why we should all be afraid of AGE-ing

Okay, I read a lot of health and beauty magazines. Self, Women’s Health, Fitness, Marie Claire, InStyle (of which I still haven’t committed to just buying a subscription, even though I’m obsessed with it)…the list goes on and on.

Anyway, there happens to be a ton of subject overlap in these magazines, are you shocked?! One topic that is mentioned a ton lately is the aging process, specifically advanced glycation end products, or AGEs…no pun intended with that acronym.

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source: Skin Care by Louisa

AGEs are destructive compounds that cause protein fibers in the body to stiffen up and freak out. Sugar and processed foods unfortunately help create these beasts. As Women’s Health¬†explains:

First, in a desperate move to save themselves, these defective proteins [AGEs] bind to immune cells, causing them to become inflamed–and inflammation is a primary cause of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and heart disease. Making matters worse, AGEs also cause the formation of equally unstable free radicals, the destructive molecules that travel through your body damaging cells. This can lead to other serious health problems, such as cancer, and trigger signs of aging such as crow’s feet and those ‘Where the hell did I put my keys?’ moments.

What’s interesting is that these impacted proteins are the same ones that keep your skin looking young–collagen and elastin, to be exact. When sugars or processed foods step in and meet up with these proteins, they start breaking down, resulting in that saggy, wrinkly, dull appearance. Apparently this process also makes your skin more vulnerable to the environmental monsters like UV rays, cigarette smoke, etc. So aging plus being more susceptible to the crap that’s out there? Uh oh.

And even more great news: this whole situation usually starts showing the damage around 30-35 years old, when all those earlier lifestyle decisions start smudging all over your face.

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photo: iStock.com/zymotik

So while this is an inevitable process that happens to everyone, minimizing the added sugars in your diet can really help. It makes sense–don’t you think your skin would look better over time if you avoided the donuts, sodas, cakes, Sour Patch Kids (the best), ice creams, etc.?

Bonus fact: green tea, whether ingested or in your face cream, can help block the AGE-ing process.

Anyway, if you’re concerned about your aging body, remember AGEs when considering your diet today. Can you swap a candy bar for an apple? Think healthy thoughts!

sources: Women’s Health Magazine Elle Magazine

photo credit: Skin Care by Louisa iStock.com