Recently I was reading a fitness magazine, Oxygen, and an article quoted some famous actress, whose name now escapes me, saying ” As a woman gets older she has to chose between her fanny or her face.” What does that mean? She was referring to the fact that as women age, or anyone for that matter, we lose collagen…that plumpness that makes us look so radiant and youthful. Then, as we age and we work harder at staying fit and keeping a low body fat, we lose more fullness in our faces that can make our faces look drawn and somewhat older. So, a 30, 40 or 50 something year old woman can have a super fit body but her face may suffer in return? In her own funny way this actress is completely right. It seems we have to decide at a certain age, ” Ok, do I mind carrying an extra 15-20lbs in my rear to look 5-10 years younger in my face or, would I rather have the body everyone looks at and says, “WOW, now she’s in phenomenal shape…for an older lady.”
Tough call. As I was chatting with one of my clients today, she also brought up that she noticed her skin was changing. She didn’t seem to have the same elasticity and youthfulness as she once did. This got me thinking from my days as a cashier in a supplement store that I sold several natural supplements that promoted collagen. After telling her this I also remembered several different foods that claim to help with collagen production and all of which are foods I regularly push in obtaining a lean healthy physique! Hmmm…could it be that we can have both? Please God, haven’t you put us through enough, with a little work, can we please keep both a nice fanny and youthful face?
Well, upon doing further research, it seems I am right (as usual, must be a female thing, wink wink). In fact, many of the natural remedies to preventing loss of elasticity, collagen, wrinkled,dried, drawn, and sunken faces are some are the very ones that are prescribed in fitness. The difference here is being extra diligent in making certain that there is balance consistently in the diet therefore avoiding malnutrition in any of the following vitamins, minerals, and nutrients we are about to talk about.
Naturally Promoting Collagen- Lysine, Proline, & Phytonutrients (catechins and anthocyanidins)
Loss of collagen production along with intrinsic (internal) aging actually begins in our early to mid 20’s. Typically, we are not supposed to notice these signs such as graying hair & fine wrinkles until decades later but with society’s lifestyle today, people are aging even more rapidly. You can continue the damage and just try your luck with collagen injections or you can change your lifestyle and look to a more natural approach in preventing collagen loss. Since collagen fibers are made mostly of protein, hydroxlysine and hydroxyproline (aka lysine and proline), there is much support showing that foods high in lysine and proline can be of great aid in collagen support.
So, where can you find it? Look for these amino acids in mostly lean proteins with fish being especially concentrated in lysine.
- Egg whites
- soy products (edamame, silk milk,tofu)
- salmon (not just because of protein content but also Essential Fatty Acid content- Mandina’s makes a mean salmon)[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NyG4N7mSFU[/youtube]
- lean fowl (turkey, chicken…organic please!)
- Wheat germ
Overall protein content is super important and you will most likely need to go above standard Food Pyramid guidelines of 46g a day for women and 56 g a day for men (which is suggested for active and fit individuals too). Avoid any kind of processed meat, such as bacon, hot dogs or deli meats are loaded with preservatives and salt that will do nothing but pull moisture from your skin. Note: Egg whites are also high in SULFUR which is a key mineral in keeping the skin smooth and youthful. Other foods that contain sulfur are: garlic, onions, eggs and asparagus. You can also take an L-systein supplement which will provide adequate amounts of sulfur. Very important!! Vitamin C is crucial in metabolizing proline and lysine so make sure you are eating foods high in Vitamin C…which, if you follow the guidelines of this article you should have no problem doing.
Phytonutrients (catechins and anthocyanidins)
Where can you find it?
- Green tea (catechins)
- deep-colored, red-blue berries and fruits (including cherries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries) Anthocyanidins.
Phytonutrients help the collagen fibers link together in a way that strengthens the connective tissue matrix. The exciting thing about this is not only is green tea a super anti-aging food but it is also a super fat burner (youth and fat loss in a cup…Wow). It has just enough caffeine to act as an appetite suppressant, boost energy, enhance metabolism without causing dehydration like coffee and black tea (a big NO NO if you’re trying to stay looking young). Plus, it contains EGCG, a super anti-oxidant. EGCG, along with the caffeine in green tea, produce a thermogenic response in the body. Thermogenesis creates heat in the body and boosts the metabolic system, increasing the speed of adipose (fat) tissue breakdown. As for the berries, my most popular lean out tip is to eat a cup of berries after dinner instead of carbs or sweets to curb your sweet tooth.Generally, berries help the body manufacture collagen which makes the skin supple and smooth. Berries (especially blueberries) are loaded with antioxidant compounds that are very effective in neutralizing damaging free radicals (that lead to skin cell damage and premature skin aging). Also in that catergory is pomegrante which can actually can stop the formation of spider veins! Hmmm…Fanny or your face? Our chances are looking even better so far!
What else can we do to stay sexy and fight aging? There’s more…
- Vegetables and other fruits: Eat lots of raw fruits and veggies every day. Again, another source of antioxidants and a wide variety at that. Canned and frozen vegetables may provide some nutrients, but only raw veggies and fruits will contain the enzymes necessary to prevent free radical damage. If you absolutely must cook vegetables, steam them lightly, just enough that they are still crispy.
- Vitamin A & B: Expect chapped or cracked skin if you are lacking in either of these. Beta-carotene is as good for your skin as it is for your eyes. Don’t limit yourself to carrots; any type of yellow or orange vegetable is loaded with them. Sweet potatoes also contain beta-carotene and vitamin C. In addition, these potatoes contain vitamin E. Vitamin E helps the body regenerate vitamin C and therefore is necessary in order to maximize the effectiveness of vitamin C. Foods that contain high quantities of vitamin C and vitamin E are very effective antioxidants for skin protection.Good examples are squashes and peppers.
- EFA’s: Essential Fatty Acids found in fish (especially salmon), dark leafy vegetables (kale, collards, dandelions) and flax seeds are also extremely important for your skin. Lactic acid helps to improve your skin’s moisture content, while glycolic acid removes dead skin cells that make your skin look dry and flaky. Eating foods containing these two EFAs will assist in healthy, glowing skin.
- Alpha-hydroxy acids: Alpha-hydroxy acids are responsible for keeping your skin pH balanced. You can get them from foods such as apples, grapes, blackberries, citrus fruits, tomatoes and milk.
- Moisture & Hydration: Drinking enough water each day; although a major component, is not enough. Let’s start there first saying that you need at least 80 – 100 oz per day. Coffee and sodas are not a good substitute for water because they contain caffeine, which is a diuretic( a substance promoting the excretion of water via urine). Also, do not drink too much fluid 2-3 hours before going to bed. This may cause morning puffiness and excessively stretch your skin. Then, you need to be eating foods that help you maintain that moisture. Avocado & sunflower seeds(also shown to reduce acne and psoriasis) have both shown profound effects in keeping the skin plump and youthful.
All of the above nutrients, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals I listed above are typically apart of some very expensive treatments and creams that people spend millions on each year. Who knew that you could save yourself a lot of money if you ate these certain foods instead! Follow my guidelines above and you will be well on your way to a flat stomach, chiseled arms, and a firm tush all while you have the glow of a teenager! Look out, we’re bringing sexy back the natural way.
I’m saving the 2 BEST anti-aging foods (best as in yummy & 2 that you often consider a NO NO in fitness) for last. Will Post Friday. I gave a little hint to someone today on Facebook…Can you guess what it is?
So my next installment in “Toe To Head: Preparing You For Your First or Next Half” was supposed to conclude the apparel vlogs. After filming another installment in the series, “Toe To Head: Preparing For You First Half Marathon” on Wednesday, I felt this content was so important that I needed to get it to you now.
Part 1: “Get Pumped! How to Choose and Time Endurance Supplements For Long Distance Running”
Part 2: “Get Pumped! Hydration & Energy For Your Long Distance Run”