. . . beautiful skin comes from within Are you trying to cultivate a leathery, coarse look in your complexion? How about more and deeper wrinkles? Discoloration? And sagging skin? Well then, ramp up your glycemic index with lots of sugar, fruit juice, sodas and refined carbohydrates! You’ll also want to load up on fatty meats, especially cooked at high temperatures, along with full-fat dairy products and plenty of processed foods! What all of these will do is to increase glycation in your body, a process that encourages aging, chronic disease and an early death. But of course, most importantly, it can make you look just terrible! When you glycate something, you combine it with sugar. Proteins can become glycated and so can fats. In cooking, this is called caramelization or browning; in chemistry it's called a Maillard reaction. In the body, glycation damages body proteins, producing something called Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs). How does this affect the skin? AGEs interact with adjacent proteins to produce crosslinks that stiffen tissues and destroy normal protein structure, so you wind up with stiff and sagging skin. Skin loses its elasticity, and when grooves are formed by smiling or frowning, it no longer snaps back into place and the grooves become permanently etched on your face. Your skin toughens and shrivels, like the skin of a roasting turkey in the oven. To some extent glycation is normal and unavoidable, and the body has ways to deal with it. When body proteins are damaged by glycation, the immune system generates white blood cells to engulf, destroy and get rid of them. The body then builds new replacement proteins. However, all of this takes energy, and our capacity for handling the problem can easily become overwhelmed by eating a poor diet of over-cooked and over-processed foods. Then glycated proteins and AGEs accumulate, blocking or slowing down various biological functions and producing pain and inflammation, neurodegeneration, muscle atrophy, LDL oxidation, DNA chromosome damage, cataracts, and heart and kidney damage as well as wrinkles on your face. The more you flood your bloodstream with sugar by eating sugar and other high-glycemic foods, the more you encourage glycation of body proteins. You can also ingest AGEs in food. Processed foods are full of AGEs. AGEs are naturally present in animal products, but they can be promoted 10- to 100-fold by cooking them with dry heat at high temperatures. Broiling, roasting, frying, grilling and searing form the most AGEs. Preferred cooking methods are boiling, steaming, poaching, stewing and quick stir-fry. Eating an 80% raw foods diet is one of the best ways to minimize ingesting AGEs. Certain nutrients inhibit glycation and AGEs: vitamins C and E, for example, and the active form of vitamin B6 (pyridoxal 5-phosphate or P5P – the form of vitamin B6 used in Beyond Health supplements), as well as alpha lipoic acid and carnosine. You always knew that we are what we eat and that beautiful skin comes from within. Following the Beyond Health lifestyle, especially including eating a good diet, is the best way I know to make sure you look as well as feel your best.
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