Several components included in living – and maintaining – a healthy life can help thwart the aging process. Think exercise for the body and mind, and eating a healthy diet that includes proper hydration too.
Maybe you have a healthy diet down, but do you take water for granted? It’s equally important in your diet to maintain good health, and it can also play a part in the anti-aging process. Good news, right?
SheKnows had the opportunity to check in with Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA, RD, CDN. Taub-Dix is an award-winning dietitian, media personality and author of Read it Before You Eat It. She understands the importance of proper hydration, and has recently teamed with Nestlé Pure Life and its Hydration Movement to encourage Americans to focus on hydration by swapping one sugary drink a day for water.
SheKnows: Do you think people spend more time focusing on how to correct anti-aging issues like wrinkles, skin damage and their health in general than they do preventing them?
Bonnie Taub-Dix: People spend hundreds of dollars on anti-aging creams and potions that go outside of their bodies, but they don’t realize how the skin can be influenced by the foods and beverages we put inside our bodies.
Start early by paying attention to your diet needs so that we can prevent problems as opposed to trying to correct them.
Learn about a holistic, anti-aging approach >>
SheKnows: Are there shortcuts to anti-aging (like creams, pills, etc.)?
Taub-Dix: Ah, don’t we all want shortcuts to good health? There are products on the market promising to control bags and sags all over the body, but what you put in is what you’re going to get out. A diet that has plenty of water and watery foods, like colorful fruits and veggies, will work wonders for healthy skin and potentially add years to your life.
SheKnows: How can people be more proactive in combatting the effects of aging?
Taub-Dix: Don’t underestimate the power that sleep, exercise and a nutrient-rich diet have on longevity and the way you look. These healthy habits are not difficult to follow if you make them habits instead of chores. It’s also more likely that we surround ourselves with people who are like us, so choose your friends wisely — they may determine what your habits will be like.
It’s also essential that you protect yourself with sunscreen every day. Sun damage is a direct route to looking older and more wrinkled. Eating well and keeping hydrated will help keep your eyes and skin clear. It might also be best to reduce alcohol intake. Smoking is another factor in aging.
Find out if you’re drinking enough water >>
SheKnows: What types of foods are the best to keep us healthy on the inside and out?
Taub-Dix: What you consume on a daily basis has a major impact on how well your skin regenerates itself. Foods that are low in nutrients, such as refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats, don’t have what your body needs to develop and maintain a healthy glow.
Choose foods that are close as possible to their natural state, prepared with minimal processing. Consider these vitamins and minerals to help with aging skin:
- Beta-carotene: An antioxidant. It helps increases cellular regeneration, and prevents premature aging of the skin. Food sources: carrots, apricots and squash.
- Vitamin C: An antioxidant. It’s needed for production of elastin and collagen. It promotes skin strength and elasticity in blood vessel walls and cell membranes. Food sources: oranges, strawberries, kiwi fruit and peppers.
- Vitamin E: An antioxidant. It helps maintain all tissues and is believed to slow the aging of cells; it may help prevent scar formation. Food sources: cold-pressed vegetable oils, raw nuts and seeds.
- Selenium: An antioxidant. It protects against UV-induced cell damage and helps preserve skin elasticity. Food sources: tuna, garlic, onions and broccoli
- Zinc: An antioxidant. It’s essential for normal cell growth and repair. Food sources: whole grains, most seafood and onions.
- Essential fatty acids: They help to maintain proper function of all tissues and tissue repair, especially the skin. Food sources: Fatty fish (salmon), primrose oil, flaxseed oil and olive oil.
Other important nutrients include fiber-rich foods like whole grains. Be sure to drink plenty of water when consuming fiber to help digested nutrients move through and out of your system. Fiber alone could end up of making you feel constipated and bloated.
Maintaining a healthy weight is also crucial for living a long healthy life. Consume portions in moderation. Your body can only process so many nutrients at once. When you eat your meals, try to incorporate foods that are going to offer you a greater nutritional value in each bite and try to cut back on those that increase your risk of disease (sugars, solid fats, sodium). Eating healthfully will not only help you to look wonderful, but you’ll also feel great too.
Learn about foods that brighten your skin >>
SheKnows: We know that drinking water is important for so many reasons. How do you encourage people to drink more water?
Taub-Dix: I tell my clients to try to drink water at room temperature. There’s a tendency to drink more when it’s not too hot or too cold. Adding a splash of 100 percent fruit juice or a few mint leaves can jazz up your water. During the warm months, I like to keep a pitcher of water in the fridge with fruit cut up in it.
Another simple and actionable way to help train yourself to hydrate healthfully is by making a swap and switch. For extra motivation, join the Nestle Pure Life Hydration Movement and pledge to swap one sugared beverage a day for water.
SheKnows: Are water-based beverages like iced tea or lemonade OK to work into your diet as a substitution for water? What about sparkling water? Does that count as plain water?
Bonnie Taub-Dix: A bottle of iced tea is not equivalent to a bottle of water. Caffeine acts as a diuretic, causing you to actually lose water. The same applies to coffee and alcohol. For each cup of a caffeinated beverage, you should drink a cup of water.
The calories in sweetened lemonade could add up quickly. Lemonade has somewhat of a health halo as compared to soda, yet can be equivalent in calories. Swapping water for one sugared beverage a day is a great way to ensure you’re hydrating healthfully.
Sparkling water is equivalent to drinking still water (unless you have a digestive problem that is complicated by drinking carbonated beverages).
Nestle Pure Life suggests having “8 before 8” — 8 ounces of water before 8 a.m. so that you start your day with a beverage your body can’t live without!
The aging process won’t stop, but you can help slow it down!