Certain Foods Can Counteract Aging

Sugar Can Wrinkle, Dull Beautiful Skin

The quest for beautiful and healthy-looking skin and hair is an obsession for some consumers. It's estimated that each year, more than $1 billion are spent on beauty products to make us look our best.

But some doctors argue that what you put on your face and hair may not change your look as much as what you put into your body.

According to U.S. Census data, sugar consumption has increased by 30-percent over the past 20 years. If you compare it to data more than 100 years ago, our consumption has increase 10-fold!

We all know how too much sugar can show up on your waistline, but it can also cause damage to your skin. As sugars are digested and dispersed throughout the body, they go through a process known as glycation. The final stage of the glycation process is the irreversible formation of AGEs, or Advanced Glycation End Products. AGEs have been shown in clinical studies to cause damage to the skin, resulting in premature aging, the formation of lines and wrinkles, and deactivation of the skin's own enzymatic defense system.

Research shows between the ages of 20 and 85, the amount of AGEs increase five fold. This results in collagen and elastin in the skin becoming brittle and less elastic, giving it a less youthful appearance.

Topical anti-glycation products like Prescriptives Anti-AGE, Avon Anew and Estee Lauder Resilience skincare lines can help stop this process. Doctors also recommend you limit your intake of snacks and sweets like cookies, candy, cakes, soda, pretzels and chips, which are high in glucose.

Choose whole grains like whole wheat pasta, bread, cereals and rice. Try foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids such as fish, soy, walnuts, ground flax seeds and canola oil. Also, eat 2 1/2 cups of vegetables and 2 cups (or 2 pieces) of fruit each day.

Surprisingly, cooking foods quickly at high temperatures (like in the microwave or deep fryer) increases the number of AGEs in your food. Instead, try steaming, poaching or lightly sauteing foods. Doctors also suggest you eat at least 1 milligram of vitamins B1 -- found in pork, whole grain cereals and navy beans -- and B6 -- found in poultry, fish, eggs and bananas -- a day. In studies, they proved to be potent AGE inhibitors.

Naturopathic dietician Timothy Brantley, author of the new book, The Cure, offers other advice for those looking to start their beauty routine from the inside-out. He says the key to a beautiful outside is a well-nourished body and organs.

"All the vegetable juices are loaded with minerals, loaded with the nutrients that will help to feed the blood, feed the bodily fluids and help support the skin," Brantley said.

You can fight puffy eyes and dark circles by avoiding processed meats and meals.

"Processed foods contain a lot of acids, which hurt your kidneys by taking water away from them," Brantley said. To increase your hair's shine and volume, he suggests almonds to boost your hair's nutrients. He also says vitamin B6 can help treat problem acne.