How to keep age at bay without surgery
It’s exhausting the amount one has to do to look good these days. No longer is it enough to simply eat in moderation, limit your alcohol intake and do a nominal amount of exercise. Your health and beauty are now measured in your enzyme intake, the strength of your hair follicles and the flora varieties in your gut. For the average woman with more to do in a day than enjoy a fat-burning algae bath, the kind of intensive regime most modern diets demand feels both unrealistic and, frankly, terrifying.
But what if you could unveil a more beautiful, radiant version of yourself simply by drinking a mug of hot water with lemon and ginger in the morning? Or get rid of your pesky spider veins by brushing them lightly before bed? A new book by nutritionist to the Hollywood elite Kimberly Snyder claims to do all of this and more.
Radical Beauty, written by Snyder in collaboration with advocate of alternative medicine Deepak Chopra, focuses on the connection between what we put in our bodies and our skin appearance and energy levels. Snyder, who counts actresses such as Eva Longoria and Reese Witherspoon among her clients, says the key to looking and feeling great is finding ways to make small changes to your lifestyle. “It’s not about having or not having the perfect features or being the ideal weight. It’s not about surgery or having the most expensive make-up; it comes from the inside out,” says Snyder.
“You don’t have to drop everything and do a 21-day cleanse or radically change your life. This is about layering in what works for you. It can be something as simple as adding a couple of slices of ginger to your tea in the morning, which can help to balance your energy and improve your immunity, or getting a filter for your phone to eliminate the blue light that stimulates our brains and stops us going into a deeper REM sleep.”
So what simple changes to your everyday life can you make to boost your health and appearance? Here are Snyder’s top tips.
Better quality sleep can make a world of difference
Poor sleep has more of an effect on your appearance than you think. “While you already know that excellent sleep is important, you may still unknowingly employ tactics that keep you from getting your best sleep,” she says. “A recent clinical trial found a direct connection between poor sleep and accelerating ageing, especially of the skin. “Researchers found 60 pre-menopausal women between the ages of 30 and 49 who fell into either a ‘poor’ or ‘quality’ sleep group, based on sleep length and overall excellence. They discovered that the poor sleepers showed twice as many signs of ageing as those in the quality sleep group.”
Snyder’s advice is to focus on improving the quality of your sleep rather than attempting to get more hours of shut-eye if that is not a realistic goal. She suggests eating dinner earlier (sweet potatoes, bananas and unrefined carbs such as brown rice are sleep-promoting foods, she says), avoiding looking at your phone, laptop or tablet in the hour before you go to sleep, and switching your phone to flight mode while you sleep so you don’t get interrupted.
Rethink your ‘ageing’ diet
Snyder explains how our diets can age us just as much as smoking or too much exposure to sunlight. “Just as chronic diseases aren’t natural, neither is premature, accelerated ageing in the many forms it takes, such as dull skin, cloudy eyes, or chronic fatigue.
Green smoothie: aim for 70 per cent greens and 30 per cent fruit. Photo: iStock
“Of course, skin may naturally wrinkle, but this does not have to happen prematurely. While genes can play a role, to a great extent, the rate at which you age can be determined by your lifestyle.”
Foods that boost circulation are crucial for maintaining healthy, smooth skin. Citrus fruits, warming spices and dark chocolate all have circulation-boosting properties. “But the number one thing that I tell my older clients to incorporate into their diets is a daily smoothie made of 70 per cent greens and 30 per cent fruit with lots of lemon juice,” says Snyder. “It’s like eating seven salads, but the blending is almost like a predigestion for your body, so it doesn’t have to work so hard to absorb all the antioxidants and minerals. And the vitamin C in the lemon juice helps you absorb all the plant-based iron in the greens.”
Swap olive oil for coconut oil
It might sound more like something you would put on your skin than in a casserole, but coconut oil is flavourless when heated and is a much healthier fat than vegetable or olive oil, according to Snyder.
“It’s important to pay attention to what oil you’re using. By far the best beauty oil is coconut oil. It is metabolised easily, it burns up as energy, it supports your thyroid and your metabolism. A lot of people use vegetable oil, which is extremely ageing. It becomes rancid very quickly. If you’re having that type of oil every day, your skin will age faster because it creates free radicals in your skin which age it.”
Eliminate spider veins with a body brush
You can blame spider veins and varicose veins on your genes as they are largely linked to heredity, but Snyder claims there are things you can do to alleviate and repair them. She says spider veins can become more pronounced if one is sedentary or has reduced circulation, and can be aggravated by hormonal stimulants, such as hormone replacement therapy or birth control.
She advocates massaging the areas behind the broken veins in a circular motion to help improve circulation, as well as dry skin brushing with a body brush to help stimulate the growth and repair of the tissues and underlying veins. “Vitamins A, B complex, C, D and E are all great nutrients to help with tissue repair, optimal circulation and strong veins,” she says. “Great sources include carrots, nutritional yeast, mushrooms, almonds, lemons and peppers.”
Best and worst anti-ageing foods
- Sesame seeds and tahini.
- Brussels sprouts.
- Dark, leafy greens such as spinach.
- Sunflower, soya and other generic vegetable oils.
- Snacks and fried foods cooked in the above oils.
The Telegraph, London
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