If you think your diet doesn't affect your skin, think again. Glycation and skin aging are directly linked.
What is glycation?
When you eat, the body processes carbohydrates into sugars such as glucose and fructose. The body uses these sugars as energy for everything you do. However, as we age, these sugars unusually react with fats and proteins. They produce dangerous molecules called advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs). This process is known as glycation.
Higher AGE levels cause faster aging, as shown by scientific studies on diabetics. The higher the blood sugar levels, the more AGEs. People with diabetes find it particularly challenging to control their blood sugar. As a result, they usually age faster than those with low blood sugar.
A study in 2003 noted that AGEs formed "crosslinks" between proteins. This means that their structure and function change so much, resulting in nerve pain, retinopathy, atherosclerosis, and other conditions.
The British Journal of Dermatology reported in 2001 that after the age of 35, glycation in the skin increases exponentially. When the skin is exposed to UV rays, glycation accelerates, further aging the skin.
A 2011 study yielded similar results. Researchers reported that exposure to UV rays drastically intensifies the accumulation of AGEs.
Other effects of AGE formation include:
- Age spots
- Uneven skin tone
- Sagging and bagging
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Hardness of skin
- Dull skin
- Degradation of collagen
How to delay the aging process
What can we do to reduce AGE levels?
Here are our tips to help you keep your skin glowing and looking smooth as you age.
1. CONTROL BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS
Sudden increases in blood sugar can negatively affect the condition of your skin. Instead, try to maintain a constant level. Eat low-glycemic foods every three to four hours.
2. LESS SUGARY ITEMS
Choose fruits or unsweetened yogurt instead of snacks laced with artificial sugar. Less unhealthy sugar= less new wrinkles.
3. LOW-GLYCEMIC FOODS
It's not just junk food that increases blood sugar. Many foods like white bread, white potatoes, white rice, and others digest quickly in the body, spiking blood glucose levels. These foods rate high on the glycemic index. Choose foods such as yogurt, lean meats, vegetables, eggs, nuts and seeds, and tofu. These take more time to break down, thus stabilizing blood sugar levels.
4. WATCH THE BARBEQUE
Barbequing, searing, and broiling food can create AGEs in the food before you consume it! When roasting meat, don't let it get blackened. If you eat such meat, you're adding to the AGEs already in the body. Cook your meats low and slow.
5. SUN PROTECTION
Always protect your skin from the sun using zinc oxide sunscreen. UV exposure increases the formation of AGEs. Apply sunscreen to legs, hands, neck, and arms, too.
6. MAINTAIN HEALTHY WEIGHT
Research shows that excessive weight can proliferate the formation of AGEs.
Muscles run on glucose, so the more muscle you have, the more glucose your body will burn. Losing muscle comes naturally with age. To counteract this effect, do regular weight training.
8. WATCH THE ALCOHOL INTAKE
Alcohol enhances glycation stress, according to research.
9. INCREASE YOUR ANTIOXIDANT INTAKE
You can do this by consuming more fruits, veggies, dark chocolate, and tea. They have potent antioxidants that protect cells from glycation.
10. VITAMIN B SUPPLEMENTS
Studies show that vitamins B1 and B6 aid in hindering the formation of AGEs.
The Sole Toscana Beauty Team