Let’s face it, age, as the expression goes “Ain’t nothin’ but a number.” I believe the process of aging occurs from the neck up. That means it manifests on your face and body, according to the way you think and see yourself in the world. If you wear your stress on your face, it may make you appear older than your chronological age. The result shows up as wrinkles, deep crevices, worry lines, and more.
If you allow life to beat you up and put frowns, rather than smiles, on your beautiful face, day in and day out, guess what? You start to look, well, uh, less than youthful – anything but cheery and certainly not open to life’s possibilities. All this is to say, if you see yourself as “old,” others will follow you – straight to the rocking chair on the porch! But the good news is you can change that today! Here are a few tips to get your youthful, sexy, swagger back.
Maintain a Healthy Weight With Fiber
Adding pounds to your frame, no matter what size, adds years to your looks and, worse yet, subtracts years from your life. The good news is, you can consume 30% fewer calories by adding just 14 grams of fiber a day to your diet. Eat more colorful fresh fruits and veggies, and try these high-fiber grains:
- Shiritaki noodles are super-tasty and made from the Japanese konjack root. They contain the highest form of soluble fiber of any food and keep you full longer so you eat fewer calories; the soluble fiber also protects your heart. Find them at Asian food markets and health food stores.
- Cellophane noodles (glass noodles) are translucent and gluten-free. These noodles are chockfull of selenium, a mineral that keeps anxiety at bay (so no frown lines), and boost your mood due to their folic acid content. Try them in soups, stir fry dishes and salads.
- Kelp noodles, which naturally detoxify the body due to their alginic acid, remove toxic metals. As an added benefit, they boost your metabolism. Kelp is also high in the mineral iodine, which boosts energy.
Smash Damaging Free Radicals
By now you may have heard that free radicals (skin and life-reducing chemical compounds) can cause chronic diseases (think cancer, heart disease), and at the very least, cause wrinkles and early-aging skin disorders. But they can be reduced, if not, eradicated with good food choices. Those same vegetables and fruits, for which I’m always advocating, contain antioxidants and phytochemicals that fight harmful free radicals.
Did you know that eating just three artichokes a day in any form – fresh, canned, or frozen – may neutralize the effects of damaging free radicals by 60%? As it turns out, artichokes have antioxidants that promote healthy liver function and, in turn, detoxify the body. Artichokes also quell digestive upset, such as bloating and gassiness, by 70%, some scientists say in just 6 weeks. Try them in salads, or grilled with lemon butter – yum!
Eat More Beans for a Younger Brain
From black-eyed peas to kidney, black, pinto and all manner of beans in between, these high-protein powerhouses contain a good amount of phytates – nutritional compounds that strengthen the immune system and kill cancer cells. They also have the power to give your brain cells a youthful boost. Beans, with their immune system boosting power, reverse the aging process at the cellular level.
Build Muscle With Protein
The more lean muscle you build, the more efficiently your body burns fat and calories, even while you sleep. To do this, you’ll need to add some protein to every meal.
Eat lean meats, fish, chicken, turkey, beans and eggs, but don’t overlook vegetarian options like nuts, quinoa (a whole grain and complete protein source), spelt (a high-protein grain that looks like wheat), and wheat berries (a whole grain form of wheat), rich in protein, iron, and vitamin E, which protects your cells, and magnesium, which makes healthy muscles and bones.
Cut the Sugar to Feel and Look Better
One of the quickest and most proven ways that I know of to get more energy and eliminate aging, aches, and pains, is to eliminate sugar from your diet. It causes inflammation in the body (think achy joints) and saps energy. Choose fresh fruit over sugar-laden candy, cakes, doughnuts, cookies, and pies. Try ice-cold watermelon chunks with sprinkles of chili powder for an extra special treat.
Put on Weight – in the Gym
Most of the women I know (from my practice, sitting in TV audiences, and the scores that I meet as I travel the country), are concerned about weight or strength training. They think that picking up weights during a workout will make their delicate female bodies resemble that of a body builder. Think again. Female bodies naturally contain more fat (for child-bearing). The upside is that building muscle will help you burn fat faster and get the toned body that makes you look and feel younger. As for the body-building effect, forget about it! You’d have to work day and night and take mammoth amounts of various supplements to even begin to look like the body-building women in the magazines and pictures that intimidate you. So, relax. But do pick up weights!
Love Yourself – Now!
I hear it everyday from countless numbers of women: “I am going to feel better about myself after I lose these next 15 pounds.”
Once and for all, please hear me on this, if you never hear anything else again: Love yourself now! Every cell (including all fat cells) will cooperate best with your body in the presence of love. You must love every roll, bulge and part of yourself that you consider imperfect in order to change anything about yourself to be better. Look into the mirror everyday and tell the person that you see “I love you” – and mean it. I promise it works.
At the end of the day, the fountain of youth is not only in the produce section, but it’s also in your head. You are as young as you feel and as young as you see yourself. Make it the image everyone else sees too, but start with your own state of mind!