Mirrors are a nasty invention aren’t they? They allow us to see ourselves every day as time takes its wonderful toll upon us. We get to see every gray hair as it appears and witness the creation of every wrinkle as it carves its permanent appearance upon our hardened faces.
Even writing that makes me cringe a little bit!
It’s no wonder the cosmetic and beauty industry is worth a whopping $445 billion dollars! We envy youth and want to hold onto it as long as possible.
The truth is, we can’t remain young forever, but we CAN drastically slow down the process and add 10, 20 or more years back to our appearance.
Here’s 8 of the best ways to slow down that nagging aging clock so we can look and feel younger.
Ditch Processed Food
Literally. Take everything in a box or package that you can honestly do without and just chunk it in the garbage.
Don’t get me wrong here. I know it’s hard to give up food that we’ve been accustomed to eating most of our lives. It was no easy feat for me either, because I ate like CRAP for most of my childhood and young adult life. But like all new changes, the beginning is the hardest. With dedication and continued effort it gets easier and easier. And the longer you go, the less you’ll crave those foods.
But be easy on yourself if you slip up and remember…
The key to winning here is to eliminate these foods slowly. As you eliminate, incorporate new, healthier foods into your diet. That way you won’t feel so deprived.
Eat These Foods
Let’s talk about what we can eat for a more youthful appearance. That’s so much more fun!
Different Colored Vegetables
Vegetables are at the top of our list. Train yourself to love ‘em. Because they love you! Plus vegetables are packed with antioxidants which are thought to help prevent free radical and sun damage to our skin.
Vegetables also have a high water content, helping to keep us hydrated (especially when eaten raw).
They’re also high in fiber which keeps our elimination system functioning optimally. This is important if you want a glowing, clean complexion. A clean inside equals a clean outside.
We LOVE avocados in our family. We call them nature’s butter because when ripe they can get so creamy and delicious. They contain 20+vitamins, minerals and anti-aging antioxidants packed into a tiny little package. Don’t be shy with this wonderful fruit. They’re versatile and can be used for all kinds of recipes.
How We Eat It
We put them on our salads, add them to smoothies for a creamy texture, rub really ripe ones on ears of corn (it’s like butter!), and even blend them with cacao powder and banana to make homemade chocolate pudding. Yum!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Olive oil has such a full bodied taste that compliments all kinds of food. It also contains Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that protects us from cellular damage and has been linked to healthy skin and eyes.
How We Eat It
It’s a great oil base for salad dressings. Try mixing it with a vinegar (balsamic, apple cider, etc.) of your choice, a few dry herbs and a pinch of salt. Mmm! Another popular use of it in our household is on roasted veggies. We cut up tons of hearty vegetables such as carrots, beets, turnips, sweet potatoes, parsnips and full cloves of garlic. Then we coat the vegetables in olive oil and roast them in the oven until soft. It’s simple. It’s delicious. And it gets DEVOURED in our home!
Quick Tip: Do not heat olive oil over 200 degrees Celsius or 395 degrees Fahrenheit. That is its smoking point and when an oil reaches that point it becomes damaging and toxic to your body. So if you fry with olive oil, do so at lower temperatures.
All nuts (depending on their source) are good for you, but brazil nuts rank high because of their high level of selenium, a trace mineral that when deficient can lead to premature grey hair or hair that falls out. A few brazil nuts a day can help reverse any underlying deficiency.
How We Eat It
They’re an awesome snack on their own. Just a grab a few when you get the urge for a quick snack.
Fresh Herbs (garlic, turmeric, fennel, dill, parsley, coriander and others)
Fresh herbs are loaded with antioxidants and some are even powerful anti-inflammatories – think turmeric, garlic and nutmeg.
Fresh herbs also contain vitamins and minerals responsible for healing damaged skin while helping our skin and eyes to glow and our nails to grow strong.
And the flavor they add to dishes can make all the difference in eating something bland versus something out of this world!
How We Eat It
We add green herbs to salads and blend them into soups. We’ll even sometimes make a coconut cream and carrot soup with tons of turmeric. It’s a warming soup that is so good for the eyes and joints. We also love to take garlic and ginger and mince them into a stir fry.
Cucumbers are one of our favorite nighttime snacks. They satisfy the “crunch craving” that we sometimes get and a little sea salt makes them taste great! They’re extremely hydrating as they’re 80-90% water by volume, and cucumbers also contain the mineral silica which is necessary for the health of our connective tissue in muscles, ligaments, cartilage, tendons and bones. A lot of health advocates recommend juicing cucumbers for this reason – just remember though, if you do this you’ll also miss out on some nutrients in the skin of the fruit such as potassium, vitamin c, zinc, vitamin B6 and folic acid.
How We Eat It
Raw, as a snack. Add sea salt and a little sprinkle of cinnamon for a nice treat. We also regularly cut them up for our salads. Or you could blend them into soups using a magic bullet or Vita-mix blender (our personal favorite).
Our exterior is a reflection of our interior. As a result, it’s imperative to make sure we are functioning at a high level inside our bodies.
Fresh fish an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, good for a healthy cardiovascular system, lowering LDL cholesterol and aiding in joint pain. Vitamin D is also in fresh fish and is one of several co-factors necessary for strong bones and teeth. It’s also important for mood stability, immunity and to prevent depression – talking to all you folks that live in the cold, cloudy areas of the world!
How We Eat It
We grill or bake fresh fish. Our favorite is definitely grilling though. Some great additions for flavor are lemon, and fennel. Careful not to overcook as some fish can become dry and too firm.
Drink Water Like Your Life Depends On It
Did you catch my rather dry humor there? 🙂
Besides oxygen, water is most important element to our ability to live. Our bodies are comprised of 60-70% water and we can only survive without it for a couple of days.
Why exactly does the body need good ole’ h20 anyways? All kinds of reasons. To regulate body temperature, joint health, digestion, saliva production (dry mouth is brutal) and proper circulation to name a few.
But there two very important reason why a lot of water is especially good for a youthful appearance.
- Water is fluid and a fantastic medium of transportation for all types of microscopic substances. Natural spring water flows by the power of wind and gravity, through the ground and over mineral deposits and rocks, bonding to small amounts of those minerals which we later consume by drinking. The body is internally wise and uses water with a pump (your heart) to create a means of travel for those minerals and other nutrients that are so vital to life and youthfulness! It’s called your blood. Proper hydration keeps that system moving.
- A healthy amount of water also allows the body to expel impurities as it cleanses itself through urine and defecation. Without enough water, this cleansing system can slow down and even stagnate. A slow elimination system can result in acne, dry flaky skin and even encourage wrinkle formation.
So drink up! It’s debatable how much water we should drink per day. It all depends on your age, weight and activity level. I try to aim for 2 liters a day myself.
But here’s a fun challenge. Fill up a gallon of water everyday and see how much you can drink before bedtime. It’s tough in the beginning but it gets easier and easier as your body begins to crave the water. Just be ready to pee a lot!
Oh and two quick tips!
- The type of water matters! We use a Berkey Filtration System in our home to remove all the gunk from our tap water while leaving all the vital minerals in.
- Do not chug an excessive amount of water (like a gallon) at one time. While extremely rare, water toxicity can occur, resulting in death.
Reduce Coffee and Drink Green Tea
I know, I know… most of us love our coffee. Me too! That’s why I say reduce coffee, not give it up entirely (unless you really want to).
Coffee is a wonderful boost to your energy, concentration and productivity, but that caffeinated boost comes at a price later.
Coffee is very dehydrating and for every cup you drink, it’s recommended you drink two cups of water to offset that.
It also leeches vital minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium. Not only that, coffee drains your B-vitamins, and excessive consumption can eventually lead to adrenal fatigue. That’s no good if you’re trying to look younger.
If you must have coffee (and I understand), I’d suggest drinking it earlier in the day and taking a good multi-vitamin and b-complex.
Green tea is an excellent substitute for coffee if you find yourself needing a little push later in the day. The caffeine content is significantly lower and it doesn’t have the drastic lifts and crashes that coffee does.
Green tea also contains the amino acid L-theanine which is great for managing stress and anxiety. A stressed out body is one that looks tired, run down and yep, you guessed it, older.
Take Vitamin C and Collagen Together
Collagen is a protein that is found all throughout our body. It’s found in abundance in our bones, tendons, muscles, other connective tissue and our skin.
As we age, our ability to produce collagen decreases, weakening the structural makeup of our skin and giving us wrinkles. This happens to everyone.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant found in different fruits and vegetables. It helps synthesize collagen and repair damaged tendons, ligaments, joints and skin.
Unlike other mammals, we cannot make vitamin C in our liver. We can only attain it from the food we eat or by supplementation.
If you want a powerful combination to help maintain a youthful appearance, take collagen and vitamin C together daily.
I would start with 5g of vitamin C a day and about 10-15g of collagen. If you’re not seeing results as fast as you’d like, it’s OK to go higher. Some people take upwards of 30g of a collagen a day from supplementation and bone broth.
Experiment to find what works best for you!
Fasting has been all the rage lately. But this newfound knowledge is not so new. Fasting is centuries old and humans have been doing it since the beginning of time.
But we’ve only recently started to understand and pay attention to the positive benefits of it.
Our bodies are full of ancient wisdom. They know how to prioritize actions that ensure proper functioning, healing and prolonged youthfulness. We just have to give them the proper building blocks (nutrition), and time (fasting) to do so.
When an animal or young child gets sick, their appetite is usually greatly diminished. This is intuitive to them, not a learned behavior. Their bodies know that deep healing takes place best when digestion is turned off. That’s intuitive intelligence!
And this is the foundation for planned intermittent fasting. You plan to prolong the window of time between your last meal of a day and your first meal of the next day.
Some people even choose to skip eating for an entire day.
It’s all about personal choice and preference.
Some of the incredible benefits of intermittent fasting are improved immunity, better assimilation of nutrients, a strong sense of well-being, rapid weight loss, diminished craving and yes, a more youthful appearance.
My own personal story with fasting has been profound. I’ve actually had deep acne scars disappear after periods of intermittent fasting! All to my joy and excitement!
Fasting is fantastic but you can get discouraged quickly if you do it wrong. So you may want some help through the process. Brad Pillon is one of the authorities on fasting and author of Eat Stop Eat. I recommend you check it out here. His approach to fasting is unique and geared to helping you keep with it.
Pump Your Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system is our body’s drainage system. It’s a complex network of organs and tissues that move lymph (immune fighting cells) and accumulated waste throughout and out of our bodies.
Here’s the kicker though. Unlike our arterial system, which moves via a pump (your heart), our lymphatic system is stationary unless we move! Our movement is its pumping mechanism.
This is one huge reason why exercise is so important. It allows the lymphatic system to flow rapidly and efficiently, clearing out all the accumulated waste from bacterial/viral infections, junk food and bad environmental exposures.
If our lymphatic system gets clogged our body will adapt and clear out waste using secondary methods such as the pores of our skin. The result? Acne, rashes, and other skin blemishes… no fun!
Some great movements that keep this system in tip top shape are rebounding (a trampoline), plyometric training (jumping), cardiovascular workouts and anything else that requires full body, non-restrictive motion.
Chronic stress is dangerous. It has been linked to the onset of panic attacks, heart disease, cancer and even suicide.
It’s important to get it under control. Prolonged stress will deplete immunity, drain our adrenals and prematurely age us.
My stress bucket can fill up pretty quickly, so when that happens I’ll usually take some time to myself to listen to some music. It helps to calm my mind and ground me.
Here are some additional ways to combat stress and anxiety naturally.
Get Adequate Sleep
Sleep… sure… we all have crazy schedules. Who has time for sleep? Especially 8 or more hours?
No one really.
We may not have time for it, but we desperately need it. Sleep is when our brain takes a break and when our body does most of its healing and rejuvenation.
In fact, we grow up to 30 times more skin while we’re asleep than when we’re awake. Remember the tip above about collagen and vitamin C? It works best when we combine it with enough rest.
We also produce the most HGH (human growth hormone) during stage 3 or slow wave sleep which plays a significant role in helping us stay fit, trim, and young looking.
Try to set a sleep schedule and stick to it.
Your health, your sanity and your skin will thank you.
Do you have any other tips about how to stay younger longer? Share with us!