Mar 232013

Woman looking in a mirrorHave you ever woken up and looked in the mirror and thought, “more wrinkles, more grey hair, am I getting that old?” Perhaps not. It may just be that you, like so many people, have succumbed to premature aging. This is very prevalent in our day largely due to diet.

Contemporary eating patterns can include as much as 30% of total calories in the form of polyunsaturated oils. In terms of what our nutritional needs are this should not be more than 4%. These oils are derived mostly from corn, soy, safflower and canola through a refining process.

We are not referring here to naturally occurring polyunsaturated fats that have not been refined. Rather the culprits are principally commercial vegetable oils, which form the basis of a multitude of processed foods in our supermarkets ranging from crackers to pastries, not to mention margarine and other spreads.

Here’s the thing, these polyunsaturates become rancid when subjected to heat, oxygen and moisture when they are processed or used for cooking. This process of decomposition produces free radicals. Free radicals are atoms or clusters of atoms that have an unpaired electron. Hence, the terminology, free radical.

Free radicals have been described as “tiny hand grenades that devastate body tissues, leading to degeneration and early aging.” The damage is a result of the sub-atomic instability of these little rascals. They, like forlorn lovers, do not like to stay unpaired. Hence, they are prepared to grab an electron from wherever they can.

Because these radicals attack the cell membranes and red blood cells in search of electrons to complete their pair they cause damage to our DNA. This can trigger mutations in our skin, tissue and blood cells. It is these mutations, which cause wrinkling and premature aging.

A study of consumption of vegetable oils by a plastic surgeon demonstrates the extent of this damage. He first recorded the regular diets of his patients. He then studied the correlation between facial wrinkling and diets high in vegetable oil consumption.

The results of the study are startling. He discovered that his patients whose diets included a high volume of vegetable oil had 78% more facial wrinkles. Not only that, he remarked that some of them appeared 20 years older than they should have!

Another culprit in this issue of premature aging is none other than sugar. Recent studies have shown that sugar causes us to age more rapidly. When we ingest sugar or, for that matter, many highly processed foods such as white flour, they are rapidly broken down by the body to glucose, a blood sugar.

The problem with this is the burden it puts on our pancreas. Our pancreases have to produce enormous amounts of insulin to convert the glucose to glycogen for storage. Other than the more well know results of this stress, namely diabetes, this also causes aging.

So, other than cutting out sugar and paring down vegetable oil intake to 4% of total caloric intake, what can we do about all this? We can eat foods with antioxidants. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Vitamin E, which is found in dark green leafy vegetables and legumes, unrefined vegetable oils, seeds, nuts, grain and butter appears to retard the aging process.

  • Sulphur is an essential element in several amino acids, which block harmful effects of pollution and radiation, which is perhaps why it slows down the aging process. Sulphur is consumed in eggs, milk, other animal products as well as cruciferous vegetables (including cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy, cress, and similar green leaf vegetables).

  • Tea, especially green tea, which can be found with much lower concentrations of caffeine than black tea, is rich in polyphenols, which have potent antioxidant properties. Antioxidants provide the answer to free radicals by inhibiting the oxidation process, which produces them.

It may take more of our time to find and prepare wholesome, natural foods, but, then again, if we do we will have more time by virtue of aging less rapidly.


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 Posted by at 5:54 pm

  8 Responses to “Avoid Causes Of Premature Aging And Eat Plenty Of Foods With Antioxidants”

  1. The scary part is that it is really hard to avoid much of this problem. If we shop in most markets we will consume a lot of these oils. Is it a lot more expensive for the makers to use other oils?

    • The problem is John, that the food industry is largely built on refined vegetable oils and sugar. They make the oils from the cheapest, often GMO seeds and combine this with high fructose corn syrup made from GMO corn and put it in just about everything they manufacture. Masses are addicted to the sugar, which is why there is so much obesity and degenerative disease these days.

      I rarely buy anything in the supermarket any more. You can still avoid it by sticking to meat and produce and avoiding the processed stuff. Use butter or olive oil rather than the refined vegetable oils.

  2. There’s nothing more radical than a forlorn lover, that’s for sure. Another great article, Jim. Most of the food we buy is processed in some form or fashion. In general terms, what’s the best (maybe I’m saying ‘easiest’) way to limit our intake of polyunsaturates? Will sticking to the outside rows of the supermarket (while skipping the Bluebonnet) help?

    • Haha Bill, you got that right and thanks! Sticking to the outside rows of the supermarket is a great idea and using butter or cold expelled, extra-virgin olive oil also. Avoid the big brand Italian named ones though. I read a very interesting expose’ on how the Mafia have got away with mixing refined oils under those brands.

  3. I am very into the healthy food and I have been taking grape seed complex because of the antioxidant properties. You can find tons of vitamin E with virgin Red Palm Oil as well. I just eat a little bit in a teaspoon every day. I did not know about sulphur but I am happy to know about it because I usually eat broccoli.

    • Yeah, I have read about grape seeds. I drink kombucha every day because it is packed with antioxidants and is a great detox. It is also dirt cheap to brew, full of useful acids and vitamin C and tasty and refreshing. I wasn’t aware of the vitamin E in Red Palm Oil, I will have to keep that in mind. Broccoli is right up there with kale in my favorite veggies! I love to melt butter on it because it really aids in the assimilation of all the good nutrients.

  4. So where were you when I took biochemistry? Would have been a much more interesting class, and the students would have understood the process of free radicals much easier with that forlorn lover analogy!

    You are building a great site here, Jim. Love the new pic and the branding of the site is awesome. CT is the place to go to learn how eat to be healthy and not spend a fortune.

    Our new venture here at the ranch is to add goats to the desert to grasslands project. Maybe you can speak to the nutritious value of goat meat. We love it here at the ranch and have heard it doesn’t have any forlorn lovers (free radicals) floating around.

    • Thanks Pat, your comments are always encouraging. Actually your comment regarding biochemistry is kinda at the heart of what I am attempting to do. I am fascinated by this stuff, but most sources of information are so filled with jargon created by the scientists, I think to keep their sacred knowledge close to the vest, that it is baffling. So, I can dig in and get some insight by translating it into words that I can understand. Then most anybody with a bit of intelligence probably can too.

      I am contemplating raising a couple of goats for milk and meat, both of which are very nutritious. I would really like to learn how to do it all myself and properly, from nose to tail!

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