If you have been looking into anti-aging remedies, you have probably come across a lot of topical products, some expensive, and some you can make at home.
There are a lot of things purported to help you age gracefully, but a lot of it really comes down to reducing chronic inflammation.
Inflammation makes you age faster!
Inflammation has a lot to do with what you’re putting IN your body rather than ON it. I will mention that using toxic products on your skin will indeed increase chronic inflammation, but for the purpose of this article we will focus on what you can do internally.
We’ll cover two main areas you can take in your own hands and implement to keep your body healthy as you age: collagen and micronutrients that reduce inflammation. This blog post will cover both areas of reducing inflammation to slow negative effects of aging.
First, let’s understand how inflammation affects the way our bodies age.
The Relationship Between Aging and Inflammation
Aging is a complex process that results from a combination of environmental, genetic, and epigenetic factors. A chronic pro-inflammatory status is a pervasive feature of aging. (Source)
This chronic, low-grade inflammation existing without an acute infection causing it has been dubbed “inflammaging”—a relationship name for our least favorite couple: inflammation and aging.
While the exact causal relationship of an increase in inflammation and aging is yet to be determined, a relationship as been observed. As we age, inflammation increases, and as inflammation increases, the faster we age.
One theory is that as we become more susceptible to oxidative stress—an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants that results in damage to cells—as we age, gene regulation is impaired.
This causes several key inflammatory transcription factors important in cell survival to become over-activated, leading to a proinflammatory state. (Source)
Risks of Inflammaging
This is more serious than a few more lines on your face than you’d prefer.
One study notes that there is strong evidence that the development of age-related multifactorial conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, type II diabetes, and osteoporosis is associated with chronic low-grade inflammation.
This is exactly why it is so crucial to address the source of disease—inflammation—as part of a treatment plan, rather than just the disease itself.
NOTE: If you’ve been diagnosed with any of the above and are interested in digging to the root cause, please reach out to me here.
In the meantime, let’s look at the ways you can slow down this proinflammatory state as you age.
Part One: Collagen
The first main area of anti-aging we’ll talk about is helping your body to produce more collagen.
Collagen is an essential protein found naturally in the human body. It is found in our skin, bones, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons.
It is responsible for keeping the skin elastic, replacing dead skin cells, as well as making your hair and nails shiny and strong.
Importantly, it has been shown to work to fight inflammation.
For example, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, clinical study showed the effectiveness of collagen peptide on osteoarthritis—an inflammatory condition.
This may be due to glycine’s, the main amino acid in collagen, ability to act on inflammatory cells. Among other things, glycine suppresses the formation of free radicals and inflammatory cytokines.
Boosting Collagen Production
There are a few ways you can try to combat collagen loss: topical creams, oral supplementation along with consuming collagen boosting foods.
Targeting the problem from the inside has been proven to be most effective.
Natural “collagen boosters” have the ability to encourage the cells in your body to make more collagen. These plant-based foods contain the building blocks for collagen such as amino acids and vitamin C.
A few of these collagen boosters include blueberries, dark leafy greens (such as spinach and kale), garlic, eggs, mango, carrots, and white tea. Vitamin C is also necessary to enhance collagen production. You can take a vitamin C supplements or consume foods rich in vitamin C, such as broccoli and citrus fruit.
Taking Collagen Supplements
Collagen supplements are easily accessible, and it is never too early to begin taking them!
The collagen in these supplements is solely derived from animals. Specifically, the skin, bone, and cartilage of cows, chickens, and fish. If you prefer a more vegan-friendly route, you can consume the foods listed above that naturally boost collagen production.
Part Two: Controlling Inflammation with Diet
Here we are going to talk about changing your diet to add healthy fats and other important nutrients for reducing inflammation.
Don’t Be Afraid of Healthy Fats in Your Diet
If you think back to the 80’s, you might still associate fats with being bad for your body.
But there are several types of fats, and some varieties help to fight the inflammation that leads to aging. If you want to maintain a youthful appearance, healthy brain, and reduce risk of age-related disease, then don’t be afraid to incorporate these foods full of healthy fats into your diet.
You may have heard that eggs are bad for your health, but eggs contain polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that can maintain the levels of your cholesterol to prevent cardiovascular disease. Dietitians recommend eating as many as three eggs each day!
If you want to reduce the inflammation in your arthritic joints, then begin to consume fatty fish at least three times a week. Fatty fish such as mackerel and salmon have omega-3 fatty acids that help to reduce pain and inflammation in the body’s cartilage, bones and muscles.
While nuts are high in calories, these foods also contain nutritious fats that help to eliminate inflammation. Nuts contain omega-3 fatty acids that can reduce the inflammation in your cardiovascular system and your joints.
Olive oil is a type of plant-sourced oil that you can use for cooking or pour on salads and other dishes. By consuming olive oil, you can reduce the inflammation that leads to arthritic pain or cardiovascular disease.
If you want to reduce the inflammation in your body’s lymph glands and bloodstream, then sprinkle chia seeds or flaxseeds on your salads or side dishes. Both of these types of seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory properties.
Avocados contain antioxidants to eliminate dangerous free radicals from your body’s cells and unsaturated fat that helps to reduce your bloodstream’s cholesterol levels. Did you know that avocado is actually a large berry? You can scoop out the flesh of an avocado to eat it as a snack, or you can add avocado slices to sandwiches and salads.
Spinach is a dark leafy green vegetable that contains carotenoids that help to eliminate cancer cells. This vegetable also contains high levels of vitamin K that can reduce the inflammation in your bloodstream.
If you incorporate these foods into your diet and start paying attention to your collagen consumption, you’ll be on the right track to age healthfully.