Lower back pain. Aching knees. Wrinkles. To some, these are simply the inevitable byproducts of getting older. At SmartyPants, we disagree. You are not doomed to suffer cracking joints and chicken skin. In fact, we believe that getting older means getting better. Case in point: Mieko Nagaoka, 100 years old and crushing it. But good health doesn’t just happen. With every passing birthday, nutrition and lifestyle become more and more important. So, in an effort to make Benjamin Buttoning a little easier for you…
Here are 10 nutrients proven to help you age like the finest of wine (or cheese).
Yes, we’re talking about the same stuff that fills the Kardashian’s lips. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It gives our bones, joints, and skin strength and structure, and it also plays a role in the replacement of dead skin cells. Our body’s own collagen production declines with age and is further reduced by exposure to ultraviolet light. Fortunately, you don’t have to sit back and wait for your skin to start sagging. You can support your body’s collagen production in two ways. The first is by eating nutrients that promote collagen production, such as vitamin C and A. The second is by consuming collagen itself. Research shows that oral supplementation with collagen can help improve skin texture, reduce signs of aging, and promote bone health 1, 2,.* As far as slathering it on your face? Better to spend your money on high-quality food and supplements. Studies show that collagen molecules are too large to be absorbed through the skin.
VITAMIN K2, D3, & MAGNESIUM
No conversation about bone health would be complete without mentioning vitamin K2, D3, and magnesium. This magical trio works together to help our bodies absorb calcium, which we all know is critical for building and maintaining healthy bones.* Just as important as consuming these nutrients, however, is making sure that they’re in the right forms. Vitamin K2 in the form of menaquinone-7 (MK-7), is the form of vitamin K that has clinically-proven bone-building properties and lasts the longest in the bloodstream. Vitamin D as D3 is the kind our body makes naturally after being exposed to sunlight. Magnesium comes in many different forms, but one of the most easily absorbable forms is magnesium citrate. Unfortunately, these nutrients aren’t found in large amounts in many commonly eaten foods – to get a decent serving of vitamin K2 as MK-7 you’d have to start eating a fermented soybean product called natto. For this reason, we’ve included them in many of our SmartyPants gummies.
LUTEIN & ZEAXANTHIN
If you’re not looking forward to the day when you have to read a menu from across the dinner table, then ask your server point you in the direction of the spinach, kale, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, mangoes, and tomatoes. Yellow, orange, and dark green foods contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two types of carotenoids that have been shown to help protect against the damaging effects of blue light.* This kind of light reaches deeper into the eye and comes from the sun, digital screens, and fluorescent and LED lighting. As we all know, our lives are becoming increasingly dominated by screens – you’re reading this on one right now… Oops. If you’re surrounded by blue from daylight til dark, it’s probably a good idea to start eating more orange.
Coenzyme Q10 is famous for its cardiovascular benefits.* In addition to supporting heart health, CoQ10 acts like a battery within our cells, sparking the energy production needed for cells to grow and stay healthy. CoQ10’s antioxidant properties help protect cells from free radicals – unstable molecules that are generated by stress, sun overexposure, and pollutants, and can damage DNA.*
We are constantly using up our supply of antioxidants and our body’s ability to produce our own CoQ10 declines as we get older, so it’s important to prioritize getting CoQ10 from other sources. The highest levels of CoQ10 are found in foods such as liver, kidney, and heart, as well as in beef, sardines, and mackerel. Mmmm! If these foods aren’t what you’d call “finger lickin’ good,” our SmartyPants Women’s Complete and Men’s Complete gummies all contain CoQ10, along with other key nutrients, packaged inside something you actually want to eat.
Probiotics are most commonly associated with digestion, which may not seem like it has much to do with aging, but, to maintain healthy skin and a healthy body in general, you must be able to digest and absorb the nutrients you eat. Additionally, as we get older, our immune systems naturally get weaker, but we now know that up to 70% of the immune system is located in the gut. A large and growing body of research has emerged illustrating how beneficial gut bacteria can play a powerful role supporting immunity.* And while probiotics are naturally found in our bodies, chronic stress, food additives, too little fiber, anti-bacterial products, and even aging itself can alter the balance of our good bacteria.
You can maintain your supply of these anti-aging gut bugs by eating a diet rich in probiotic foods or supplementing with probiotics like those in our SmartyPants Adult Probiotic Complete and Kids Probiotic Complete. For more info on probiotics, why they’re good for us, and how to pick the best ones, read our interview with Dr. Pamela Peeke.
When it comes to aging, there may be no other group of nutrients that have been so widely researched as omega 3 fatty acids. In this group, there are three: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). All three help promote a healthy inflammatory response.*
The best ways to get omega 3 fats into your diet is from fatty, cold-water fish, such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, and certain types of algae. While you’re at it, you can also rub some of that fish oil on your face! It appears that topical application of omega 3 fats can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and improve the overall quality of the skin.*
If you don’t eat fish – or want your skin to smell like one – try supplementing with a high-quality omega 3 fish oil, like the kind we use in our gummies. Just don’t rub our gummies on your face. They’re much more effective (and enjoyable) when chewed.
While you can’t eat stress reduction (unless you count wine and chocolate) relaxing is one of the most nutritious things you can do. In fact, a landmark study conducted by the University of California illustrated that lifestyle behaviors such as participating in yoga and stress management can actually influence the length of our telomeres — the part of our chromosomes linked to aging and disease. Conversely, the negative effects of stress are widely documented. Just Google Barack Obama 2008 vs 2017. The deleterious effects of a high-stress lifestyle are written all over his face.
As you add candles to your cake, take inventory of the stressors in your life. Perhaps try some meditation or restorative yoga. Or, better yet, go outside and play. Remember playing? Contrary to popular belief, adults are allowed to play too. Think of something you used to love to do as a kid, grab some friends who are also stressed, and go do it. We recommend Frisbee, playing on a jungle gym (hanging is GREAT for decompressing the spine), or a friendly game of duck, duck, goose – whoever loses buys happy hour.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Posted on June 7, 2017