In the modern world that we live in today, most of us have learned to become health conscious and aware of the needs of our body. We no longer settle for “quick fix” solutions such as plastic surgery or barely-thought out “fad” diets. We now look to more natural, holistic ways to keep ourselves healthy and to keep our youth in check.
As such, we are bombarded with products, programs, diets, and supplements that claim to be able to turn back the tides of time and help stall, if not almost cease, aging. However, people are still often unaware that many of the ingredients, foods, and dietary staples in their everyday lives actually contain elements that speed up the aging process.
#1 Sweet Temptation
Do you ever stop and wonder how much sugar is actually present in your daily food intake? How many teaspoons of sugar do you put into your usual morning cup of coffee? How much sugar do you think is used in the processing and making of your favorite dessert, be it a cupcake, or a candy bar? Though the dangers of sugar have long been known, especially in the area of diabetes or heart disease, it is important to keep a vigilant look-out for how much sugar we actually consume.
A study recently conducted in the UK has shown that high blood sugar levels are also contributing factors to accelerated aging. Simply stated, the results of the study showed that the higher your blood sugar/ glucose level is, the more likely you are to look more aged compared to other people who are as old as you are but have lower levels of sugar in their blood.
This is believed to be caused by the fact that high blood sugar levels translate to more sugar in your system that will bind itself to collagen, thereby causing the collagen to lose its flexibility and to constrict. This is important because collagen is a very beneficial protein that naturally aids in keeping your skin looking and feeling young. High blood sugar levels will also cause a reduction in insulin production which, in turn, hastens advanced aging as well.
#2 The Unhealthy Vegetable (Oil)
Most of the time, people are quick to assume that “vegetable oil” is the healthiest possible cooking oil that they can use. The truth is, however, that even vegetable oil is subject to a lot of dangers to your health and can undoubtedly increase the rate at which you age.
Due to the highly perishable nature of vegetable oils, they are prone to undergo “oxidation,” a chemical reaction that, when consumed and introduced to your body, can cause up to 60 different illnesses or conditions that accelerate aging. This is because “free radicals,” which are the wild, uncontrolled molecules in your body, in a sense, attack and age healthy cells in your body, resulting in the release of oxygen.
This reaction ultimately greatly speeds up aging by causing skin wrinkles and discoloration, impairment of eyesight, growth of white hairs and the like. Vegetable oils also usually contain too much omega-6 fats, which, in moderation, are usually a good thing for your body and your health, but when taken in excess results in the increased risk of acquiring dreaded diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, cardiovascular illnesses and even cancer.
What then can you use for cooking? Well, simply using vegetable oil in sparing amounts can already be a great help, but other oils such as olive oil and coconut fat can also do the trick.
#3 Junking Junk Food
The fact that junk food and sodas are bad for your health is no news. These have been identified as causes for numerous sicknesses, conditions, and are general sources of unhealthy living. Recent studies, however, may have uncovered yet another reason to drop the bad snack habit.
It was found that high amounts of phosphate, which can be easily found in sodas, junk food, and other processed food, increase the process in which we age. This aging manifests itself not only in wrinkles and spots on your skin, but with real, dangerous complications that come with an aged body. Tested on groups of mice, it was found that those who had an imbalance of phosphate in their system lived up to only half as long (8-15 weeks) as those who did not have a heavy presence of phosphate in their diet (20 weeks). So at the risk of your health, throwing away junk food becomes much easier.
#4 Cooking Up Trouble
Though it is very good to know which foods are beneficial to your health and which foods are detrimental to it, sometimes this simply isn’t enough. It is also very important to know not only what you cook, but also how you cook it. Any health buff or diet-conscious cook out there should know that cooking food at a higher temperature, no matter how healthy, organic, or natural your meat is, can actually make your food unhealthy and greatly increase the speed of your aging.
This is because of Advanced Glycation Endproducts (also known as A.G.E.s) which are substances and compounds that are dangerous to your health and which accelerate the aging process. A.G.E.s are already commonly present in sugary, processed, or browned foods, and have the particular reaction of forming at a greater rate in the food that you eat when you cook food at higher temperatures.
However, the unnecessary build up of A.G.E.s can be easily negated by simply cooking your food at a lower temperature over an extended period of time. Preparing your meats and foods with an acidic aspect (in your marinade, for example) will also reduce the appearance of A.G.E.s, as well as using more water-based methods of cooking such as boiling, poaching, or steaming.
#5 Lacking Telomeres?
Telomeres may not be a familiar term to majority of people, but every person should know how important it is, not only to our health, but our entire lives, as well. Telomeres act as a sort of “cap” at the ends of our DNA strands which prevent the strands from unraveling and dying. As we age, our telomeres slowly and gradually decrease and decrease, acting as indicators of our age and well-being.
When these telomeres are completely gone, the cells and DNA unravel and our body grows older and unhealthier. In many ways, telomeres can be seen as a fuse which begins shortening from the beginning of our lives all the way up until the end.
By now we can see how important telomeres are in keeping a healthy and sound body. Making sure that our telomeres are not unnecessarily wasted is simply exercising good judgment. Scientific discoveries have shown that eating processed meats and foods can actually decrease the lifespan of our telomeres by up to 14 years. Thus, we can see how important it is to avoid having processed foods in our diets.
Curiously, there is also a way in which we can expand the longevity of our telomeres and this is by actually eating organically vegan. This is because telomerase, enzymes which help repair our telomeres, and telomerase activity are significantly encouraged and boosted by partaking in a whole-foods plant-based diet. Doing so not only helps deter the aging process, but impedes the occurrence of debilitating conditions and diseases associated with age.
Aging is a process that we cannot stop or halt. However, we can arm ourselves with accurate knowledge and take proper steps in order to make sure that we do not age too quickly nor too prematurely. With the appropriate knowledge and corresponding positive actions, we can gracefully age in a manner that is healthy, optimal and filled with the promise of sustained longevity.
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