Free radicals are one of the main causes of ageing in general, including skin ageing. The unstable nature of free radicals means that they cause damage to surrounding cells and tissues, including those of the skin. Antioxidants neutralise free radicals, limiting this damage, which is why they are such a key ally in the fight against ageing.
Inflammation also plays a role in ageing, as well as other skin problems such as acne, psoriasis and rashes. Inflammation is in fact a vital bodily process, mounted by the immune system in response to injury or infection, to help us heal or get better. However, if it becomes long-term, or out of control it can cause problems. One consequence of inflammation is the activation of enzymes that cause collagen breakdown. Calming inflammation is therefore another important strategy.
AGE formation – aptly named AGEs (advanced glycation end products) are formed in the body when glucose (sugar) reacts with body tissues, including collagen and elastin. The result is that cells become stiff, lose elasticity and are prone to damage and premature ageing. AGEs can also be taken in through the diet as they are formed when some foods are cooked. High blood sugar levels have been shown to increase AGE formation.
The above processes are also linked and influence one another; for example oxidative stress increases AGE formation, which promotes inflammation and increases oxidative stress!
Our aim in terms of an anti-ageing diet must therefore be tackling all three processes by providing high doses of antioxidants, reducing inflammation, balancing blood sugar to limit AGE formation, and also limiting AGE intake.
Thought to be the single largest contributor to skin ageing! Always wear an SPF moisturizer (even in winter) and limit sunbathing.
Stress accelerates ageing and collagen breakdown, so include stress relieving techniques such as exercise, yoga, meditation or breathing exercises.
By far the best source of the omega-3s DHA and EPA, which have strong anti-inflammatory effects. Also act as a natural skin moisturiser, help maintain skin elasticity and prevent dry skin. Deficiencies can lead to premature wrinkles, brittle nails and splitting hair. Also a great source of the mineral selenium.
Target: 2-4 servings per week
Tip: Salmon, sardines & mackerel are good options. Bake or poach and don’t heat above 180°C to retain maximum benefits.
Fruit and Vegetables
Your main source of antioxidants, plus vitamins A, C and E. Also have anti-inflammatory effects.
Target 7-9 portions per day
Tip: eat as many different colours as possible, including: –
• Berries – 1 serving per day
• Dark green veg (broccoli, spinach, watercress, kale) – 1 serving per day
• Red/orange fruit and veg (sweet potato, butternut squash, mango, peppers, carrots, papaya) – 1 serving per day
• Avocados – 2-4 times per week.
Help balance blood sugar levels to reduce AGEs and contain antioxidants, minerals and vitamins
Target: at least 80% carbs should be complex
Tip: brown rice, sweet potato, oats, rye, quinoa, buckwheat, beans & lentils are best
Nuts and seeds
Contain healthy fats, which moisturise the skin and are anti-inflammatory, plus antioxidants, vitamin E and minerals.
Target: 1-2 servings per day
Tip: Include chia seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds & Brazil nuts.
Helps reduce wrinkles by keeping skin hydrated and flushes out toxins
Target: 8 to 10 glasses of water per day
Tip: try herbal teas, lemon water and spa waters for variety
One of the best sources of anti-oxidants, also increases metabolism, anti-cancer and protects the brain and memory
Target: 2-4 cups per day
Tip: try caffeine-free green tea to limit caffeine intake, as too much can disrupt blood sugar balance
Soya beans, tofu, beans and lentils
A source of phytoestrogens, natural plant oestrogens, which can help alleviate menopausal symptoms by balancing the hormonal changes taking place. Also rich in antioxidants.
Target: 1 serving per day
Tip: processed soya foods, (yoghurts, soy protein isolate etc.) are not so beneficial, stick to ‘traditional foods’ such as miso, tempeh, tofu and edamame.
One of the most ageing foods of all! Causes raised blood sugar levels and increased AGE formation. A high sugar diet has also been shown to increase oxidative stress and inflammation.
Target: reduce as much as possible or go sugar free if you can
Tip: the natural sugars found fruit are fine, it is the refined, processed sugars that should be avoided/reduced
Promotes inflammation and contains pre-formed AGEs
Target: maximum of 1-2 times per week
Tip: avoid processed meats completely as they increase cancer risk
White bread, white flour products (e.g. cakes, biscuits, pastry), white rice, white pasta, rice cakes, white potatoes
These cause blood sugar fluctuations, which increase AGE formation. They also have low nutritional value, providing mainly energy as ‘empty calories’
Target: no more than 20% of carbs, but avoid completely if possible
Tip: your tastes will adjust to wholemeal pasta, rice etc. quite quickly until you end up preferring them!
Fried foods, barbequed and overcooked foods
Again these cause inflammation and AGE formation
Target: limit as much as possible – special occasions only
Tip: steaming, poaching, gentle stir-frying and low temperature oven cooking are best. Also include plenty of raw foods such as salads and fruits.
Beauty & Go Skin Revive
Including 1-3 Beauty & Go Skin Revive drinks as part of your daily beauty routine will provide additional protection against skin ageing, by supplying you with many nutrients, and some of them cannot be obtained from eating normal foods.