Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Fruit That Fights Wrinkles

You really can fight wrinkles from the inside out. And there's a fruit that can lead the charge. It's papaya. What makes papaya so perfect? Easy. Vitamin C. Papaya has loads of it, and getting lots of vitamin C may mean more youthful skin -- fewer wrinkles and less thinning and dryness. A recent study in women over 40 confirmed it.
The Mysteries of Vitamin C is a natural friend to skin. The nutrient is essential for making collagen, the protein fibers that give skin its strength and resiliency. And being a powerful antioxidant, C also disarms free radicals that would otherwise chip away and weaken collagen.

More Food for Your Face. A little extra vitamin C isn't all it takes to plump your complexion. Here are a few more food tips that can help keep your face fresh:

Munch on walnuts. In the vitamin C study, researchers also noted that diets rich in linoleic acid -- an essential fatty acid in walnuts -- meant moister, plumper skin.

Ease up on fats and refined carbs. Scientists found both were linked to aging skin.

Think whole grains. The magnesium and B vitamins you get from them help with the regeneration of skin cells.

Keep the fruits and veggies coming. To stay smooth and healthy, your skin needs a whole slew of antioxidant-rich produce.
Source: RealAge

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Vitamin C May Help You Look Younger!

Can Eating Oranges Save Your Skin?
Vitamin C may help you look younger.

Searching for a way to look young for your age? Hit the produce aisle, suggests new research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Analyzing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey I (NHANES I)—a survey that asks people to quantify how often they eat various foods—researchers from Unilever linked consuming plenty of vitamin C-rich foods (such as oranges, tomatoes and strawberries) with youthful skin. "Our findings suggest that a higher intake of vitamin C from foods is associated with a lower risk of having wrinkled skin and age-related skin dryness in [middle-aged] women," says Maeve Cosgrove, Ph.D., who led the research.

Vitamin C’s youthful effects on skin may be due to its antioxidant properties, which help protect against ultraviolet rays, and its role in keeping skin firm via collagen synthesis, say the researchers.

Bottom line: Eating more vitamin-C rich foods, such as oranges, tomatoes, strawberries and broccoli, may be a secret to smoother skin.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS - For Soft, Smooth Skin

These supplements aren't just making headlines for preventing heart disease—dermatologists are recommending them to help heal dry skin and the rough, red, scaly patches of psoriasis and eczema. "Countless studies show that increasing the consumption of omega-3 oils improves these conditions," says Baumann. In one study published in the British Journal of Dermatology, volunteers with severe dermatitis taking high levels of omega-3s (6 g) saw a 30% decrease in symptoms. Psoriasis sufferers experienced similar results in other research.

It's easy to see why omega-3s are crucial to skin health: Besides being an integral part of the membranes that surround our skin cells, these essential fats—which must be obtained from diet or supplements because our bodies cannot make them—are a key component of the lubricating layer that keeps skin supple. They also aid in the production of hormones that improve skin texture and help combat the inflammatory damage wrought by free radicals—one of the causes of wrinkles and blotchiness. This is likely why sun-sensitive people may be significantly less prone to burning after omega-3 supplementation, according to one study.

Eating fish such as salmon, mackerel, and albacore tuna—good sources of omega-3s—twice a week and taking supplements are easy ways to increase your intake. For better skin, Baumann recommends taking 1,000 mg of omega-3 oils a day—about the same dosage recommended to keep your ticker in good shape.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Anti-aging Foods

Olive Oil

Four decades ago, researchers from the Seven Countries Study concluded that the monounsaturated fats in olive oil were largely responsible for the low rates of heart disease and cancer on the Greek island of Crete. Now we know that olive oil also contains polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that may help prevent age-related diseases.


In the 1970s, Soviet Georgia was rumored to have more centenarians per capita than any other country. Reports at the time claimed that the secret of their long lives was yogurt, a food ubiquitous in their diets. While the age-defying powers of yogurt never have been proved directly, yogurt is rich in calcium, which helps stave off osteoporosis and contains "good bacteria" that help maintain gut health and diminish the incidence of age-related intestinal illness.


Thirty years ago, researchers began to study why the native Inuits of Alaska were remarkably free of heart disease. The reason, scientists now think, is the extraordinary amount of fish they consume. Fish is an abundant source of omega-3 fats, which help prevent cholesterol buildup in arteries and protect against abnormal heart rhythms.


The Kuna people of the San Blas islands, off the coast of Panama, have a rate of heart disease that is nine times less than that of mainland Panamanians. The reason? The Kuna drink plenty of a beverage made with generous proportions of cocoa, which is unusually rich in flavanols that help preserve the healthy function of blood vessels. Maintaining youthful blood vessels lowers risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and dementia.


Studies of Seventh-Day Adventists (a religious denomination that emphasizes healthy living and a vegetarian diet) show that those who eat nuts gain, on average, an extra two and a half years. Nuts are rich sources of unsaturated fats, so they offer benefits similar to those associated with olive oil. They’re also concentrated sources of vitamins, minerals and other phytochemicals, including antioxidants.


In a landmark study published in 1999, researchers at Tufts University’s Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging fed rats blueberry extract for a period of time that in "rat lives" is equivalent to 10 human years. These rats outperformed rats fed regular chow on tests of balance and coordination when they reached old age. Compounds in blueberries (and other berries) mitigate inflammation and oxidative damage, which are associated with age-related deficits in memory and motor function.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Look Younger Without Plastic Surgery

Strategies for shaving years off your appearance.

Wendy Bryant-Gow’s job is to worry about how other people look. “People always want to know how to look younger and slimmer,” says the Chapel Hill, N.C.-based image consultant.
But, lately, the newly divorced mother of two has started seeking her own fountain of youth—and her own advice.
“My 50th birthday is just around the corner, and my 30th high-school reunion is a few months away,” says Bryant-Gow. “I’ve been thrown back in the dating scene after all these years, and I’m surrounded by much younger women.”
Amid pressures to look younger in her personal and professional life, Bryant-Gow says that plastic surgery is not an option. Ever.
“I don’t want to do anything that’s invasive. I have two girls, so I don’t want to go under and not come out,” says Bryant-Gow. “I’m really just looking for a confidence boost.”
Most Americans seem to share this outlook; about nine out of 10 patients seeking to look younger want to do so without going under the knife, says Dr. David McDaniel, a dermatologist and the director of the Institute of Anti-Aging Research at East Virginia Medical School in Norfolk.
“People want to look like they’ve had plastic surgery without the surgery, the anesthesia, the down-time or the added expense,” McDaniel says. “The other thing is that people don’t want to look like they’ve had plastic surgery at all—they want to look like they’ve had rest or a vacation.”
Thankfully, shaving years off of your perceived age can be done without enlisting the help of a plastic surgeon (or taking a vacation). Here’s how:
Try Thermage
If you want cosmetic surgery without the surgery, consider Thermage. “In younger women, it can be comparable to a mini-face lift,” says McDaniel. “For older women, it’s an alternative to face-lift, but not quite an equivalent substitution.”
Thermage is actually a type of radiofrequency treatment that uses heat to tighten the skin and stimulate collagen production. The Food and Drug Administration first approved of the technology in 2001, but only recently and after a series of equipment upgrades has Thermage begun yielding marked skin-tightening results, says McDaniel.
The procedure is particularly attractive to people who do not want plastic surgery because it’s noninvasive and requires no recovery time. The drawbacks of Thermage, however, are that it’s still a rather pricey solution (depending on how many treatments you get, the entire process could costs you several thousand dollars), and clients usually have to wait three to six months for the skin’s collagen to grow before seeing results.
Still, says McDaniel: “It just fits with the more active lifestyle that people have today.”
Get a Massage
According to Joanna Czech, an esthetician who counts Uma Thurman, Kyra Sedgwick and Kate Winslet as regular clients, massage is not just for sore bodies—it’s also an important anti-aging tool.
“Massage can help keep your skin nice and firm; it is like a workout for your face muscles,” says Czech, who owns Sava Spa in Manhattan. The idea here is that kneading muscle tissue improves blood circulation, which in turn delivers nutrients and oxygen to the treated area. As a result, collagen fibers contained in the skin are more likely to retain their elasticity, she says.
Regular facials, which involve massage, are the ticket to keeping your face looking young, Czech says. The even better news is that massage works for the body, too. “It is simply the best way to prevent and minimize the appearance of cellulite. It makes the entire thigh and butt area look smoother,” she says.
Even the conditions of this solution don’t seem so bad. “If you want to see results, the most important thing, in my mind, is consistency,” says Czech. Ideally, this means receiving body massages and facials on a monthly basis. “We can reshape and improve women’s bodies until about the age of 60, so you can start this at any age,” Czech adds. (After 60, collagen fibers have difficulty retaining their full elasticity—at this point, they’re like worn out rubber bands.)
But seriously, it’s a massage! Why wait?
Eat Away the Years
What you eat can affect how old you look, according to Stephen Gullo, author of Thin Tastes Better and a nutrition psychologist based in Manhattan.
“Foods that increase inflammation and free radical production stimulate the aging process,” says Gullo. The good news is that this relationship also works in reverse: Eating foods that reduce inflammation and free radical production actually helps your body combat the march of time.
What, then, should an aging omnivore eat?
Dine on low-mercury—“white-colored”—seafood and lots of green and white non-starchy vegetables, Gullo says. “Eat these foods and avoid anything high in simple carbohydrates or fat—these are foods that can help accelerate the aging process,” he adds.
Gobbling down white bread and sugar can also leave you (and your face) looking quite bloated. This is because, for every gram of simple carbohydrate a person consumes, their body retains three grams of water, according to Gullo. Eliminate these foods from your diet, however, and in a few weeks, you’ll notice a big difference when you look in the mirror. “It’s the easiest way to look 15 years younger without a face-lift,” he says. Bye, bye bagels, hello sharp cheekbones!
Stay Young With Juvenon
Another key to looking young is feeling young. Cue a team of biochemists from the University of California, Berkley, who have created a pill that counters the development of aging in mice and rats. No, really.
The pill, called Juvenon, contains a cocktail of natural micronutrients that aid a cellular organelle called the mitochondria. Scientists often describe mitochondria as the “powerhouse” of cells because they are the source of energy for all cellular functions.
Research has shown that as we age, our mitochondria’s ability to produce energy diminishes. Consequently, this energy deficit eventually and adversely affects our mood, our central nervous system and every organ in our body—particularly our brains.
Like grease added to a squeaky wheel, Juvenon works by supplying our aged mitochondria with its missing micronutrients. As a result, the mitochondria are able to pump out as much energy as they did during their youth, according to Bruce Ames, the supplement’s principal creator and a professor of biochemistry at Berkeley.
So far, in preliminary experiments involving rats, the supplement has excelled. “All that I can say is that, if you are a rat, you have reason to be ecstatic,” says Ames. In these trials, Juvenon-fueled rats had higher IQ tests, less oxidative brain damage and a better immune system relative to the study’s controls. In addition, the rodents’ energy deficit almost entirely disappeared.
But what about humans in need of a pick-me-up pill?
Nearly 100,000 people have already purchased the supplement online, though Ames says that he and his colleagues are still investigating Juvenon’s impact on human aging. The biochemist also warns that the supplement’s purported effect on humans (that it improves cognition, boosts energy and lowers blood pressure, among other things) is still, by and large, rooted in anecdotal evidence. Yet, the scientist concedes: “So far, everything looks pretty good.”
Saving the Simplest Solution for Last
As you age, the color and texture of your hair changes and so does the color and texture of your skin. “We need to pay attention to these changes,” says stylist Bryant-Gow, who admits to practicing what she preaches. “A lot of times, our old high-school makeup palettes and 20-year-old hairstyles just won’t do.”
Older women can start to update their look by ditching their powders and foundation (which tend to accentuate facial wrinkles and fine lines) and invest in a light, tinted moisturizer, instead. Bryant-Gow also recommends enlisting professional help. “If you’re in a cosmetics store, it’s important to shop the faces behind the counter,” the stylist urges. “If you don’t like the way someone looks—if their own makeup seems too wild—keep walking.”
This approach also works when selecting a hair stylist. “How you style your hair needs to change as you age,” says Bryant-Gow. “Just make sure you’re consulting with the right people, and don’t be afraid to ask for their input.”
But what if your body—not just your face and hair—needs “updating”? Try body slimming undergarments, says Bryant-Gow. Creating a good foundation under your clothes will thin your silhouette and add polish to any outfit, the stylist says. “Plus, these undergarments hide everything—stomach bulges, sagging skin. Just everything.”
The simplest answer to anti-aging is, of course, to learn to accept yourself—lumpy thighs, age spots, wrinkles and all. There is no scarring or anesthesia involved, and you’re guaranteed to love the results.