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“Let me say I agree with you whole heartedly, we should not be judged by our appearances…but we are, so get over it.”-author Leah Feldon

It’s not fair, but it’s a fact. Research proves  people with pleasing looks and trim figures are more popular, get better jobs and are far more self confident.Add to this the fact that according to The United Nations Second World Assembly on Ageing, our life expectancy has increased worldwide by 20 years, and there’s nothing for it but to join the ever- growing queues in a quest for the fountain of youth.


According to Johannesburg based anti-ageing nutritionist Ashleigh Caradas, nutrition is the fuel for all our cellular processes, and as the cells keep renewing themselves, how healthy the cells become on an ongoing basis has a great deal to do with what we do and don’t eat.

Nutritional research proves major causes of ageing relate to three factors: inflammation, oxidation, and glycation.

Thus anti-ageing diets focus on reducing inflammation, boosting antioxidant status and controlling blood sugar.

Inflammation: It’s natural when one cuts themselves to experience pain, swelling and red colouration- signs of a healthy process of inflammation and a perfectly healthy immune system response.  But when inflammation becomes unwarranted, it becomes a problem.  Much of this has to do with the way in which we eat.  Low-level chronic inflammation links to wide range of illnesses related to ageing, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and even depression and mood disorders.

Oxydation:  Foods that reduce oxidation in the body also prevent ageing. There are special plant chemicals called phytochemicals that impart colour and flavour to fruits and vegetables.  In plants, these chemicals exhibit amazing health benefits when consumed in the diet.

Phytochemicals act as antioxidants that help the body mop up cell-damaging free radicals. Smoking, bad diet, stress, pollution and medications all lead to free radical buildup.  If left unchallenged, these villains can destroy or “oxidize” healthy cells, leading to disease.  Phytochemical nutrients found in colourful fruits and vegetables help prevent heart disease, certain cancers and other diseases attributable to ageing.  Indeed, many experts believe the medicine of tomorrow is leaning away from pharmaceutical towards neutraceuticals (medicines derived from food).

Clycation:  Glycation occurs when blood sugar levels become too high (like after eating a large meal or eating too many high GI foods and sugars.  Sugar literally coats the cells, leading to ageing.  That is why a diabetic eventually dies from heart disease, kidney failure or becomes blind from cells coated with sugar.  

Listed below is the world’s most advanced food pyramid, specifically designed for anti-ageing and clinically proved.

  1. Drink about 10-12 glasses of filtered water daily, beginning with two morning glasses to purify and hydrate your body from overnight dehydration.
  2. Daily carbodyrate intake should comprise primarily of whole grain cereal, barley, and oats.  These low glycemic index foods convert into sugar inside the body at a slow and steady pace.  A wholegrain is an unrefined grain that hasn’t been stripped of its vital goodness, which includes phytochemicals that inhibit the oxidative stress associated with inflammation. Wholegrain foods to add to the daily diet include wholegrain bran cereals, oats, brown rice, wholegrain seed breads and rye breads and crackers, barley, buckwheat and legumes like lentils, white beans and chickpeas. Wholegrain foods also exhibit a low glycemic index (GI), which helps keep blood sugar levels stable and sustained. Another wholegrain of note is quinoa (native to South America), which is a very low glycemic index grain high in protein.Reduce high glycemic carbohydrate intake such as white rice, wheat, bread, pasta, which converts into sugar quickly and causes a rise in blood sugar level.  Sustained intake of high glycemic food leads to obesity and adult onset diabetes and as mentioned is a leading cause of ageing.  Merely concentrate on good grains and avoid bad grains.Daily, eat eight to 10 portions of vegetables and choose green and other dark colour vegetables like tomatoes, and red cabbage.  The more colourful the vegetable the more anti-oxidant it contains. Avoid veges that grow underground such as potato because they behave like high glycemic index type carbohydrates that lead to sugar imbalance.Eat many low GI type fruits - such as apple, pear, or berries. Always take whole fruits instead of fruit juices high in sugar and low in fiber.Pineapple is rich in bromelain, an enzyme that decreases inflammation and also enhances the immune system. Add pineapple to fruit salads and smoothies, mix fresh pineapple juice with sparkling water or marinate fish in pineapple juice and ginger before tossing on the grill.Daily legumes, organic eggs, and nuts are excellent source of protein.  One to two eggs a day can be taken in without significant rise in blood cholesterol if you are health.
  3. Twice weekly, eat at least 250gm of cold water deep sea fish such as salmon or tuna weekly.  This provides necessary omega 3 fatty acid as well as protein.  Salmon is a premier source of omega-3 fatty acids quelling inflammation in the body. Pilchards, sardines, and mackerel are also good. Be wary of fresh water or coastal water fish, which may be contaminated. Flaxseed oil supplementation reduces inflammatory compounds in the body and may even help obese subjects reduce body weight.  Free-range chicken is a good source of protein, eaten twice a week.
  4. Once a week only eat red meat such as beef and with desserts such as ice cream and cakes.  Try to eat beef that comes from cattle that are grass fed instead of grain fed.
  5. Olive oil or Canola Oil used in preparation of all food contains healthy mono-unsaturated fat.  Avoid polyunsaturated fat that comes after processing, such as corn oil, safflower oil, and sunflower oil.  Avoid trans-fat found in margarine, cookies and pastries as much as possible. This is the worst type of fat – far worse than saturated fat found in red meat.


Walnuts – actually all nuts and seeds are good sources of the antioxidant vitamin, vitamin E – which helps keep skin and blood vessels’ supple.  Walnuts are also the richest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Berries - loaded with the antioxidant chemical anthocyanin, which helps protect the body from the free radical damage that causes inflammation. Add blackberries, cranberries, strawberries or raspberries to a blender with some yogurt to make a fruit smoothie, or add them to cereals, porridges and desserts. There is also a great range of berry juices available in supermarkets. Of particular benefit is the Goji berry from China, available in dried form at health food stores. The Goji berry has extremely high levels of various antioxidants, one of which, zeaxanthin, has been shown to help prevent age related blindness. It may also help stop cancer cells in their tracks and reduces cholesterol levels.  Barley green, wheat grass and green tea without caffeine are also good anti oxidants.



Breakfast: ¾ cup cooked oatmeal + Tbs. crushed flaxseeds + 1 grilled or poached salmon fillet Snack: boiled egg and 3 slices green melonLunch: Salad with carrots, beetroot, raw grated butternut, tomatoes and chickpeas with soya dressingSnack: 1 cup blueberries + 4 walnutsDinner: Grilled chicken breast served with steamed bok choy or spinach and quinoa


Breakfast: Smoothie mixture with 1 ½ cups spring water, ½ cup plain yogurt, 1 cup mixed berries including Goji, 2 Tbs. Flaxseed oil and 1/3 cup raw oat branSnack: 1 apple + handful pumpkin seedsLunch: Seared salmon salad (seared salmon, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, carrots, red onion, radish, new potatoes and bean sprouts) with olive oil and lemon juiceSnack: Boiled egg + 3 slices green melonDinner: Chicken stir-fry (chicken breast, walnuts, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, baby marrows, mushrooms, bok choy, cabbage and sprouts) served with brown rice


Breakfast: Fresh salmon omelette of 2 egg whites and 1 yolk with spring onions + 1 pearSnack: 1 cup mixed berries sprinkled with oat bran and crushed flaxseedsLunch: Grilled chicken with raw salad of spinach, rocket and romaine lettuce + glass carrot juice Snack: Handful of raw nuts added to a plain yogurtDinner: Mackerel fillet served with broccoli and butternut

So, are anti-ageing supplements necessary when eating a healthy diet? Johannesburg’s Dr. Sindeep Bhana, specialist physician, endocrinologist specializing in anti-ageing techniques is a firm proponent of taking vitamins.

“Ageing starts at an early age, thus preventative measures should start when young and be monitored regularly,” he claims.

Dr. Bhana’s personal regime of supplements include

  • Essential Omega 3 and GLA 1 000 mg daily, Vitamin C 1 000mg daily, calcium (containing magnesium and Vitamin D) 1 200 mg in divided doses
  • Co-Enzyme Q10 – 100mg daily
  • N-Acetyl-Cysteine x 1 daily and he recommends a good multi vitam like Solgar V2 000 which contains enough B6, B12, folic acid, zinc and selenium for people not eating a diet rich in fresh veg and fruit and vegetarians.
  • He also believes its’ important to establish one’s hormone profile in the late 20’s and early 30’s’ while hormones are at their peak.
  • He says hormones shouldn’t be artificially manipulated if they are within normal ageing level reference. Anti-ageing hormones to concentrate on are oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, thyroid; HGH, insulin and cortisol.


The scary thing is that most people receive up to 80 percent of their lifetime sun damage before the age of 18, and in the past 75 years’ we have had more sun exposure than ever before which increases the rate at which skin ages.To the rescue come cosmetics, dermatologists, plastic surgeons with the latest high tech creams, waves of dermatological lasers, lights, and energy devices promising effective fixes for almost every imperfection from wrinkles to cellulite.

Young women aren’t hanging around waiting for the future if it isn’t going to be pretty. They’re taking preventive measures.  Indeed, in the past year the Transform Cosmetic Surgery Group, the UK’s biggest provider of cosmetic surgery, has seen a 10 percent increase in 20-something women having non invasive treatments.  But, predictably for women and many men of all ages there is an ongoing hike in under 30s’ having Botox.Botox is top of the pops in terms of numbers of patients wanting a quick fix. Still!

For the few uninitiated, Botox is a purified protein injected into the muscles of the upper face, paralyzing facial muscle function and thereby preventing creases such as crow’s feet, and frown lines from forming.  The effects last for about thee months.  When treatment stops, muscles will work as before and creases will reappear.  However, if you have wrinkles caused by muscle movement, frown lines, forehead lines, crow’s feet, they will respond to Botox, and effectively therefore, if you use Botox from a young age, creasing of the skin begins much later on in life. 

If by the age of 50, you’ve been frowning for only 10 years instead of 30 years, it’s reasonable to assume your wrinkles will not be as deep, so starting anti-ageing procedures sooner rather than later is a savvy move.A growing number of 20-somethings are also paying regular visits to cosmetic surgeons for anti-ageing procedures such as chemical peels, dermal fillers (injections replacing lost volume in the lower face and lips), and microdermabrasion to remove dead skin cell layers thus revealing  the plumper underneath epidermal cells. 

Dr. Maureen Allem, aesthetic practitioner of Skin Renewal practice also says, “Start young and you remain looking young,” Problem is there is so much new technology it’s hard to know what works best.

Allem gives a brief overview and rundown on the large array of lasers, which culminates in her newest acquisition, the Pearl™, a new wavelength in dermatology. The Titan laser is used for tightening skin on face, arms, legs, tummy and bottom.

Titan uses a safe infrared light to heat the dermis beneath the skin’s surface. This causes immediate collagen contraction, re-draping of the overlying skin and long term collagen stimulation which results in  a more youthful complexion with less lines, folds or looseness of the skin.Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) device has been around for about 10 years and is one of the most popular devices’ for treating superficial sun spots and pigmentation on the face, chest and hands.

Laser Genesis procedure utilizes non invasive laser technology to gently heat up the superficial collagen in the dermis which then remodels.  Fine lines, wrinkles, pores, texture, acne scars, redness, and sun damage may improve after a series of 4 to 6 treatments. One can expect to see subtle yet consistent results.

The 3 D laser rejuvenation  by  Cutera  is one of the most effective non ablative  skin rejuvenation solutions available and involves combining the above  three clinical applications: Titan,  IPL  and Laser Genesis.  Separately each clinical application presents a powerful solution for the fastest growing procedures with no downtime. The above 3 procedures can be combined with Microdermabrasion and Transdermal Mesotherapy to give superior results.

The laser treatments stimulate the cells (fibroblasts) in the dermis that make collagen and elastin. After a series of 5 treatment sessions, the tone, texture and tightening of one’s skin becomes evident and it is said to improve with each passing month.

The much heralded Pearl laser procedure is a minimally invasive technology that renews the skin’s surface by treating fine lines, texture, age spots, and sun damage without sedation or wound care. The patient needs fewer treatments and less overall downtime than other technologies. Results are seen in as little as one treatment.

Fraxel® Laser Treatment is a safe, non-invasive procedure that targets ageing and damaged skin by creating microscopic "wounds" within the targeted areas that penetrate well beneath the skin's outermost layer.  The Fraxel Laser treatments trigger the body's own natural production of new collagen and skin cells.  It improves texture, tone, open pores, and acne scars and blemished skin. Downtime is often not necessary and swelling is minimal, generally resolved in 2 to 3 days. Generally, a series of 3 to 5 treatments are necessary to achieve the desired result as only 20 % of the skin gets’ treated at each session. For body and facial contouring comes the Pollogen™ which uses Tripolar radiofrequency for cellulite  and fat reduction by simultaneously heating deep and shallow tissue layers all the while protecting the surface skin. This heating increases the temperature of fat cells, increases ones metabolism and results in the release of liquid fat from the fat cells. After release of liquid fat, the fat cells shrink in size and skin gets’ restored closer to original form, reducing or eliminating the cellulite appearance.

Pollogen is also effective for facial and body skin tightening, collagen contraction, re-draping the overlying skin and making it easier and faster to smooth, tighten and regenerate the skin’s collagen without any injections, surgery or downtime.What’s the deal with traditional plastic surgery? Has it taken a back seat to lasers?

No. Plastic surgery is here to stay.  It is still the fastest growing surgery worldwide.

Johannesburg based plastic surgeon Professor Alan Widgerow says the most popular rejuvenation procedures are eyelids, breasts, liposuction, tummy tucks and face lifts. “Tummy tuck takes years off one’s age when seen in clothing or costume,”   A flat tummy is very complimentary to the body and a great confidence booster.  Liposuction is also very popular, but he adds, selection is extremely important.  Skin tone must be adequate for shrinkage after the procedure.Vectors for face and neck lifts have changed.  More vertical face lifting is reversing the direction of ageing downwards, rather than the old posterior (backward) face lift that created unnatural results, and different techniques are being used for tightening muscle.

He is not in favour of mini lifts which usually produce mini results and says usually a full incision needs to be made, anterior and posterior to the ear to produce appropriate results. 

Dr. David Eccleston, an aesthetic physician and UK trainer in Botox adds a realistic spin to the anti ageing saga. “Even if you have different treatments and Botox your face you might have fewer lines and your wrinkles won’t be so deep, but you’re still going to get the effects of alcohol, tobacco, sun-ageing and gravity.” In other words unless you’re planning on living in a bubble for the rest of your life (and even that can’t fight genetics), your skin is going to age.

Consultant plastic surgeon and council member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, Rajiv Grover has the last word.  “Sun protection, a healthy diet, moisturising, drinking water, not smoking and getting enough sleep will make more difference to your skin than banging in a bit of Botox.”

Ref: Ashleigh Caradas: Dietician 082 856 3374
Dr. Sindeep Bhana Centre For Medical Excellence: 011 684 0900
Professor Alan Widgerow: Linksfield Clinic 011 485 2080
Dr Maureen Allemt Skin Renewal  Parkhurst 011 4479731
Skin Renewal  Fourways 0114678742
Skin Renewal  Rivonia 011 8070934
Leisure Isle Lodge Knysna 044 3840462
Cape Town 021 7975001 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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