Wishing for the fountain of youth? You many not need it. We've rounded up real-women secrets, tried-and-true beauty tips, and the latest research to help you fight aging. By Holly Corbett, REDBOOK.
"Staying young is all about being happy with yourself. I don't mean 'ha-ha' happy, but 'content' happy.' Just enjoy every day, whether it's good or bad, because tomorrow will be better." - Sophie Barone, 81, Syracuse, NY
Eyes on the prize
Protect your eyes, where skin is thinnest, and likely the first spot to show signs of aging. UV rays and free radicals make it worse. "Moisturizers with a chemical sunscreen may irritate this delicate area," says Missy Hughes, spa director at The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in Charleston, South Carolina. Instead, opt for a zinc oxide or a titanium-based cream that provides a physical sunblock without the chemicals.
The children are our future
"Look at yourself from a child's perspective. It's about taking things at face value without preconceived notions. It keeps you grounded in reality rather than stuck in your head and your thoughts." - Heather Parcells, 34, New York, NY
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Sweat it out
Research shows that the most effective form of exercise - and the type that can help keep you younger longer - may be fast, short, and intense types of anaerobic exercise (as contrasted with low-intensity exercise like steady walking or bowling). "The most powerful body-fat-cutting, muscle-toning, anti-aging substance known in science, growth hormone, is naturally produced by the body with this type of exercise," says Greta Blackburn, CPT, fitness expert and founder of FITCAMPS. Whatever your normal exercise routine, add short intervals to fight off aging.
Make a lemon pledge
Skin-cell turnover slows as you age, causing your complexion to look dry or washed out. Combat this with a weekly homemade peel: Apply two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice on your face using a cotton ball, avoiding your eye area. Leave on for about 10 minutes, then rinse with tepid water. The acidity of the lemon sloughs off old skin cells to promote new cell growth, says Matthew Dower, manager at Mirbeau Inn & Spa in Skaneateles, NY.
You say tomato, I say tomato
Get on board with this: Pizza and spaghetti may be the latest wrinkle fighters! Though it sounds too good to be true, researchers discovered that participants who added five tablespoons of tomato paste to their daily diet scored 33 percent more protection against sunburn and higher levels of skin-firming procollagen than those who didn't. "The red pigment in tomatoes known as lypocene is a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from DNA damage caused by sun exposure," says lead researcher Mark Birch-Machin. Cooked and processed tomatoes are more easily absorbed by your body, so try adding some canned tomatoes to your chili or thickening store-bought sauce with tomato paste.
Your hair tends to lose its shine as you age, so once a week after shampooing, mix equal amounts of extra virgin olive oil with your normal conditioner and leave in for five to ten minutes before rinsing. Olive oil's antioxidants, vitamin A, and vitamin E help shield hair from sun damage, says Damian Viera, spa director of The Aman Spa at Amangiri in Canyon Point, UT.
D is for disease-free
Pop vitamin D to stay healthy longer. A growing body of research shows that deficiency of the nutrient, which experts believe that most us have, can trigger a slew of health problems. Though current guidelines call for 600 to 800 IU daily, many researchers now believe we may need up to 4,000 IU. The very latest research supports the case that the "sunshine vitamin" is a powerful health-booster. In fact, people who get enough vitamin D have a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in Diabetes Care. Experts speculate that the nutrient's anti-inflammatory powers might be one way that it offers protection against the disease.
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Go ahead and giggle
"Surround yourself with people who make you laugh and enjoy life!" - Brandy Gilbreath Leach, via Facebook
Keep the grays away
There may be some truth behind the notion that stress can turn your hair gray: Those experiencing chronic or long-term stress, as well as recurring depression, can actually age faster, according to the journal Biological Psychiatry. While short-term stress - such as the kind of heart-racing, sweaty palm anxiety you may experience before giving a big speech - has been linked to health benefits such as boosting immunity, long-term stress has been pegged as a culprit in everything from weight gain, to heart attack, to hair loss.
Take a deep breath
If you can't bust that aging stress, a number of simple lifestyle tricks that can help you slash harmful cortisol levels. For example, earlier research found that subjects who practiced Buddhist meditation significantly decreased both cortisol and blood pressure in a six-week Thai study. Similarly, participants who meditated daily for four months decreased the hormone by an average of 20 percent in a study at Maharishi University, while levels in the non-meditating control group actually rose slightly.
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It's no secret that smoking gives you wrinkles, but it can also do serious damage to your memory - even if you're not puffing, but merely hanging out with smokers. People exposed to secondhand smoke forgot almost 20 percent more than those not exposed to secondhand smoking, according to a new study in the journal Addiction.
"I swear that running and jumping around and singing action songs with my toddler keeps me both young at heart and in looks." - Petrina Tan, via Facebook
Staying young means remaining disease-free, and there may be some potent ways to keep away illness inside your spice cabinet. Curcurmin, the antioxidant ingredient that gives turmeric its yellow color, has already been linked with preventing diabetes, protecting against Alzheimer's, and easing arthritis pain. A new study show it also helps ward off tumors.
"Having a great sex life makes a difference in your attitude and appearance!" - Anonymous Redbook reader
For more of our favorite anti-aging tips, visit Redbookmag.com.
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