When we’re kids, all we want to do is grow up. But when we’re all grown up, we want to do everything we can to stop aging. Alas, there is no magic training regimen or diet that will keep the hands of time from ticking forward. But there are ways of making sure they don’t tick any faster.
We tend to think of aging superficially – wrinkles, sagging skin, maybe a slower metabolism that makes it harder to keep the weight off. But there’s so much more happening biologically. Our DNA gets damaged. Our organs don’t function as efficiently. Our body doesn’t repair itself like it used to. This all adds up to what we call the “aging” process – it’s our body naturally breaking down. But there are activities or lifestyles that can speed up that degradation. Smoking, excessive drinking, spending too much time unprotected in the sun, maintaining a high fat/salt/sugar diet and a constant sedentary life – we all know these age/kill us faster.
But let’s focus on the food element to this. The human body is a fine-tuned machine that, if you put the wrong fuel into it, you’re going to cause damage. There are some foods that you may not know accelerate aging (either that they do or how they do). Consider cutting back on the following foods and you may help your body stay healthier, longer.
Number 1: Wheat
No, this isn’t about gluten. This is about a specific type of carbohydrate called Amylopectin-A. Amylopectin is one of the two components in starch – type A is particular to cereals. Enzymes in the human body break down Amylopectins into glucose, which raises your Glycemic Index. But they break down type A the most (compared to types B and C), so consuming wheat (and other cereal) products will give you a higher blood sugar compared to consuming other types of starches. If that glucose reacts with the proteins in your body without an enzyme (a process called “glycation”) it makes your cells stiffer, less pliable, and more subject to damage and premature aging. The products of glycation can also contribute to degenerative diseases like diabetes or atherosclerosis.
Number 2: Corn products
It’s more than just the dreaded High Fructose Corn Syrup – corn starches also increase those “Advanced Glycation End Products” wheat does (and some studies show the fructose in HFCS produces 10x as much as glucose), but they can also introduce too much Omega-6 fatty acids into your system. Your body does need some Omega-6, specifically to promote growth and to prevent cell damage and promote cell repair when your body is responding to some sort of toxin or pathogen. But too much isn’t better for you. High consumption of Omega-6’s while exposing the body to inflammatory toxins continuously promotes the inflammatory response actually prevents your cells from repairing themselves.
Also, it has been suggested that an improper balance of Omega-6 to Omega-3 in your diet (research says the typical Western diet is a ratio of 15 or 16 to 1, when we should ideally be consuming 4 to 1 or lower) can contribute to increased chances of developing diseases.
Number 3: “Vegetable” oils
A byproduct of oils that have been highly processed – soybean, canola, cottonseed, corn, and generic labeled “vegetable” – is that through the refining process they have been exposed to more oxidation. When they interact with your body they produce more inflammatory responses and produce more free radicals which deteriorate your cell membranes. Better alternatives include extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, virgin coconut oil, or even grass-fed butter.
This isn’t to say that you can’t ever eat a bagel or have a soda. Each french fry does not correspond to its own wrinkle on your face. That slice of cake from your coworker’s office birthday party is not permanently removing elasticity from a particular patch of skin. Just be sure to eat balanced meals and have each of these three food groups in moderation, and enjoy the passage of time for what it offers. The opportunity to enjoy life.
By: Pasadena Personal Trainer Ron Le Fitness
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