Turns out, there actually are ways to slow down the aging process — or at least stop it from speeding up. And while Mirren might not be spilling her secrets anytime soon, we found three health and wellness pros who are willing to dish on how you can put the brakes on that whole aging thing with nothing more than a few simple swaps to your skin-care routine, diet, and lifestyle. Read on to learn their tricks for staying (basically) forever young.
One of the biggest culprits of skin aging is dryness — when your skin lacks moisture, it doesn’t look as plump. Besides the “no duh” advice of drinking more water, make sure to also hydrate your skin on the outside with hyper-moisturizing ingredients. Hyaluronic acid occurs naturally in the body, but levels decrease as we age, which hinders the skin’s ability to retain moisture and leads to wrinkles. Products containing this super-hydrating ingredient boost skin’s elasticity and hydration, as well as helps the skin’s surface appear smoother.
Find Your Food Cure
Many impressive foods, besides being delicious, can also keep you healthy for the long haul. “Blueberries are a great place to start,” says Dr. Frank Lipman, integrative and functional medicine physician and founder of Eleven Eleven Wellness Center. “They provide one of the most concentrated sources of flavonoids, a class of polyphenols, which may help improve vision, memory, and concentration, and also slow down aging. They also contain other polyphenols that have been shown to have anti-bacterial qualities and tannins, which reduce inflammation in the digestive system. Blueberries also have a high fiber content, and much of that fiber is pectin, which is soluble and helps lower cholesterol levels.”
Another great anti-aging ingredient? Antioxidants, which you can get through a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Of course, there are heavy-hitters like dark, leafy greens, but according to nutritionist Lauren Schmitt, those aren’t your only option for adding a free-radical fighter into your diet. “I always tell people not to worry so much about a specific color, but be concerned about getting a rainbow of colors. Even light-colored cauliflower has antioxidants that are different from what you’ll get in other vegetables,” she says.
It seems like a no-brainer, but so many women still don’t protect their skin from the sun. UVA stands for aging rays, people — you can’t get any more obvious than that. “You have to use a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays every day, and the more you use, the better,” says Dr. Jay Kulkin. While this won’t help your preexisting problems, it will prevent further premature signs of aging — and you know what they say about the best offense.
Cozy Up To CoQ10
“CoQ10 is an extremely powerful antioxidant that offers something for just about everyone,” says Lipman. “It has an astounding range of applications – from anti-aging and increased energy levels to improved cardiovascular and cellular health. As we get older, the body’s ability to convert CoQ10 (also known as ubiquinone) into ubiquinol diminishes. This can lead to lower cellular energy and less protection against damage from free radicals, reducing your ability to deal with the typical signs of aging. MyBe Well CoQ10 formula contains ubiquinol, which is more easily used by the body than the more common ubiquinone form.”
Yet another antioxidant powerhouse (sensing a theme here?), green tea can help fight damage (wrinkles) caused by free radicals, and it can also neutralize the damage done by exposure to UV rays. “Green tea is known as an anti-inflammatory, but it has a great anti-aging benefit because of the antioxidants’ impact on the skin’s cells,” says Kulkin. Besides replacing your morning cup o’ Joe, try adding in skin-care products that also contain tea.
Get Back To Nature
“It’s becoming increasingly clear that the food we eat acts as a sort of messenger in our bodies, delivering information to our cells that affects how they function,” says Lipman. “Although there is not one right diet for everyone, as we are all different, try to eat as closely to nature as possible. The further removed food is from its source, the fewer health benefits it will contain. The fewer benefits it contains, the more likely it is to trigger the undesirable functions associated with aging: heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, and so on.”
Feel The Burn
Besides being good for your heart, exercise also just makes you look younger: “We lose our muscle mass as we age, so if you keep a good amount of muscle, you look toned, and that looks young,” says Schmitt. Not to mention, you’ll feel good and be in amazing shape — pretty great side effects, as far as we’re concerned.
Take A Chill Pill
“Stress is a huge factor in how we age,” says Lipman. “Rather than add to a growing list of dos and don’ts, consider that one of the most beneficial things you can do for your health tomorrow is to make it a habit to take a deep breaths, relax, and enjoy life today!” That’s probably the easiest anti-aging advice we’ve ever gotten.
Don’t Fear The Fat
“So many people go really low fat with their diets, but you actually want to keep good unsaturated fats in there because they fight against wrinkles forming from the inside, out,” explains Schmitt. That means you should be cooking with olive oil and eating avocado, nuts, chia seeds, and fatty fish like salmon. Get those omega-3s and your skin will reap the benefits.
Take Your Vitamins
Vitamin A, that is. Retinol and retinoid skin-care products can have a huge, positive, visible impact on damaged skin and can help prevent and slow down future side effects of aging. “Vitamin A products like retinols have antioxidant properties that help create healthier skin cells, increase collagen production, and leave you with firmer skin with a better texture,” says Kulkin. They’re also powerful exfoliators, so they increase radiance and reduce discoloration.
Illustrated by Ammiel Mendoza
Click HERE to read more from Refinery29.