If you’ve been religiously following health guides and diet charts, you probably already know that sugar is your body’s biggest enemy. If you are not careful about your sugar consumption, you could be staring at a long list of fitness related problems. Almost every nutritionist will tell you to cut down on sugar. Why? There are many reasons.
According to the Diabetes Atlas published by the International Diabetes Federation, about 50 million people in India are diabetic, and the number is expected to rise to 69.9 million by 2025. It is not surprising that India has been called the ‘Diabetes Capital’ of the world.
Here’s how much hidden sugar is there in your everyday cereals and juices:
And of course, sugar tends to turn into calories and goes into our body’s fat reserves, one of the main reasons why you might find it difficult to lose weight.
Apart from these obvious health hazards, sugar is also linked to early ageing. Excess sugar in our diet can cause glycation – in which excess sugar molecules attach themselves to collagen fibres and ultimately cause them to lose strength and flexibility. The result: wrinkles, deep lines and sagging skin.
Here’s how you can reverse the effects of glycation and eat your way to a healthy, youthful skin.
According to Shailini Arvind, chief dietitian, Fortis Hospital Bangalore, “Adding spices such as ginger, cumin, black pepper, cinnamon and green tea can decrease the process of glycation. Vitamin C is yet another wonder pill that has been proven to have antioxidants and decrease stress on skin.”
A simple rule to follow: consume a diet that consists of less processed food and more natural products such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and complex carbs. Our enemy is the simple sugar, or artificial sugar.
Bangalore-based nutrition and fitness expert Iram Zaidi agrees. “According to Ayurveda, refined white sugar is extremely kapha-provoking and can create heaviness, congestion and toxins in the system. Herbs possess infinite amount of healing benefits to help overcome sugar damage,” she says.
So, what are the best herbs to include in our diet? “Herbs like fenugreek, holy basil, jamun are well known for their blood-sugar lowering effects. Similarly, harada (black chebulic myrobalan) is also an amazing herb to include in your diet,” Zaidi adds. However, Zaidi warns that one should consult an Ayurvedic doctor before following a particular medicinal route.
Here are some other tried and tested methods to undo the sugar damage on your skin:
Try the Mediterranean diet: The core of this diet is based on ‘fresh is best’. There’s no processed food and everything is either natural or home-made. In fact, new research shows that a diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, like the diet eaten in Mediterranean regions where melanoma rates are extremely low, can help protect us from skin cancer.
More healthy fats: Consume more avocados, mackerel, olive oil, nuts, seeds, beans, squash and leafy greens.
Add more vitamin C: Citrusy fruits, berries are rich in antioxidants and help build collagen.
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