Sweet Sugar, Sagging Skin.
Most women dreamt of having flawless, healthy, youthful-looking skin. Well, that is one of my dreams as well. As we grow older, our bodies begin to deteriorate. One of the most visible signs of ageing is easily seen on our skin. Our beautiful skin will lose elasticity and have fine lines that eventually turn to wrinkles.
Most people will up their skincare game to reverse this. Some are also willing to go under the knife to get back that youthful look. But those are costly. I might also do the same if my skin starts to sag now, so I began to read about skin ageing. I read about many anti-ageing products, but I realize many did not prevent this from happening. So how can we prevent skin ageing? There are a lot of ways to prevent ageing. From my reading, I think the easiest way is by simply cutting off sugar. Why sugar? Sugar causes insulin levels to spike, which Dr Nicolas Perricone describes as "a burst of inflammation throughout the body". And inflammation is not suitable for our body. Inflammation produces enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, resulting in sagging skin and wrinkles. Digested sugar permanently attaches to the collagen in your skin through a process known as glycation.
Glycation is a process that makes it harder for your skin to maintain its youthful glow and repair itself from damage. It occurs when two collagen fibres cross-link, which reduces the elasticity of your skin's supporting network. Glycation contributes to a poor complexion, wrinkles and other signs of ageing. The glycation process speeds up when you eat sugar. Sugar hook up with the amino acids in collagen and elastin. When that happens, your skin becomes more susceptible to wrinkles and dullness. The more sugar you eat, the more glycation occurs.
That sounds scary enough for me. I am a South-East Asian, which means I eat rice every day. Yes, rice is a carbohydrate source and eventually turns into sugar. And I eat rice at least once a day. And my sugar intake is not limited only to rice; I also have noodles, roti prata, teh tarik, to name a few, regularly. Now that's worrying. How can I prevent my skin from sagging when I eat a lot of sugar daily? The American Academy of Dermatology emphasizes that a diet high in sugar can accelerate ageing. However, quitting sugar may not reverse signs of ageing that have already manifested; it can slow their progression. Okay, this statement made a bit of sense, right?
What we can do is by cutting down our sugar intake. I know this sound pretty hard because almost everything we eat contains sugar. Maybe we can start by reducing food with high added sugar content first and progress from that. Remember, start small and finish big. Here is my sharing of what we can reduce (as much as possible) from the things we usually have in our kitchens. First is the barbecue (BBQ) sauce. It can make a tasty marinade or dip. However, two tablespoons (around 28 grams) of sauce can contain about 9 grams of sugar. We can also reduce ketchup and chilli sauce. My typical South East Asian self eats almost everything with tomato and chilli sauce. Be mindful of the portion size, as one tablespoon of ketchup contains about one teaspoon of sugar. We can also check if our fruit juice is labelled 100% fruit juice.
The sugar-sweetened versions can come with hefty sugar and very little fibre. For gym junkies or the sportsperson, sports drinks can often be mistaken as a healthy choice. However, sports drinks are designed to hydrate and fuel trained athletes during prolonged, intense periods of exercise. Unless you're a marathon runner or elite athlete, you should probably stick to water while exercising. It's by far the best choice for most of us. These are a few that I can explain at the moment. There is a lot more daily food containing added sugar we can reduce, like breakfast cereals.
There is a lot of food that can help us maintain the healthy, youthful-looking skin we can consume. Researchers have even concluded that eating fruits and veggies is the safest and most beneficial way to combat dull complexions and fine lines. Red bell peppers are easy to find in markets and stores. They are loaded in antioxidants called carotenoids and have a variety of anti-inflammatory properties that may help protect our skin. I love eating bell peppers raw because it's delicious. Papaya is rich in a variety of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that may help to improve skin elasticity and minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Antioxidants in papaya help fight free radical damage and delay signs of ageing. Papaya also contains an enzyme called papain, which provides additional anti-ageing benefits by working as one of nature's best anti-inflammatory agents. It's also found in many exfoliating products. Broccoli is an anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing vegetable packed with vitamin C, K, a variety of antioxidants and a lot more. Our body needs vitamin C to produce collagen, the main protein in the skin that gives it strength and elasticity. A diet high in vitamin C might slow the ageing process and improve the appearance of our complexion, according to MayoClinic.com. We can choose fruits and vegetables that are deep in colour. The rich shades are usually a sign of radical fighting abilities to keep our skin healthy and vibrant. In short, put as many colourful fruits and veggies on our plate as possible.
In short, our food plays a vital role in how we look. Apart from the skincare we use, we must change the way we eat and our lifestyle in terms of youthful skin. Too much sugar is a definite No! Eat healthily and live happily. We will feel good and look better.