HealthCheck

What foods could keep you from aging?

Friday, April 17, 2009

It sounds too good to be true: foods that can actually stop the aging process. But some can accelerate it. The theory is part of a new diet trend that balances your body's pH levels. So if it's true, what's on your plate may actually prevent wrinkles.

What if we told you the foods you eat could stop the process of aging?

"I'm all for that, definitely," said Anna Caeg.

There's a whole new trend in diets, dealing with your body's pH levels. New York dermatologist and author of "Stop Aging, Start Living," Dr. Jeannette Graf claims by following a two-week diet that balances alkalinity and acidity in your body, you can erase wrinkles and beautify your skin overnight.

On the flip side, some foods you're eating might be speeding up the process of aging. But can foods really have a direct effect on your face? Houston Dermatologist Suzanne Bruce says maybe.

"I believe it can. I think there's a growing body of scientific evidence that shows what we eat does affect our skin," said Dr. Bruce.

Let's get to the bad news first -- the age accelerators.

On the list:

  • Sugar
  • Table salt
  • Processed carbohydrates
  • Too much animal protein (no more than 8 ounces of meat and dairy each day)
  • Drinks like carbonated soft drinks, and alcohol (no more than one or two drinks a day)
  • Coffee (cut back to two 8 ounce cups a day)
Why are these foods bad? Some dermatologists believe they mess up your body's pH levels. Dr. Bruce did test her pH after eating some of these foods, and yes, they changed her body's acidic balance. The question remains whether or not that causes aging.

OK, the good news is there are foods some say stop the aging process. No surprise -- your shopping list will bring you to the produce department.

Most of the 'good foods' are veggies:

  • Dark leafy vegetables
  • Root vegetables
  • Most fruits
  • Lemons and limes
  • Garlic and onions
  • Herbs and spices
"The dark leafy vegetables have lots of phytochemicals," said Dr. Bruce.

Also on the age-stopping list:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Oils (olive, flaxseed, avocado, coconut, macadamia)
  • Whole grains, especially oats
  • Sea salt
  • Filtered water
"You can definitely have an effect on the appearance of your skin if you're dehydrated, and most Americans walk around chronically dehydrated, some people just don't have enough water intake," said Bruce.

We found shopper Anna Caeg already picking up a lot of these 'good foods.'

"Oh, there's definitely a connection there," she said.

And she's a believer in the face- food link.

"When I'm drinking lots of water, eating more healthy, you can actually see the difference," said Caeg. "Whereas over the holidays, you're partaking in the holiday foods, you could see the difference then."

Whether or not it works, Dr. Bruce says there isn't any risk in giving it a shot:

"The things she's recommending are good healthy things anyway," said Dr. Bruce. "Whether it's working through the effects of the pH or working through the phytochemicals, who knows, but not bad advice anyway."

Eating your way to the fountain of youth, might be worth sampling.

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Christi Myers is ABC13's Healthcheck reporter

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