How to Eat Yourself Young; If You Think the Key to Looking Young Is Make-Up and Expensive Face Cream, Think Again. Elizabeth Peyton-Jones, Author of Eat Yourself Young, Tells Us How We Can Knock off the Years Just by Eating the Right Foods

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NONE of us want to face the prospect of wrinkles and old looking skin so we spend money on various lotions and potions in a bid to delay the ageing process.

But dietician and naturopath Elizabeth Peyton-Jones says the most effective way to turn back the years is to simply change what we eat.

In her book, Eat Yourself Younger, she has identified the five ageing accelerators, the five food baddies and the five "youth foods" that will hold back the years.

She says by choosing which foods to eat, and which to avoid, we can all help stop the ageing process by eating ourselves younger.

"According to the USDA Human Nutrition Research Centre on Ageing at Tufts University, Boston, many of the biological markers of age can be altered by diet, including body fat percentage, blood sugar tolerance, blood pressure, the basal metabolic rate and the body's ability to regulate its internal temperature," she says.

"I've found a new and realistic way of eating that gives everyone the power to look and feel years younger. Medical data on food has come a long way in the past 10 years and high quality, evidence-based science now points ineradicably to the kind of foods that keep you young and healthy. It's these foods you need to incorporate into your diet."

AGEING ACCELERATORS: A SLUGGISH DIGESTION: A well-functioning digestive system is central to the anti-ageing process but when the gut becomes sluggish, the body doesn't absorb nutrients very well. Skin, hair, nails, muscles and bones become undernourished and you start to look and feel older.

INFLAMMATION: This is our fast, natural reaction to injury, allergy and infection. "As soon as a splinter pierces our skin, the inflammatory response kicks in to protect us," says Elizabeth.

"As we age, this can become over-reactive, leaving activated immune cells circulating in the body. They can take a heavy toll on the body, causing infections, allergies and loss of skin quality."

OXIDATION: Although every cell in our bodies needs oxygen, it is highly reactive and always looking to combine with other molecules.

When it does, it produces unstable atoms called free radicals, which then steal electrons from other atoms, causing "oxidative stress". When our bodies are over-exposed to toxins such as alcohol, stress, UV light and chemicals in food it overloads, producing more free radicals.

HORMONE IMBALANCE: If you are hormonally-imbalanced, Elizabeth says your body is on an ageing rollercoaster.

You gain weight, your skin starts to wrinkle, you sleep badly and begin to look older.

ACIDIFICATION: Every cell in the body works best when the fluid inside it is slightly alkaline. But when we eat too many acid-producing foods, such as meat, coffee, cheese, cereal, sugary drinks and snacks, the long-term acid overload makes us susceptible to the ageing process.

MOST AGEING FOODS: MEAT: While we need protein to build muscles, ligaments and skin, meat is not the only protein and, as well as triggering the five ageing processes, it can be loaded with saturated fats and very calorific.

Elizabeth says: "I am talking about high-fat, processed, deep-fried, grilled or barbecued meats here. These are acid-forming and can cause inflammation, irritated skin and wrinkles, decrease bone density, increase the risk of cancer, and stress the kidneys."

REFINED SUGAR: Elizabeth calls this "food cocaine" - it's addictive, ubiquitous and over-eaten. It causes mood disorders, loss of muscle tone, weight gain, spots and acne, tooth decay and disturbs hormone". …