BALANCE BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS. Excess sugar (mainly glucose and fructose) likes to partner with collagen and elastin, two skin-protective proteins, and dehydrate them. Due to this process, the skin loses elasticity and starts to look dull, less vibrant and aged. Avoid sugar as much as possible, eat plenty of fiber every day and avoid eating processed or packaged foods. Balanced meals and regular mealtimes are both keys for regulating all body systems.
FOCUS ON BIOFLAVONOIDS.Eat dark-skinned fruits, such as red apples and nectarines, which are excellent sources of bioflavonoids. Red Delicious and McIntosh apples have the most bioflavonoids in the skin, while Fuji apples have the highest levels of all.
INCREASE ANTIOXIDANT-RICH FOODS. Eat blueberries, raspberries and blackberries regularly. These fruits also contain bioflavonoids, which helps keep free radicals from harming the brain and will prevent premature aging. Berries are also high in antioxidants, which both prevent and reverse free-radical damage. Other antioxidant-rich superfoods include blueberries, bilberries, cherries, cranberries, pomegranate seeds, dates, hawthorne, rose hips and goji berries.
CONSUME ANTI-INFLAMMATORY HERBS. Add lots of anti-inflammatory and high-antioxidant herbs to daily meals like basil, parsley, cilantro, thyme, sage, rosemary and cayenne, as well as spices like cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, cloves and turmeric.
CONSUME ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS such as salmon, sardines and mackerel, flaxseed oil, hemp oil and nuts and seeds every day to control silent inflammation in the body.
CONSUME ADEQUATE PROTEIN EVERY DAY. Protein and exercise are essential in preventing muscle weakness and wasting. Consume smaller but regular meals and include a protein source with each. Add a couple of snacks between meals if you’re prone to blood-sugar imbalances.
ADD PROBIOTIC-RICH FOODS to your diet to promote healthy digestion and a good balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which will support your immune system. Probiotics also produce B vitamins, which help with food metabolism and nutrient absorption. As we age, we tend to be more susceptible to vitamin B12 deficiencies, and probiotics can help to counteract this. The best probiotic food sources include fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut and kimchi, coconut yogurt and kefir, and fermented soy products such as miso, natto and tempeh.
SUPPORT DIGESTION with bitters and apple cider vinegar. These are helpful taken prior to meals to stimulate stomach acid production, which aids in the digestion and assimilation of nutrients. To prevent low stomach acid levels, reduce or avoid coffee intake, limit acidic food consumption, drink lemon water first thing in the morning and make sure to chew your food properly.
If your digestive function is weak, look to bitter foods and carminative herbs for support – lemon balm, dandelion, burdock, ginger, peppermint and cardamom. Taking medications (prescription or over-the-counter) to combat indigestion, acid and constipation often only makes matters worse, leading to malabsorption and nutrient deficiencies.
SUPPORT ELIMINATION by making sure you’re having a proper bowel movement at least once a day. This is imperative when it comes to feeling and looking your very best. Healthy people defecate one to three times per day. Anything less is considered constipation.
To ensure you’re properly eliminating each day, make sure you stay hydrated, incorporate plenty of fiber and healthy fats into your daily diet and try to include bitter greens with most meals. Supplementing with digestive enzymes and bitters before meals can also be beneficial. Adding in fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, and natto will really help! Rotate these from week to week.
If you’re still backed up, try one of the following or a combination within the course of a week to support elimination: consume raw vegetable juice, lemon water, magnesium, triphala or take digestive bitters at the start of each meal. Incorporating high-fiber foods, like fresh ground flax seeds and chia seeds, is an excellent way to get your bowels moving.
SUPPORT THE LIVER and its detoxification pathways by eating less, drinking plenty of water, drinking lemon water, sipping herbal infusions daily, getting regular exercise and removing any excesses from your diet or lifestyle (such as foods, stress, etc.). Foods such as dark leafy greens, beets, spirulina, chlorella, kelp, citrus, broccoli, cabbage, sprouted lentils/mung bean, dandelion greens, apple cider vinegar, celery and oats will all help to support and nourish the liver. Potassium-rich foods like sweet potatoes, bananas, beet greens and spinach all help to cleanse and clear the liver.