestyle are more than skin deep.
Adopting these healthy habits early in life can keep you on track to age gracefully and can help you to maintain your overall health.