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Food To Combat Aging Skin

By: Joanna Colville-Reeves, OND CNP NNCP
Nutritionist & Chef 

Do you look in the mirror and wish you could turn back time (thanks Cher)? You’re not alone. We all want to keep our skin looking as youthful as possible. However when we look truth right in the eye (pun intended) we soon discover that the production of collagen - the protein responsible for our youthful appearance, declines as we age, starting around our last thirties (oh no), and again after menopause (oh great). This decline in collagen basically means finding sagging skin, lines and wrinkles, something we ALL dread seeing in the mirror.

Of course there’s always the Botox route.  But if you’re like me and you’d rather stay away from injecting botulinum toxin into your body, then you’re going to be relieved to find out there are some powerful natural weapons within easy reach. And the best part is you can find these battle-ready foods ready to deploy at your local grocery store.  

GREENS

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We are always being told to ‘eat up our greens’, well just add ‘stop the sag’ as another one! Greens are an excellent source of vitamin C, which functions like your dependable foot soldier on the front lines of anti-aging, helping to produce and maintain collagen.  A study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition{1} found that eating foods that contain higher levels of vitamin C are associated with a lower likelihood of wrinkled, dry and sagging skin. But that’s not all! Greens also contain a hefty supply of vitamin A, which promotes elasticity and rebuilds the skin’s cells, keeping it looking healthy and smooth. Unlike synthetic vitamin A that appear in pricey cosmetic items, our bodies can utilize the vitamin A from food far more effectively, getting it into the body in the areas it needs to go. BRIT BEET tip: Because vitamin C is destroyed by heat, try cooking your greens the ‘healthy way’ by steaming for just 3-5 minutes so they retain this valuable nutrient.
Best choices are: Broccoli, spinach Swiss chard, collard greens, beet greens and kale

OMEGA-3 FATS (AKA THE GOOD FATS)

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Despite your fears, eating Omega 3 fats is NOT going to stop you from fitting into your favourite skinny jeans and are essential to your overall health. You can think of them as one of your anti-aging ‘special forces’. They protect the membrane of our cells, like a ‘boot camp seargent’. They stop harmful agents from entering the cells, allow waste products to move in and out of the cell and bring our must-have skin nutrients in to ‘feed’ the cell. 
Best choices: Cold water fish (mackerel, salmon, trout), Flax seeds, walnuts, sardines and unrefined canola oil (GMO free and for cold use only i.e: salad dressings)

FRUIT

Fruit comes armed and loaded with vitamin C which we now know produces and maintainscollagen. It also contains powerful antioxidants that protect the skin cells from free radical damage that can speed up the aging process. Need I say more!
Best choices: Papaya, strawberries, pineapple, Kiwi fruit, oranges and avocadoes

VEGETABLES

Never one to shirk away from my veggies, I was really happy to discover they are right up there in our fight against the ‘sag’. Why? These glorious veggies are full of vitamin E, another battle-ready  antioxidant that works as a synergistic 'fighting force' with vitamin C and A, protecting the skin from that free radical damage.
Best choices: Broccoli, bell peppers, asparagus, turnip greens

NUTS AND SEEDS

Into our 40’s, and especially as we transition through the menopause stage, hormonal aging brings with it an increase in ‘mirror shock’!  Wrinkles and dry, sagging skin creeps up on us as estrogen levels, that were once part of our collagen production line, start to wane. But wait, help is on the way! Nuts and seeds are armed with phytoestrogens - plant compounds that help replace estrogen levels, slowing down that aging process (thank goodness).
Best choices: Sunflower seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds

BONE BROTH

As the current media darling of youthful skin and weight loss, you may have already heard of the proclaimed benefits of bone broth. According to Dr Kerryann Petrucci, New York Times best-selling author of 'The Bone Broth Diet', "When you eat bone broth, you’re really eating cooked collagen. This is a powerful way to restore collagen in your skin and make those wrinkles disappear. Sure, you could find a lot of products with "collagen" on the label, but dietary collagen is more potent — it mainlines collagen to your cells. Additionally, the gelatin derived from the collagen you get in bone broth heals your digestive tract which is a surefire way to prevent inflammation and aging skin."   Another devotee of bone broth is Julia March, New York City's 'skin-care wizard and well-known facialist.  "I highly recommend bone broth to everyone who wants clear and firm skin. It  contains minerals that nourish the skin cells, and they calm inflammation in the body—and consequently on the face as well.”

Making and consuming bone broth is also taking a nose-to-tail approach that honors the entire animal, reducing the waste by creating nourishing products from different cuts. So go ahead and cook up a big batch of bone broth to help repel the invasion of wrinkles, lines and sagging skin and bring back that youthful glow. Not sure how, I've created a simple and easy recipe that will hit the skin sweet spot. Get recipe >>

So next time you look in the mirror, remember that you have army of food outfitted to combat aging skin and you don't even have to petition parliament to deploy it. It's just steps away in your own kitchen. 

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