by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner
Cosmetic surgery used to be for the rich and famous. Today, anyone can get a quick adjustment to their look. Enhancements can even be done after a routine dental exam or spa trip. If Botox isn’t on your agenda, but you want to look chipper among the sea of perky faces, here’s your solution …
Let’s face it– literally. Some are genetically predisposed to a youthful appearance. Just as you inherit genes for osteoporosis or high cholesterol, your ancestors may share their smile lines, dark eye circles, or receding hairline.
Although we all acknowledge beauty is on the inside, it always helps the ego when we’re pleased with the mirror’s reflection. Hence, the flourishing cosmetic industry. Shelves of products are dedicated to skin care and appearance, whether at the grocery store or a boutique shop. Some entire stores are dedicated to the stuff.
Save yourself time, money, and frustration. Earn your glow with a few healthy habits.
Combat Age with These Foods
What others might seek from a bottle, jar, or treatment, you can get from your daily snacks.
Vitamin C-enriched produce guards against wrinkles formed by the sun’s harmful rays. Oranges, grapefruits, sweet red peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, and spinach are several choices. Pomegranates are packed with vitamin C, along with other compounds that fight damage from free radicals and increase the skin’s ability to preserve collagen. This tangy sweet fruit helps soften skin for a smooth, full appearance. Its seeds are meant to be eaten or the fruit makes a delicious juice. Bye-bye sunken circles.
Antioxidants help guard against sun damage. The Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry indicates beta-carotene and lutein as two nutrients that improve skin’s elasticity. Eat three cupfuls per week of spinach and kale. Firm up your skin. Those toned muscles you’re building deserve it.
Blueberries and other dark fruits are taking center-stage lately. Blueberries are one of the highest antioxidant food sources. They counteract the effects of sun exposure, stress (that between-the-brows anger line), and pollution. They also replenish skin after an intense workout, particularly running. Rather tempts you to apply directly to the face. Stick to traditional facial masks. Dark fruits stain. Half-cup daily promotes firm skin and diminishes fine lines.
Even the older, distinguished gentleman benefits from antioxidants. If you earned a rugged look from youthful laboring under the sun, beware. Skin damage from sun can be dangerous, even life-threatening. Take proactive measures through a healthy diet and exercise, with regular visits to a dermatologist.
Omega-3 fatty acids never cease to be a health factor. Consume them to strengthen skin cell membranes. Two meal servings per week are proven to fight inflammatory conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema. Don’t forget their benefits for cardio health and even mood improvement. If you choose to get omega-3s through fish, enjoy two servings a week to gain benefits. However, limit your intake to less than six six-ounce portions to avoid excessive mercury, unless mercury free.
Cook and season with olive oil. It nourishes the skin for healthy coloring.
Get Your Grove On
You’re only as old as you feel. That seems the mantra of middle age and beyond. No one ever felt spunky lying around on the couch. Keep your body in motion to stay in motion. You can remain buff, inside and out.
In the past, we’ve highlighted Center members who managed to decrease their physical age despite what is indicated on their birth certificates. Following a healthy lifestyle of proper nutrition and adequate physical activity is an indisputable way to feel young and vibrant. Theories also indicate this lifestyle can help you look younger as well.
Age is often associated with a thicker middle, some extra pounds, flabby arms, an extra chin. Refuse to exemplify this stereotype. A good workout helps you maintain your “fighting weight,” the one that came so easily when you were on the wrestling team or played regular pick-up games. Midlife weight gain is common. Some even get a head start by gaining weight each year of youth as they approach their 40s. But …
Midlife weight gain is avoidable. Age-related hormonal shifts only account for two to five pounds. The rest? Well, it’s up to you.
Burn, baby, burn. Be sure to fit in plenty of cardio fitness. During middle age, experts suggest burning 400 to 500 calories a day through aerobic activity. Hit the elliptical for 35 minutes and you can burn about 300 calories. These calories can be burned through a single cardio session or throughout the day. Weight training is critical. It helps increase your metabolism. A muscular body burns more calories with less effort.
Change your exercise routine. Cross train and shift intensities throughout each session for maximum impact. Like anything else in life, a familiar routine might be comfortable; however, once you acclimate to it, it won’t have much effect. It becomes maintenance at best.
Studies show exercise has its own anti-aging effects. It helps us remain healthy and increases our longevity. Along with its ability to decrease risk for diseases and illness, both age-associated and otherwise, those who exercise are known to have cells with a longer life expectancy.
Remove the Stains
A lifetime of coffee, tea, and foods that stain can dim even the biggest smile. Avoid telltale yellowed teeth to keep your face fresh. Toothpastes with whiteners can help; however, the added whitening agents may break down tooth enamel. Do-it-yourself whitening strips are an economical option. For best results, have teeth professionally whitened by your dentist. Success is enhanced because dentists use a strong bleach solution and customized forms molded for your teeth.
Dress the Part
Through a healthy diet and regular exercise, you can feel and look radiant at any age. (There goes that mind-body connection again.) You’ve worked hard to be in healthy shape. Reward yourself with a flattering look. Ditch the baggy t-shirts and elastic waistbands. Go for something sleek. Dare to dress according to your appearance, not necessarily your age. With exercise and proper nutrition, you can defy age naturally. After all, you “got some (real) work done.”
“8 Tools for a Better Smile,” by Regina Boyle Wheeler at www.everydayhealth.com.
“Can Exercise Slow Aging?” by Mark Stibich at www.about.com.
“Fighting Midlife Weight Gain,” Interview with Pamela Peeke at www.webmd.com.
“The Best Anti-Aging Foods,” at www.fitnessmagazine.com.
Smiling youth (introductory photo): http://www.flickr.com/photos/ninette_luz/2692608149/
Outdoor workout: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lululemonathletica/4884159930/