It’s probably not the first thing you think about when you consider how to age gracefully, but alkalinity in the body is very important. In fact, it’s one of the main factors in just how good your skin looks as you grow older.
According to New York dermatologist Jeannette Graf, MD, “The body functions optimally with an internal pH of 7.4 – slightly alkaline. After 40, our internal natural buffering pH capacity decreases, and we become progressively acidic. This is a problem because metabolic acidosis leads to enhanced skin aging, as well as problems with internal organs due to acid buildup.”
While at first this may seem unstoppable, a healthy lifestyle can help us regain optimal alkalinity. Here are the top three things to do to keep you pH level balanced:
Watch out for certain foods
“It is important to stay away from acid-producing foods such as sugar, carbonated soft drinks (especially colas) and refined, processed foods,” says Dr. Graf. “You should also be moderate in your consumption of coffee and alcohol.
A high-fiber diet rich in colorful and alkalinizing foods, such as those found in the Mediterranean Diet, can help restore alkalinity to the body and improve skin’s enzyme function. Also rich in omega fatty acids, the Mediterranean Diet includes foods such as halibut, salmon, olive oil, flaxseeds, dark green leafy vegetables like kale and collard greens, and winter squash. Alkalinizing grains include oats, wild rice and quinoa. “Examples of alkalinizing fruits are apples, pears, blackberries, cantaloupe and grapes,” says Dr. Graf.
Drink plenty of water
“Drinking lots of fresh water with lemon also enhances our internal pH. So does taking the right supplements and drinking alkalinizing super green juices,” explains Dr. Graf. Here are the supplements the doctor recommends:
- Vitamin D3 – levels should be checked, but I generally recommend 5,000 IUS per day
- Mineral supplement
- Flaxseed Oil in morning when absorption is optimal
- 7-keto DHEA 25-50mg in morning to minimize cortisol levels and stabilize blood sugar (the keto form is the nonhormonal form!)
Protect the moisture barrier of your skin
“The moisture barrier is composed of water and oils produced by the sebaceous glands and forms what is known as the hydrolipidic film,” says Dr. Graf. This “film” is important as it keeps moisture and essential nutrients in the skin, and bacteria and other potential irritants out.
“Exposure to pollutants and UV rays trigger an inflammatory response that results in the breakdown of enzymes that cause collagen and elastin to degrade, leading to wrinkle formation. Another result is the formation of lipofuscin (pigment) that shows up as brown spots and discoloration,” she adds.
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