Want to know one secret to slow the aging of your skin and tap into the fountain of youth?
Here’s the secret: Eat less sugar!
Yes ladies, it’s really that simple!
Now before we jump into things, let me first start by saying that I don’t want anyone to feel like sugar is the enemy and that sugar should be avoided at all costs. Because that simply is not true, nor would it even be practical to remove all sugar from your diet. Case in point: Fructose (found in fruits and vegetables) and lactose (found in dairy-rich foods) are both forms of natural sugars found in many healthy foods that fuel our bodies.
That stated, the problem with sugar arises when you eat too much of it – which unfortunately is the case for many Americans where we often see how eating too much sugar can harm skin health by accelerating aging, while also worsening skin conditions like acne and eczema.
So now let’s talk about how sugar ages our skin.
When we eat sugar, it gets metabolized in the small intestine and broken down into three types of simpler sugars: glucose, galactose, and fructose. These simple sugars are then transported into the bloodstream and other vital organs where they are used to fuel our body. However, when we eat too much sugar, this excess sugar will enter the bloodstream and damage the skin through a process called glycation, which produces harmful free radicals called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). Collagen and elastin are the most abundant proteins in the skin that help keep skin bouncy and “springy”, and when these two proteins in the skin come in contact with sugar, the proteins will become stiffer, weaker, and less elastic. And this is when these signs of aging become more apparent:
- Increase in (or worsening) of acne
- Appearance of premature wrinkles
- Sagging skin in the neck and chin
- Discoloration and dark spots (i.e. hyperpigmentation)
- Slower healing of wounds, cuts, scrapes, etc.
So simply put, the more sugar you eat, the more glycation will occur, the more AGEs will build-up, and the quicker your skin will age.
How to Cut Sugar, Slow Skin Aging, and Improve Skin Health
As I mentioned earlier, it’s not necessary (nor is it realistic) to completely cut sugar from your diet. However, you should know how much sugar you are eating each day by reading food labels and you should do your best to stay within the American Heart Association’s daily recommendation of no more than 25 grams of sugar for women and no more than 36 grams of sugar for men.
Last but not least, it’s also important to keep in mind that having great skin is the result of a combination of factors – most notably, your diet, your skin care regimen, and your lifestyle choices. That understood, here are 4 easy diet tips and lifestyle tweaks that can help slow skin aging, improve skin health, and leave your skin looking more clear, healthy, and youthful:
- Eat a protein-rich diet
Amino acids are the building blocks of all types of protein, including collagen. Collagen is the most abundant protein found in the skin, and as women age, we will naturally begin to lose collagen. So to counteract this, you must make sure to eat an abundance of foods that are rich in protein and essential amino acids that are needed to build collagen for healthy skin.
- Drink more water
The average person gets 30-40% of their daily sugar intake from drinks (like soda, fruit juice, and flavored coffees), so one very easy way to massively trim sugar from your diet is to swap out these types of sugary beverages and drink more water instead. Also, if you’re not a fan of plain water, you can always add a bit of flavor with a squeeze of fresh fruit, like lime or lemon.
- Load up on antioxidants
Eating a diet rich in antioxidants helps protect our skin from premature aging due to the damaging effects of free radicals, like AGEs. Vitamin C and E are two highly potent antioxidants that you should target in your diet, and both of these vitamins can be found in everyday foods like citrus fruits, berries, leafy greens, and nuts. Also, Vitamin C is a very important nutrient to have in your diet because it helps our body assemble amino acids to build collagen for healthy skin.
- Get your beauty sleep
Numerous studies suggest that if you want to tap into the fountain of youth, one of the easy ways to do this is to get a good night’s sleep. In fact, studies show that getting a healthy dose of sleep each night and maintaining healthy levels of the sleep hormone melatonin can significantly reduce glycation damage.
So to wrap things up, the big take-home message for today is that there are many fantastic benefits to cutting back on sugar – and one of the most obvious and most immediate benefits you’ll experience is how much more healthy and youthful your skin will look! So start watching your sugar intake, use the simple tips above, and I can assure you that the next time you look in the mirror you’ll be quite happy with the results!
Alright ladies, that’s all for now and I hope you enjoyed today’s blog post. As always, it was my pleasure, thanks for dropping in, and I’ll be in touch again very soon!