There’s a lot of evidence to show that eating fewer refined carbohydrates is good for your waistline, but now, we also know it could help you look — and feel — younger as you age.
It’s because refined carbs increase the production of nasty compounds, called advanced glycation end products (or AGEs), that attack your body’s ability to repair and regenerate its cells — it’s the reason your wrinkles deepen, your skin loses elasticity, and you notice the wear and tear of life across your face.
AGEs speed up your body’s ageing process
Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are compounds in refined carbohydrates that can leave you looking and feeling old. Over time, they chip away at your health and may be the reason your skin starts to wrinkle and sag, and it can even be the reason you develop joint pain and other symptoms of ageing.
High blood sugar increases AGE production
These AGEs develop for a number of reasons, but high blood sugar has been found to dramatically accelerate their production. When you eat refined carbohydrates, your body takes the immediately available sugar out and it rushes into your blood stream. As this sugar is then transported from your blood to either be used as energy or stored for later use, protein and fat molecules in your body become exposed to these excessive amounts of sugar. This causes them to change their nature through a process that is called glycation.
Once glycated, these newly formed AGE compounds, cause stress and inflammation within your tissues and they degenerate quicker than they should.
The Journal of the American Dietetic Association says it’s this process that has led to the epidemic of diabetes and heart disease across the world, amongst other chronic diseases.
It’s why you should strongly consider eliminating sugar, white bread, cakes, cookies, pastries and other highly processed refined carbs from your diet if you wish to live a healthy life as you grow old.
Read more: 10 nutritional myths most people believe
How to protect yourself from AGEs
Besides cutting back on, or eliminating, refined carbs in your diet, there’s something else you can do to protect yourself from the harmful effects of AGEs.
Multiple studies have shown that antioxidants can help stop AGEs from forming. You may know that antioxidants can protect you from free radical damage, but there are some potent forms that do so much more.
In the journal Nature, the authors of a study found the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC) had a huge amount of promise in curbing the production of AGEs. There’s also evidence to show that vitamins C and E are also potent antioxidants that protect the body from AGEs.
It’s not surprising as both vitamin C and E are promoted for their role in health and, in particular, skincare.
Vitamin E has for years been a common ingredient in many skincare products while vitamin C is becoming just as popular.
What to eat to naturally slow the ageing process
Antioxidants are all contained in natural food. Brightly coloured fruit and vegetables are some of the greatest sources of antioxidants and it’s the reason you should eat five to nine servings every day.
Oils are rich in other types of nutrients that act as antioxidants. Olive oil and oils in nuts and seeds are a must in a healthy diet. Eating nuts and seeds as snacks or added to your breakfast or salad is an easy way to include these antioxidant-rich foods.
Variety is key when it comes to good health and protecting yourself from the damage AGEs cause. A rainbow of healthy foods added to every meal won’t just help you prevent disease, it can be the reason you look and feel younger than your age reveals that you are.
Don’t worry, you can still eat cake (every now and again)
You can promote better blood sugar control if you do happen to indulge in foods that spike your blood sugar. The antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) can help you do that while at the same time increasing your insulin sensitivity, which means your cells will be more receptive to using the sugar for energy.
Foods high in ALA include spinach, broccoli, beef kidneys and tomatoes. But the easiest way to up your intake is to take a supplement. It’s important to speak to your doctor before you start taking any new supplements, especially if you suffer from a chronic illness or you’re currently taking medication.
Republished from e|Care, an online portal for health and wellness by Health|Insite. Website: www.healthinsite.net. Tel: 0861 066 666