One of the amazing things about the human body is that it uses the outside to clue us in on what’s going on inside. That gives us a chance to address health concerns before they become serious in many cases, and even reverse the process. Premature wrinkles, skin tone, the condition of your hair, and the way you look and move overall can indicate whether your biological age is higher than your chronological age.
I always, always stress to not focus on numbers- how “old” you are as far as chronological age, how much you weigh on a scale and simply how many calories you ingest. Chronological age is just a number and simply relates to the year you were born, but your biological age refers to how well your body is functioning and can be much higher or lower than your actual age. I’m sure you’ve met “old” young people, and very young older people! I see it all the time.
Here are some tangible signs of aging, and what to do about it:
Red eyes can come from more than just seasonal allergies or staring at the computer screen for too long. Showing up chronically, they could be a sign of Chronic inflammation related to arthritis, a disease often associated with an aging body.
How to stop it: An alkaline diet rich in antioxidants can reduce inflammation, cut down on joint pain and stiffness, and fight aging. When you follow The Beauty Detox plan, you eat a diet of about 80 percent alkaline-forming foods and 20 percent acid-forming foods. That means 80 percent of your diet should be Beauty Fruits, Greens, and Vegetables, while the other 20 percent is for Beauty Protein, Carbohydrates, Starches, and Fats. Very alkaline foods include ripe fruits, sprouts, greens, and other non-starchy vegetables. When you trade in the fast foods and refined sugars for whole, real foods, you may begin to see (and feel) less evidence of chronic inflammation.
Some of the best inflammation-fighting foods are:
- Sweet potatoes
- Walnuts (try my Sweet Walnut Chutney recipe)
Droopy Eyelids or Fatty Deposits Around the Eyes
The eyes aren’t only the windows to your soul, but a peek at the overall health of your body, and that includes the area around your eyes. If your eyelids are drooping, it could be any number of things, including fatigue, allergies, thyroid dysfunction, or fluid retention. In most cases, droopy lids are connected to oxidative stress, which allows free radicals to accumulate and cause cell damage in your body. The good news is that oxidative stress is greatly attributed to eating a poor diet full of processed foods. So stop it! Put down that potato chip and pick up some blueberries (yummy!) or crunchy carrots and jicama to eat with hummus. Free radicals can also come from the environment in the air or water, but a diet high in antioxidants can negate their effects.
How to stop it: Switching to a diet with whole, rather than processed, foods will help. Celery ( an ingredient in the GGS!), can help the skin around the eyes look healthier and reduce puffiness because of a compound inside called polyacetylene, an anti-inflammatory. It also aids your liver and kidneys in getting rid of toxins in the body.
There’s another health perk to noticing and reversing the aging around the eyes, too. A study completed over the course of 35 years by Danish scientists and shared with the American Heart Association in Los Angeles showed that fatty deposits around your eyes could indicate heart disease. While the scientists don’t claim that there’s a direct cause-and-effect link between the two, the study does suggest that premature aging on the outside is indicative of heart trouble on the inside. By noticing that something’s not quite right around your eyes, you may be able to stop heart disease from progressing with a change in diet. Though no one likes looking older than they are, these signs are also wake-up calls to start taking good care of yourself and nourishing yourself with the healing foods you deserve.
Wrinkles and Sagging Skin
Wrinkles and sagging skin may feel like an inevitable part of aging, but some people see wrinkles and fine lines as early as their 20s. There are creams, makeup products, and procedures to minimize their visibility when we attack them from the outside, but the ability to mask them doesn’t mean you can ignore them. If your skin is wrinkling and sagging too early, it’s a sign that you may be able to make lifestyle changes that will reverse the aging process and lead to a longer, healthier life.
If you aren’t feeding your body Beauty Foods, especially those for beautiful skin, like pears, cabbage, and turmeric, you may be seeing deep nasio-labial lines and wrinkles much earlier than you should. Deep nasio-labial lines could point to a congested digestive tract (which leads to congestion in the body overall), an overloaded liver, or mean you’re not getting enough oxygen ( breathe life in deeply!). Part of the Beauty Detox plan involves cleansing the body and all of its organs—to increase Beauty Energy and vitality.
How to stop it: Adding a few components of the Beauty Detox plan, like water and lemon and the GGS, plus incorporating Beauty Foods for the skin into your diet.
- One of the first steps to cleansing the liver involves drinking hot water with lemon each morning.
- Pears are super high in fiber that helps cleanse the colon while simultaneously delivering Beauty Vitamins , E, B, and A, plus minerals. And (and!) it’s part of the Glowing Green Smoothie, which I also recommend drinking every day.
- Cabbage works to cleanse the blood thanks to the vitamin C and sulfur. Just like pears, cabbage is high in fiber and helps clear out waste, too.
- Turmeric contains the powerful antioxidant, curcumin, which is an anti-inflammatory, and turmeric as a whole improves circulation (which then improves your complexion).
Changes in Skin Tone or Texture
As we age, we typically experience changes in our skin tone and texture. Keeping a close eye on your skin can clue you in to problems inside the body, too. Overly dry, flaky skin that crops up could be a sign that you should check out what’s happening with your thyroid. The thyroid’s ability to function depends on several factors, but a weak thyroid is an indication that your adrenals may not be making some of the hormones you need to stay energized and feel young. Both the thyroid and the adrenals depend on the small and large intestines’ efficient waste removal from the body.
How quickly your body ages all boils down to how clean or toxic it is. Work to consistently clear out the sludge, and you’ll notice that your skin glows and feels softer than it did before.
How to stop it: Give your thyroid and adrenals a break by skipping the soy and caffeine. Soy can depresse your thyroid function and could cause damage to the enzymes that synthesize thyroid hormones. You don’t have to add tofu just for “protein”, as whole plant foods naturally contain it. One dense plant source of protein is millet, which contains manganese, a mineral that helps strengthen your thyroid gland. Manganese may also help you maintain your hair color. Try my Millet “Couscous” Salad.
Drinking coffee to combat that chronic fatigue (mentioned in the next section) over an extended period of time could just lead you to trouble with your renal system in some cases, not to mention the highs and lows experienced when you drink coffee, crash, then drink coffee again only to crash again later, can be pretty stressful. The Glowing Green Smoothie will get your day started with a burst of energy without causing a crash later, and you’ll be giving your body a boost, not taxing your organs.
When you stop relying on caffeine and artificial sugars to power through your day and instead depend on whole foods, your energy level will stay more constant throughout the day and your organs can begin to recover. If you need a boost and you’re about to reach for the coffee (again perhaps), I recommend bee pollen (if you have a pollen or other allergy, or are new to bee pollen, check with your doctor first or try a very small amount at first). Not only do you get a dose of Beauty Minerals, you’ll increase your energy, stamina, and immunity. I recommend this to my chronically fatigued clients and share my Energy in a Spoon recipe in The Beauty Detox Foods. Here’s are other ways to get energy without relying on caffeine.
In addition, some of the best foods for detoxifying the liver and kidneys are:
- Probiotic & Enzyme Salad
You Constantly Feel Stressed Out
This has to do with how you feel more than what you see when you look in the mirror (though stress does show up on your face and in the way you move), but it’s important to remember that all that stress you’re experiencing is aging your body. The telomeres, or outermost parts of chromosomes in your cells, shorten when exposed to stress over time, whether that stress comes from a phobia or long-term emotional stress, like the stress involved when taking care of a sick child.
Stress is linked to chronic fatigue syndrome (which will make you feel much older than you are!), and it can eventually result in adrenal fatigue and heart disease. Your body releases cortisol from the adrenal cortex when you’re stressed, which is good for short-term fight-or-flight situations, but is the pits for daily life. If your job or home life is stressful and you aren’t taking care of yourself in a way that will help you alleviate and manage that stress, cortisol is probably running wild in your blood stream, damaging your circulatory system and contributing to weight gain. You could also be experiencing insomnia, panic attacks, and high blood pressure.
How to stop it: You aren’t doomed to a lifetime of stress even if there are some parts of your life that you can’t change yet and wish you could. Take control of your life with a healthy diet, which is obvious of course but also even recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, getting some exercise (I love yoga, but do what makes you feel great), connecting with other people, and sticking to a routine. Once you’ve started eating better foods and moving around a little, the stress won’t seem as unmanageable. For me, a good shower always helps, and I also really like going for a walk with my ipod (and leaving my cell phone at home for a little while).
Now for the Good News
The good news is this: you are powerful. You have a tremendous amount of control over how quickly your body ages by the lifestyle you lead, and how alive you feel. If you’re noticing signs that your body is aging too fast, you can change your course and stop inflammation in the body. Use the Beauty Detox plan to slow down, or even reverse, aging. Since the real cause of aging is a build-up of “gunk” in the body, cleaning out the internal waste that lingers and slows things down will make you feel lighter and look more radiant.
When you begin to take care of your body, you will not only feel better but you will look better. Isn’t that a nice bonus! Be well, my beloved Beauty Detoxers. :)