What you eat can determine, to a large extent, how you look and how quickly you age. There are good and bad foods, no doubt about it, and what you put in your mouth can make a profound impact on your appearance. So here are five simple food switches that can take years off your appearance. Hopefully you'll find these new foods taste just as good (or even better!) than the foods they replace.
Food Switch #1: Coffee to Green Tea
Green tea might just be the most powerful of all the antioxidant sources. One study revealed that the polyphenols in green tea have been shown to be 100 times more effective than Vitamin C in fighting free radicals. Now, many people who drink coffee consume several cups per day. If that's the case, then making the cold turkey switch from coffee to green tea might be pretty difficult.
Here's a solution: Start slowly. If you drink three cups of coffee per day, begin by decreasing to two cups of coffee and one cup of green tea. After a few weeks, go to one cup of coffee and two cups of green tea. A few weeks later, discontinue the coffee altogether for green tea. You'll still get your much-desired caffeine boost but with more antioxidants and less unhealthy additives like sugar and cream.
Food Switch #2: Cream Cheese to Almond Butter
My kids love to slather cream cheese on their bagels. Unfortunately, cream cheese isn't all that healthy and doesn't make your skin any younger. So try substituting almond butter for cream cheese. Not only is almond butter tasty, but it's chock full of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. Unlike saturated and trans fats, which are inflammatory and accelerate the aging process, monounsaturated fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. They soothe and calm the skin, protect it from UV radiation, and even moisturize the skin from the inside-out.
Food Switch #3: Milk Chocolate to Dark Chocolate
Raw cocoa contains an enormous dose of free radical-fighting antioxidants. Chocolate bars are graded according to how much raw cocoa (or cacao - same thing) they contain. The higher the percentage of raw cocoa, the higher the antioxidant content. Unfortunately, most commercially-available chocolate bars, like milk chocolate, contain too much sugar and too little cocoa to be healthy for you. So try to switch to dark chocolate with at least 70% raw cocoa. Not only does it taste great, but your skin will also benefit.
Food Switch #4: Vegetable Oil To Olive Oil
Which oil is the best for you? It can be very confusing. Back in the 1980's, everyone thought margarine was much healthier than butter. We now know that margarine contains trans fats (called partially hydrogenated vegetable oil on packaging) and that these trans fats are just not safe. Vegetable oil can also contain too much saturated fat, which can be inflammatory to our bodies.
Olive oil is filled with both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, both of which are anti-inflammatory and anti-aging. It also contains polyphenols, the potent anti-oxidant that is also found in green tea. From a health, wellness, and aging perspective, olive oil is, hands down, better for you than vegetable oil.
Food Switch #5: White To Whole Wheat
This is probably the most important switch of all. Sugar is truly the worst food for your skin. It causes inflammation, produces unhealthy AGE's (advanced glycation end products), and can contribute to unwanted fat pockets. It can even worsen acne!
When we think of sugar, most of us think of desserts and sweets, but refined carbohydrates are bad sugars, too. The refining process removes the bran and germ, causing the food to taste lighter but to digest much more quickly. This can result in sugar spikes, similar to what we get with candy and sweets! So to decrease these sugar spikes (and lessen the damage caused by them), switch to whole over white. Eat brown rice instead of white rice. Eat whole grain pasta instead of white pasta. Eat whole wheat bread instead of white bread. Decreasing the amount of sugar you eat can have profound effects on how quickly (or slowly) you age.
So, there you have it! Five food switches that can make you look years younger. If you make these changes to your diet today, I bet that within a few weeks you will not only feel better but look better too.
Here's to good, healthy eating!