Stay Young with These All-Natural Anti-Aging Secrets
Whether we’re willing to admit it or not, we all want to look younger. The graying, wrinkling, and sagging associated with old age are not things we generally look forward to. To satisfy our hunger for ever-youthful looks, the cosmetic industry has cooked up hundreds of solutions, from simple creams to full-scale surgery. Unfortunately, the most effective options out there – namely facelifts and injectable treatments such as BOTOX® Cosmetic – can cost thousands of dollars. For those of us without that kind of cash to spare, Mother Nature has provided a number of ways to help us look, and feel, younger. Check out these natural solutions to those dreaded and all-too-common signs of aging.
Many people are familiar with the cardiovascular benefits of omega-3s. Found naturally in various types of fish, omega-3s have been shown to lower blood pressure, decrease the risk of blood clots, and reduce plaque build-up within the arteries. What you may not know is that these fatty acids can also help to improve your appearance. According to Dr. Nicholas Perricone, whose book The Wrinkle Cure recommends eating large amounts of omega-3-rich salmon, these healthy fats nourish the skin, giving it volume and helping to curb wrinkles. As an added benefit, omega- 3s also support scalp health, thereby contributing to shiny, vibrant hair, says Andrea Giancoli, M.P.H., R.D., of the American Dietetic Association.
Omega- 3s are found primarily in oily, cold-water fish, such as:
Vegetarians, or those concerned about the possible presence of mercury in fish, can get omega-3s from plant-based sources, including:
- Flax seed
- Canola oil
Made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, green tea has been an integral part of various Asian cultures for thousands of years. The health benefits of green tea are thought to derive from its high amounts of antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that prevent the harmful effects of free radicals (which are byproducts of natural cellular processes). Free radicals have been linked to a number of health problems, including inflammation, heart disease, and various types of cancer. They have also been associated with the destruction of collagen, one of the skin’s supporting structures. As the skin loses collagen, it begins to sag, lose elasticity, and develop wrinkles.
Since green tea is loaded with potent antioxidants, it is thought to prevent free radicals from wreaking their havoc on the skin. And because free radicals have been linked to cancer and heart disease, many health professionals believe green tea can help to stave off these conditions, as well.
Another excellent source of antioxidants is red wine. The ability of red wine to improve cardiovascular health has been widely known for years. Some scientists believe that red wine is the reason French people have a lower rate of heart disease despite their reputation for consuming massive quantities of cheese and other fattening foods.
The most important antioxidant in red wine is called resveratrol. In a recent study by University of Wisconsin researchers, mice who were given resveratrol exhibited fewer age-related changes in heart tissue, suggesting that resveratrol may protect the heart and delay the effects of aging.
To get the maximum benefit from red wine, it is recommended that you drink it on a regular basis, but no more than two glasses a day. If you don’t drink alcohol, no need to worry; resveratrol is also found in grape skins, pomegranates, and peanuts, as well as certain kinds of berries.
Of all the antioxidants, vitamin E may be the most beneficial, as it guards cell membranes and their associated enzymes from destruction by free radicals. Research has shown that topical application of vitamin E can minimize skin damage caused by sun exposure, as well as restrict the development of cancerous cells. Additional benefits of vitamin E include wrinkle reduction, improved skin texture, and increased moisture retention.
Vitamin E is found naturally in nuts, leafy greens, and vegetable oils, and is also available in supplement form. If you prefer the latter, look for products labeled Alpha-tocopherol (α-tocopherol); this is the most biologically active form of vitamin E available. Health experts recommend a daily regimen of between 200 and 600 International Units (133 – 400 milligrams) for maximum benefit to your skin .
Natural oils can be applied to the skin to nourish and enhance its appearance. These oils contain a variety of ingredients that soften and protect the skin, as well as facilitate cell regeneration, which combats the effects of aging.
Popular types of oils include:
- Tea tree
- Rosehip seed
These oils have anti-inflammatory properties and help to soothe the skin by supplying it with vital nutrients.
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