"Sugar is a toxin," warns Dr. Jennifer Landa, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of BodyLogicMD and author of The Sex Drive Solution for Women. "Sugar attaches to your cells, causing them to become less flexible. It also causes cross-linking of collagen which leads to the loss of elasticity in your skin. Excess sugar (more than six to nine teaspoons daily, according to the American Heart Association) has been linked to prediabetes which increases your risk of heart disease, kidney problems, blindness, loss of sexual function and many other issues."
Take fish oil
"Fish oil is a natural anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is among the primary causes of tissue aging and disease initiation. Inflammation increases our risk of all the top causes of death including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease," says Landa.
Eat your fruits and veggies
Dr. Landa recommends adding fruits and veggies to your diet. "The brighter the colors the better. Fruits and vegetables contain flavonoids that act as anti-oxidants soaking up dangerous free radicals that contribute to aging skin and damage to DNA that leads to cancer. However, monitor your intake of fruits — although good for you, fruits contain natural sugars, and sugar leads to aging. Choose berries and pit fruits over pineapples, bananas and melons to reduce your sugar intake and still reap the benefits of powerful antioxidants."
Maintain adequate levels of vitamin D
Dr. Landa says vitamin D can help reduce your risk of getting certain diseases. "Aim to achieve at least the mid-range of normal levels. Higher levels of vitamin D have been associated with a lower risk of certain cancers, including breast and colon cancers as well as reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and depression," says Landa.
Achieve and maintain hormone balance
Dr. Landa says hormonal balance is key. "Monitor your hormone levels throughout your lifespan and take action to maintain balance or repair imbalances. Hormones control everything in the body – acting as the body's messengers. Without hormones, you cannot function properly. Hormones decline naturally as part of the aging process, but decline can occur more dramatically when you fail to care for your body with a healthy lifestyle. Hormonal decline leads to the loss of vital functions that impact aging of the skin, hair, nails, heart, brain and every other organ in the body."