As much as humanity is forever on the search for the fountain of youth, aging is inevitable, and it’s something that we need to accept. However, that does not mean we can’t slow down the process either. While there are foods and essential oils that can help reverse the effects of premature aging, adding flavor to our food with delicious spices can also do the same.
Before we start to consider how we can turn back the aging clock, it’s first important to identify the habits that have led to aged skin. These include:
- Poor diet rich in inflammatory, fatty, fried foods which also include refined grains and processed foods.
- Chronic stress.
- Lack of sleep
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Environmental pollutants.
Spices, herbs, and aging
Herbs and spices have played integral roles in traditional medicine, and for good reason. Not only are they rich in antioxidants, but they also contain minerals and other vital vitamins that can help to speed up your metabolism and improve cholesterol and blood glucose levels. By choosing to flavor your food, you’re allowing for the spices to provide nutrients as well as counter the effects of premature aging. So embrace flavorful food and read on to find out which spices and herbs need to be part of your spice rack.
Ashwagandha (or the Indian ginseng for those who can’t pronounce it) is rich in antioxidant properties, which then allows for it to protect skin cells from oxidative stress and damage. Moreover, these herbs also encourage skin cell regeneration – it helps the body get rid of dead skin cells quicker and this leaves you with a much youthful appearance.
A member of the mint family, basil contains flavonoids that can help protect skin cells against oxidative stress. Oxidative stress – often a result of pollutants or excessive UV exposure – can damage skin cells as well as affect collagen levels, which are prone to leaving you with dry, dehydrated aged skin. According to a study published in the DARU Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, basil can help prevent wrinkles and keep the skin hydrated and smooth.
Basil also supports heart health and lowers levels of cortisol (the stress hormone).
Collagen is a protein in the body that helps the skin maintain a firm and youthful appearance. However, like most things in the body, the levels of collagen decrease as we age. However, other factors such as smoking can also accelerate this decline.
Created from the rolled bark of a South Asian tree and one of the most beloved spices, cinnamon can help prevent the breakdown of collagen as well as boost its production, thus preventing the sign of premature aging. Moreover, insulin spikes can lead to the formation of wrinkles and blemishes, yet cinnamon prevents this by regulating blood sugar.
Cinnamon can also help relieve joint pain as a result of the anti-inflammatory compounds it contains, and it also supports digestive health.
While this spice’s antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties boost the immune system, it offers pain relief and promotes heart health by lowering bad cholesterol – ginger can also counter the effects of premature aging.
According to one study, ginger counters the production of free radicals, and it also helps to rejuvenate the skin. One study found that ginger can control the production of harmful free radicals that affect your metabolism and increase oxidative stress, which, as we have already established, is harmful to your skin.
Popularly used in traditional Chinese medicine, this herb not only keeps the skin hydrated but also encourages the production of collagen, thus preventing the early formation of wrinkles. Moreover, ginseng contains high levels of phytochemicals that protect the skin against free radicals.
Other benefits associated with ginseng include the improved immune function and increased energy.
Regularly used for aromatherapy and extremely high in flavonoids, this herb will not only combat inflammation, but also focuses on age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles.
Used in traditional medicine, the health benefits associated with numeric can be credited to the compound that it contains – curcumin. Aside from promoting blood circulation and reducing inflammation, this compound also helps to protect the skin from the first signs of aging – which usually occur as a result of UV damage.
Bottom Line On Essential Spices
Not only can spices and herbs add much-needed flavor to bland food, but they also come with an abundance of health benefits, including anti-aging ones. However, while these spices can help you age more gracefully it’s important that you do not partake in habits that would reverse their effects.