There’s a worldwide industry – worth billions and billions – dedicated to keeping you looking younger English for a proficiency lecture! Cosmetics, complicated placenta-extract creams, cosmetic surgery tourism packages; all focus on keeping you looking fresh and youthful. But you may be missing the most important point: beauty and youth actually come from the inside.
While growing older happens to us all, slowing down ageing is more than possible, and not very difficult to do; the hardest part is making some basic changes to your lifestyle.
The 6 most effective brakes you can put on ageing
What you eat: If your daily diet contains five servings of fruits and vegetables, and three servings of whole grains, then you’re off to a good start. Now cut your fat intake down (but not out), include lean protein, and get the rest from complex carbs like oats, brown rice and whole-wheat bread. Make sure you eat omega-3 and 6 rich fish such as salmon, sardines or mackerel about once a week. You could also add fish oil and a vitamin D supplements to keep your skin in good shape.
What you drink: Drink water, in all forms all day long. A litre a day is a good minimum start, but athletes will need more. Factor green tea and coffee in your daily total, but go easy on the booze. Alcohol is classified as a neurotoxin, and it damages cells. Over time, high alcohol intake causes weight gain and memory loss, increases the risk of diabetes, and leads to flushing, a puffy face and burst capillaries in the skin.
How much you sleep: Research shows that if you sleep less than 6 hours a night, you’re at greater risk of having a heart attack or experiencing a stroke, it impacts your immune system and your mind may deteriorate at a faster pace. On an emotional level, a lack of sleep makes you more prone to anger and raises your stress levels. Eight hours of sleep each night is important for both health and longevity.
Sun exposure – the most basic step: Use sunscreen with a sun-protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 on your face, spreading it to your neck and ears. If you tend to forget sunscreen, try the newer cosmetic makeup bases and moisturisers that have UV-protection built in.
Wear UV-protective clothing, sunglasses, and even walk on the shady side of the street.
How you move: Regular aerobic exercise – 30 minutes at least twice a week – is a must-do for slowing the ageing process. Exercise combats the loss of stamina, muscle strength, balance and bone density that increases with age.
What to stop: Stop smoking. After the sun, smoking is the next leading cause of premature wrinkles. Tobacco upsets the body’s mechanism for breaking down old skin and renewing it.
So, while you can’t stop can’t stop life’s clock, these pretty simple steps will mean that you experience the best of your life. And there you have it: ageing happens, but you have a lot of control over HOW it happens to you.