Meal Design

“Upgrading your food is the best way to get a makeover, internally and externally. The visible and invisible benefits are unsurpassed by any other lifestyle / epigenetic change you can make.” — Sara Gottfried, MD

Anti-Aging, simply put, is aging with grace, balance, and intentional living. We can’t halt the clock, but there are a surprisingly number of proactive things we can participate in that will slow the acceleration of aging.

Our skin, the largest organ of our body, responds dramatically to our daily choices. It can remind us that the clock is ticking on. Spending our entire paycheck on serums, creams, injectables, and other high maintenance skin care routines can often be doing more harm than good. Even the high-end beauty products have toxic ingredients, including formaldehyde, lead, parabens, and phthalates. Once they seep past our skin, these and many other toxins are fat soluble, so they accumulate in tissues and accelerate aging, disrupting our endocrine system and hormone production (estrogen, androgen, progesterone, thyroid, and retinoid receptors).

The skin has a huge job! That job is constantly attacked by external, as well as, internal stresses. Taking a look at those factors that we can control, is the topic of today’s post. Making subtle changes from the inside that will be reflected on the outside. The exciting news is that the latest scientific evidence suggests that only about 10 percent of our risk of disease is due to genetics; the other 90 percent comes from those daily choices that we make about how we live our life. Accelerated aging can be slowed by lifestyle changes.

According to Dr. Gottfried, there are four major perpetrators when it comes to accelerated aging:

1. Glycation. Glycation occurs when sugar “gums” up our proteins, slowing their ability to do their jobs and creating “sticky blood” that cannot flow through the small blood vessels in our skin. This translates into more stress on your skin and accelerated aging. Excessive sugar consumption, especially fructose, ramps up glycation, spiking inflammation in the process.

2. Oxidative damage. Oxidative damage occurs when free radicals go wild, attacking our cells and DNA, damaging our body, and accelerating aging. These repercussions land directly on — you guessed it — your skin. A plant-based antioxidant-rich diet packed with nutrients like resveratrol, vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin D can scavenge free radicals and slow down aging. Bonus: We decrease our risk for dementia and other chronic age-related diseases.

3. Stress. Chronic stress delivers a serious whammy to our skin. If stress hormones such as cortisol stay ramped up, they can trigger or exacerbate multiple inflammatory skin conditions including psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, acne, contact dermatitis, alopecia, itchy, dry skin patches and erythema.

4. Inflammation. Chronic inflammation accelerates aging and contributes to almost every disease on the planet. Inflammation can be good and bad. Our body uses acute inflammation to heal a cut so we don’t bleed to death, in which case inflammation is doing its rightful job. Chronic inflammation, though, is like that last-minute party guest who can’t take a hint to leave, alienating our happy hormones and neurotransmitters, and making us more susceptible to illness, including skin disorders.

These four culprits absolutely can be transformed by intentional, daily lifestyle choices. Those choices are what I want to further talk about. Meal Design, Physical Activity, Beauty Regime, Relaxation and Down Time are all areas where we can be proactive. To state that the aging process is, in largest part, an inside job, is exciting news.

Daily choices make a huge difference on both a cellular level, as well as, energy level. Aging with grace, naturally respecting our body’s ebbs and flows, and feeling full of vitality is within reach!

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