According to researchers from Penn State, you should be bulking up on fungi to help slow down the aging process. A new study found that mushrooms have extremely high levels of two antioxidants which are known for their anti-aging and health heightening qualities. The research, which was published in Food Chemistry, analyzed the ergothioneine (ERGO) and glutathione (GSH) levels in 13 varieties of mushrooms and found the levels to be exponentially higher than any other vegetable. These foods have loads of anti-aging benefits, too.
So what exactly do these antioxidants do? They help your cells battle oxidative stress, a form of tissue damage which can cause your cells to become damaged and destabilize, which, in turn, causes the body to age. Oxidative stress also plays a significant role in the body’s likelihood to develop Alzheimer’s, cancer, and heart disease.
RELATED: This may accelerate aging of your skin
6 surprising things that accelerate aging of your skin
6 surprising things that accelerate aging of your skin
1. Eating a Poor Diet
Consuming lots of highly processed or sugary foods can cause dramatic spikes in blood sugar and insulin, which can trigger chronic, low-grade inflammation at the cellular level. This hidden inflammation can in turn speed up skin aging through a process called glycation.
In a nutshell, here's how it works: Glucose (from carbohydrates and sugars) enters the bloodstream and attaches to protein molecules, including collagen (which provides structure to the skin), forming new molecules called advanced glycation end products, or AGEs, which are believed to degrade collagen and elastin (a protein that gives skin elasticity), explains Dr. Ellen Marmur, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City and author of "Simple Skin Beauty." When this happens, collagen and elastin can become stiffer and less functional, which can theoretically cause skin to sag, wrinkle and look older than it should.
What to do: Cut back on simple carbs, which are quickly converted to blood sugar, and opt instead for lots of whole grains, vegetables and fruits. In particular, increase your intake of antioxidant-rich foods – such as berries, citrus fruits, kiwi, pineapple, papaya, red and green peppers and broccoli – because "antioxidants fight AGEs," Marmur says. The same is true of using skin-care products with antioxidant ingredients such as vitamins C and E, resveratrol, green tea and grapeseed
2. Always Sleeping on the Same Side
You know that sleep is important if you want to look your best. After all, "while you sleep, your body initiates the repair process for lots of different tissues in the body, including the skin," explains Dr. Mary P. Lupo, a clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane University in New Orleans. "So without enough deep sleep, in particular, the skin doesn't get the repair and restoration it needs." But if you constantly sleep on the same side of your face, "your facial skin will age more rapidly," Lupo warns. "It's like ironing a wrinkle into a pair of pants – in this case, you're mechanically wrinkling the skin by deforming the skin's collagen and impeding circulation to the skin, which makes the creases permanent."
What to do: In addition to carving out plenty of time for slumber, cultivate a habit of sleeping on your back or at least alternating sides.
3. Being Depressed
Depression can show up on your face as well as in your disposition, for various reasons. For starters, when people are depressed, they may end up tensing specific facial muscles, grimacing or frowning, and these "negative facial expressions can become sort of etched into the skin in the form of fine lines and wrinkles," Day explains. Meanwhile, depression is associated with elevated cortisol levels, which can weaken collagen and cause a decrease in growth hormone synthesis, which inhibits the skin's ability to repair itself at night, Day adds. What's more, when people are depressed, they often don't eat, sleep, exercise or take care of their skin the way they should.
What to do: Take steps to improve your downbeat mood by exercising regularly, going for counseling and/or talking to your doctor about whether you'd benefit from taking an antidepressant or another therapy. Interestingly, reducing wrinkles with a treatment like Botox may improve symptoms of depression. In a March 2009 study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, researchers found that when people had their frown lines treated with Botox, the paralysis of those facial muscles prevented them from transmitting negative-mood signals to the brain, which correlated with an upturn in mood. The effects aren't a fluke: A study in the August 2014 issue of The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that patients with major depressive disorder who received Botox injections in their foreheads experienced a 42 percent reduction in their depressive symptoms after 12 weeks.
4. Yo-Yo Dieting
Repeatedly gaining and losingweight can cause your skin to continuously stretch and contract, which can take a toll on its elasticity, especially as you get older, Day warns. Besides leading to stretch marks and cellulite on your body, this expand-contract cycle can cause the skin on your face to sag and look older than it should.
What to do: Take steps to get and keep your weight in the normal range (with a body mass index of under 25; you can calculate yours here). Regular exercise can also help improve skin tone, and "using products with ingredients like retinols and peptides can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks and improve the firmness and elasticity of your skin," Day says.
5. Using Certain Medications
Taking oral corticosteroids (for asthma, arthritis or other conditions) or applying them topically can decrease collagen and elastin, cause the skin to become thinner and make blood vessels prone to rupturing more easily, leading to broken capillaries. By contrast, certain antibiotics, ACE inhibitors and diuretics (for high blood pressure), and anti-seizure medications can cause photosensitivity, making your skin extra sensitive to sun damage (including premature wrinkles and pigmentation changes), Day warns.
What to do: "Since stopping these medications is not an option, it's very important to be sun-smart," Day says. "This means avoiding [exposure to] mid-day sun, wearing sun-protective clothing and using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher every day and reapplying it regularly." Using a retinoid cream at night can stimulate collagen production, which can in turn help offset thinning skin and other undesirable changes, Day says, "but this makes it even more important to wear SPF during the day."
6. Being a Frequent Flyer
You may know that the sun's ultraviolet, or UV, rays are more intense at high altitudes, which is why your skin may burn more easily when you're in the mountains. It may surprise you to learn that you also get more UV exposure when you're on an airplane, Marmur says. "So when you're flying, your skin has to contend with the double whammy of dehydration, thanks to the plane's dry air, and sun damage because UV rays penetrate the plane's windows."
The more frequently you fly, the more problematic these factors are for your skin, which may explain why flight attendants have an increased risk of melanoma, according to an analysis of five studies in the May-June 2006 issue of the Journal of Travel Medicine.
What to do: Bring a moisturizer with SPF on the plane (look for a 3-ounce tube or smaller), avoid alcohol and salty foods, and drink lots of water during the flight, Marmur advises. And if you're sitting next to the window, pull the shade down.
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“Since mushrooms are a ‘ball of fungi’ they contain the highest amount, by far, in the human food chain,” the study’s lead author, Robert Beelman Ph.D., told Men’s Health.“Many other foods contain quite small amounts of ERGO because it gets into the food chain via plants picking it up from fungi in the soil.”
The recommended amount of ERGO you should be consuming on a daily basis is about 3 milligrams, according to Beelman. That’s about five button mushrooms, hardly a handful. Curious about the difference between mushrooms? Here’s how you can tell white, cremini, and portobello mushrooms apart.
RELATED: Habits that may be giving you wrinkles
Bad beauty habits that are giving you wrinkles
Bad beauty habits that are giving you wrinkles
Smoking is the most common cause of wrinkles that we see. “There have been studies of twins that showed proof of this in stunning detail. So skip cigarettes and lose the wrinkles!” says Dr. Joel Schlessinger, a board certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon and founder of LovelySkin.com.
If you want to keep your skin healthy and young, the old saying that you are what you eat has never been more true. Aside from adding extra pounds to your weight, eating too much sugar and high-glycemic foods may also be aging you. “Through a damaging process called glycation, sugar molecules attach to the proteins (including collagen) in your skin, causing them to become stiff and malformed. This results in a loss of facial elasticity and contours, puffiness and fine lines. Refined sugar and other simple carbohydrates also trigger inflammation throughout the body by causing insulin levels to skyrocket. Inflammation produces enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, which leads to sagging and wrinkles,” says Dr. Roshini Raj, co-founder of TULA.
“Alcohol is a hepatotoxin, meaning it specifically damages the liver. It’s a toxin to the cells that detoxify your body,” explains Dr. James C. Marotta, a dual-board certified facial plastic surgeon. All alcohol dehydrates the skin. This means your skin will appear less plump and fresh the next morning. Over time, your skin will lose elasticity and form wrinkles due to a lack of hydration. “Additionally, alcohol can have a huge negative impact on your vitamin A level, which is a very important antioxidant for your skin/body, and it is vital in the regeneration of new cells. Vitamin A is also extremely important in the production of collagen. When you have lower amounts of collagen, you lose elasticity in your skin,” says Dr. Marotta. Collagen and elasticity are what keep your skin supple, taut and looking young.
“Gum chewing produces a type of wrinkle that I see quite often on the lower mouth,” says Dr. Schlessinger. Additionally, it causes other issues in the mouth structure. This is an easy habit to give up in the name of looking better.
When you sleep in your makeup, you are basically inviting wrinkles to your skin. The makeup and environmental pollutants you accumulate during the day seep into your pores, breaking down collagen and elastin. This can speed up the aging process, leaving you with fine lines and wrinkles. Cleanse and moisturize your skin every night before bed.
Exfoliation removes dirt, debris, excess oil and dulling skin cells that can make your skin appear old and wrinkled. By exfoliating regularly, your skin will appear more radiant and youthful, and it will help your anti-aging products penetrate your skin easier.
At the same time, don’t exfoliate too much. Did you know that scrubbing away at your skin can cause aging? By over-exfoliating you’re actually removing the only protective barrier that your skin has. If you remove the barrier then your skin is exposed to environmental toxins, not to mention the sun which causes the most damage to your skin. “Any damage, inflammation, and harm done to your skin will bring aging faster, including loss off hydration, elasticity and wrinkles. So the key is to use products that encourage a natural cell turn over,” says Dr. Ben Johnson, MD, founder of Osmosis Pur Medical Skincare.
Stop picking at those pesky zits and let them come out on their own, or use natural products to help eliminate them. Any time you pick or pull at your skin, you’re causing damage and creating irritation, scars, and yes, even wrinkles.
This is bad for creating more wrinkles but also just bad makeup practice in general. “You should do your makeup how everyone else is going to see you and hopefully its not with your mouth stretched opened and eyebrows lifted so you can put on your mascara. Don’t pull on your eyes and stretch them so you can put on your eye liner. It is about moving your whole face when you are applying makeup, not stretching it so it is flat,” says makeup artist Donna Kelly.
We’ve all been told to never skip the sunscreen, but it’s often tempting when many of us spend our days indoors. Exposure to the sun for even a few minutes can lead to a breakdown of collagen, leading to fine lines and wrinkles. “Wear sunscreen every day, rain or shine, so that you don’t get sun damage. Choose an SPF 30 and one that has zinc oxide or titanium dioxide,” says Dr. Debra Jaliman, a New York-based dermatologist and author of Skin Rules.
If you sleep on your face you can get sleep wrinkles from the pillow. “It’s best to sleep on a satin pillowcase that slides across your face. The other alternative is to sleep on your back,” says Dr. Jaliman.