It’s a sad fact that most of us don’t eat enough fresh fruit and vegetables. NHS figures show that less than a third of adults manage five portions a day, with kids aged 5-15 even less successful – just 18% achieve the target.
Despite the widely-heralded benefits of such foods, particularly for cardiovascular and mental health, there’s something preventing many of us (vegan or not!) from consistently working enough fruits and vegetables into our diet.
Maybe the lure of sugary snacks is too strong or perhaps we’re put off by the cost, which makes us reach for cheaper alternatives. Whatever the reason, we’re missing out on great nutrition.
We all know the primary advantages of eating fruit and vegetables, but did you know that doing so could prevent or slow ageing more effectively than expensive cosmetic serums, masks and creams?
Roddy McDonald the founder of Water for Health says;
“A diet rich in vitamin- and mineral-rich greens goes a long way to promoting collagen production, helping to keep skin supple and smooth. Packed with antioxidants, carotenoids and flavonoids, fruit and vegetables are vital for nourishing a healthy glow.”
Of course, there’s no way to stop ageing entirely – and some people are blessed to age more gracefully than others. And although we cannot control the ‘intrinsic’ skin ageing that affects each of us, we can influence extrinsic skin ageing – the kind affected by external factors like chronic sun exposure, tobacco, air pollution, stress, sleep deprivation and, as mentioned, diet.
In fact, antioxidant-rich foods help to prevent free radicals from damaging cells in the body and skin, free radicals which are kicked into motion by many of the aforementioned factors.
Eliminating undue stresses from your life and following a balanced, nutrient-rich diet is one of the best ways of protecting cells from damage and maintaining a youthful appearance.
This is why certain nutrients from fruit and vegetables end up being isolated and added to anti-ageing formulas.
“Topical vitamin C, for instance, is popularly used in a number of cosmetic products, employed for its ability to offer sun protection among other things. Medicinal herbs and organic spices also find their way into such products, along with ingredients like tea tree oil, aloe vera and sea salt.”
In a study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition , people whose diets were rich in vitamin C and linoleic acid (found in flax and pumpkin seeds) were found to be less prone to wrinkles. Researchers were so bowled over by the results that they said “skin-aging appearance may motivate healthy eating” and suggested that “new campaigns to promote healthy dietary behaviours could consider this issue.”
Which other nutrients should we look out for?
Well, the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin – found in leafy greens like kale and spinach – are known to protect against cataracts and blindness; vitamin E – also found in greens – prevents lipids from oxidising, enabling skin to retain its natural moisturisers; and selenium, a mineral found in foods like mushrooms, spinach, lentils and bananas, helps decrease the sun’s ageing effect on skin and preserves tissue elasticity.
Naturally, ageing on the surface is less worrisome than ageing on the inside (for most of us, that is!). Just as well, then, that plentiful fruit and vegetables promote root health: by tamping down inflammation, sparking anti-carcinogenic activity, lowering our risk of heart attack and stroke and slowing the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
If you’re the kind of person who spends a fortune on anti-ageing creams, or even if you merely wish to age gracefully, you should make an effort to eat a range of vibrant foods loaded with essential nutrients.
Foods like bell peppers and blueberries, broccoli and pomegranate seeds, kale, carrots and mango. More than perhaps any other factor, diet positively influences mind, body and spirit.
Eating fruit and vegetables shouldn’t be a chore, and with a range of online resources suggesting creative ways to incorporate more portions into your day, it’s never been easier to hit your daily target. Don’t just do it for the anti-ageing benefits, though: do it to feel better inside!
Berries Best is a way to boost your fruit and veggie intake and it tastes amazing…. It costs £29.75 and lasts around a month.
*Water for Health Ltd also support Vitamin Angels:
Malnutrition is the number one cause of preventable child deaths. That’s why we’re proud to support the work of Vitamin Angels, who continually strive to reduce malnutrition in children by giving them access to lifesaving vitamins and minerals. For every £1 we donate, five children in need receive lifesaving vitamins.”
Vitamin Angels tireless work has led them to 50 countries, where they have forged programmes to prevent illness, blindness and death among at-risk mothers and children under the age of five. Such is their commitment, they have managed to deliver valuable vitamins to over 48 million needy mothers and children worldwide.