You’re probably wondering what sugar has to do with aging.
Can that Snickers bar, or ice cream make you look older than you really are?
The easy answer is: yes.
How that scientifically happens is for a Bill Nye the Science Guy episode, but we will give you the overview and let you know how sugar can be a major factor in your aging process.
It All Starts with Glycation
Glycation (noun): the bonding of a sugar molecule to a protein or lipid molecule without enzymatic regulation.
What does that really mean you’re wondering?
When you eat food like a carbohydrate your body will break it down into a sugar (glucose and fructose). Your body, then, will be fueled by those sugars.
However, as the aging process goes, and high-glycemic foods are part of your diet (especially if you’re a diabetic), the sugars you consume react with fats and protein in a non-typical way and end up producing AGEs (advanced glycation endproducts) that are molecules which can be harmful.
Through diabetic research, scientists discovered that rapid aging can occur with increased AGEs. The higher the blood glucose level; the more AGEs (if ever you need to remember an acronym – this might be the one to keep in mind, right?)
And while we’re talking about aging, UV ray exposure can also speed up glycation. So, when we suggest wearing sunscreen – here’s another reason why!
AGEs can also effect:
· Collagen and elasticity
· Uneven skin tone
· Age spots
· Fine lines and wrinkles
· Tumors and skin cancer
Especially as you age, AGEs can not only be caused by the food you consume but also internally due to inflammation from lifestyle choices (smoking, excess sun exposure, diet, hormones, stress, etc.).
That’s why it’s extremely important to not only take care of your skin but your overall health as well.
Food for Thought & How to Slow-Down the Aging Process
The good news about glycation is you can decrease and potentially prevent AGEs with food!
Here are some tips to help you choose food that fuels your aging process (in a good way!) and lifestyle choices for a brighter you.
Vitamin A – Carrots, kale, spinach, pumpkin, liver, and cantaloupe.
Vitamin C – Camu camu, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, guava, and citrus.
Vitamin E – Olive oil, walnut oil, wheat germ oil, oats, tomatoes, and carrots.
Bioflavonoids – Citrus, berries, onions, tea, red wine, dark chocolate, and sea buckthorn.
Polyphenols – Berries, tea, dark chocolate, walnuts, peanuts, and pomegranates.
· Maintain a healthy weight & blood sugar levels
· Wear sun protection
· Consider a supplement (Carnosine and B1 and B6)
· Be aware of your alcohol intake (alcohol can be loaded with sugar)
Your Next Steps
Glycation and AGEs are deep topics with many layers to it; this one blog post just scratches the surface.
We recommend speaking with your healthcare and/or medical skincare professional for further guidance on how sugar correlates with aging for your individual care.
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