Last month we discussed why your appearance reflects your health and answered several of your most common and repeated questions about looking young. This month, we’ll respond to a few more.
To refresh your memory if you read last issue’s column, or to bring you up to speed if you missed it: Why looks?
Because beauty is health. It really isn’t just about looking good. Outer beauty serves as a proxy indicator of how healthy you are; it’s the message you send to others about your well-being and fitness. For centuries we have used looks as the best way to determine (and in a tenth of a second, mind you) the health and strength of a potential partner.
So let’s answer a few more repeated questions SUCCESS readers sent in and give you some tips to stay attractive for the next 40 years. (Submit your own questions for Drs. Oz and Roizen to [email protected]!)
Q: What are some of the best foods and nutrients for staying youthful looking?
A: Dietary vitamin C intake decreases wrinkling, so stock up on papaya, kiwi and broccoli. Oysters are high in zinc, a trace mineral that may boost your skin’s collagen production and help keep your skin plump and firm. Swiss chard is loaded with important nutrients for your hair, skin and nails, including biotin and vitamins A, K and C.
Skin naturally gets drier as you age, so eat plenty of foods with omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids as well as monounsaturated fats. Fish, avocados, olives, walnuts and flaxseed are great options.
Q: What are some of the best foods and nutrients for feeling youthful?
A: The way you feel is absolutely linked to the food you eat, so it’s good to load up on energizing, mood-boosting foods that also taste great.
Dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa can lower stress levels.
Omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseed, walnuts and fish help curb depression, and the same is true for lentils, which are high in folate.
Lean chicken and turkey breast boost dopamine and norepinephrine, which help elevate mood and make you feel more alert.
Finally, what you don’t eat is just as important. Steer clear of saturated fats, added sugars and syrups, and processed breads and grains that make you feel great for a minute but then cause you and your blood sugar levels to crash.
Q: It seems to take me longer to lose weight than it used to. Is there anything I can do to keep my metabolism youthful?
A: Muscle mass is very important for keeping your metabolism charged, but your body will naturally lose muscle mass as you age. Counteract it by adding easy strength-training moves into your daily routine. Push-ups, calf-raises (rising up and down on tip-toes) and squats can help you build lean muscle mass and boost your metabolism. Hanging out on the treadmill might burn a few calories, but if you want to keep your metabolism charged, nothing equals 20 minutes of resistance exercises done three times a week.
Q: My hair seems to be thinner and duller lately. Is this just a part of aging?
A: Very likely, as your age has a lot to do with this issue. Hair naturally becomes finer and drier as you age. One way to help is to pack your diet with foods that moisturize you from the inside out, such as avocado, nuts, omega-3 fish oil and soybeans. Biotin, found in Swiss chard and eggs—also available as a supplement—can help keep your hair strong.
Do you have dark hair that’s going grey? Well, besides dying your hair, consider sprinkling some black sesame seeds on your salad or veggies. Anecdotal reports show these little seeds help preserve dark hair color, and we know several Chinese men (where this therapy took root) who swear by it.
For men and now women, there are over-the-counter medications that slow balding. If you want to treat male-pattern baldness, you can try the medications minoxidil (Rogaine) or finasteride (Propecia). The earlier this drug is used after noticing hair loss, the more effective it will be. Interestingly, minoxidil was originally used to treat blood pressure, but researchers noted that it had a strange side effect: It grew hair on the backs of hands, cheeks and fingers, and that’s how it was developed as a hair-loss treatment. It works for women, too.
When it comes to other products that claim to grow hair, you should be wary of a wallet transplant (yours to theirs). No potions or lotions other than minoxidil and finasteride have been shown to predictably increase hair growth or prevent its destruction.