20 secrets to staying young

Looking fabulous in your forties is not impossible all you need to do is stay healthy and fit by following these simple tips regularly:

1. Drink a plenty. Water hydrates your skin, improves its elasticity,hides ugly wrinkles and keeps it glowing. Enough reason to drink eight to ten glasses per day. And in case youre wondering,tea, coffee, colas, and alcohol are not adequate substitutes.

2. Eat natural. Fruits, nuts, and vegetables are rich in antioxidants.These chemical compounds are your natural defense against the free radicals that wear down your bodys cells and accelerate aging.Carotenoids (found in apricots, carrots, mangoes, papayas, sweet potatoes, spinach, and broccoli) vitamin C (found in amla, oranges, cantaloupes, grapefruit, guavas, litchis, strawberries, tomatoes, and cabbage) and vitamin E (found in almonds, avocados, and kiwi) neutralize toxins, fight infections, and keep you fighting fit.

3. Switch to green tea. Antioxidants are not restricted to fruits and veggies. The polyphenol ECGC, or epigallocatechin gallate, is a super antioxidant that is abundant in green tea. It rejuvenates dying skin cells, heals scrapes and bruises, removes blemishes, and protects against damage from sunlight.

4. Choose healthy oils. While fighting the flab, dont make the mistake of going off all fat. Monounsaturated fat in oils such as olive, canola, and flax seed, can actually help you stay lean and fit. Whats more, these oils help you absorb fat soluble carotenoids and vitamins that have an anti-aging effect on your skin.

5. Eat enough protein. Protein contains amino acids that are essential to build and repair your body cells. Eating an adequate amount of protein (about 120 gm daily) supports the growth of healthy skin, hair, and nails.

6. Shoot the sugar. Its official now, sugary foods are bad for your looks. This is because a rapid rise in blood sugar causes sugar molecules to bind themselves to the collagen, a kind of protein, in your skin. This process, known as glycation, makes skin hard and rigid, causing sagging and wrinkling. Pass those gulab jamuns on.

7. Prevent sunburn. Get it right, sunlight is actually good for you. It provides vitamin D, helps absorb calcium and phosphorus, bolsters immunity, and relieves skin trouble. Its the extended exposure, especially to the overhead afternoon sun, that is harmful. This is because UV rays in sunlight break down collagen in the skin, making it rough and leathery, and causing wrinkles and premature aging. It also increases the risk of skin cancer. Protect skin against direct sunlight by covering all exposed areas or using a good sunscreen.

8. Use soap safely. Buy soap to match your skin type, such as dry, oily, normal or sensitive. Avoid soaps with high pH or acid content, as these can harm your skin. Also, herbal soaps are a gentler alternative to those containing chemicals. As a rule, use minimal soap to preserve the natural oils in your skin.

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Image: Flickr/creativecommons Luigi Morante