A-list nutritionist GABRIELA PEACOCK reveals simple secrets to look younger in just two weeks

Share This Post


How many times have you heard health experts extolling the virtues of a healthy diet, regular exercise, relaxation and good sleep? Well, my message is different. I believe the key to looking years younger than your chronological age, is to incorporate a controlled element of stress into your day.

I know modern life can seem pretty tough at times, but the truth is we are biologically designed to survive in conditions that are far more challenging than the ones in which we live.

Sedentary jobs, ever-available processed food and central heating mean our bodies have become lazy.

But apply a burst of discomfort in the form of a short period without food, or a freezing dip in a lake, and you trigger a process in every cell in your body.

This process, called hormesis, calls on your cells to react to the stressor in a bid to prepare you for what they believe could be tough times ahead. Your body immediately starts clearing up any damaged cells or stimulating their repair through another process called autophagy.

Whatever your age or state of health, it¿s never too late to reverse how quickly you are aging and embrace the energy and vigour of a younger you (pictured: Gabriela Peacock)

Whatever your age or state of health, it’s never too late to reverse how quickly you are aging and embrace the energy and vigour of a younger you (pictured: Gabriela Peacock)

This acts like a dramatic cellular spring clean which leaves you feeling stronger and more resilient both biologically and emotionally.

It is an efficient recycling process in which the beneficial results vastly outweigh the initial stress that the cells experience and it can create extraordinary life-extending results including increased energy levels, better sleep, sharper thinking, bolstered immunity, balanced digestion and healthy weight loss.

Which is why I have incorporated these principles into my new book, 2 Weeks To A Younger You, which is being serialised by the Mail this weekend. You’ll find delicious nutrient-packed recipes in today’s Weekend Magazine and tomorrow’s You Magazine and an exclusive two-week meal planner on Mail+.

If you follow the guiding principles of my lifestyle plan, you will start to slow the aging process immediately, reverse the destructive spiral of fatigue and ill-health within days, and start to look and feel considerably younger within just two weeks.

As a former model I know I’m lucky to have been blessed with some good genes, and, so far, those genes have helped me stay pretty young-looking for my age (43).

But as a nutritionist I am aware of the impact our diet and lifestyle can have on those genes, and I have focused my research and my work on helping my clients do everything they possibly can to slow the ageing process.

Studies consistently prove the extent to which our environment and the choices we make in everyday life can impact how fast or how well we age. The science is clear that we all have the power to make huge and life-changing alterations to our future selves, no matter what genetic hand we might have been dealt or what we might have been through.

The truth is we do horrible things to ourselves all the time: eating processed food, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, serving food cooked in non-stick pans, inhaling city pollutants and drinking water from plastic bottles.

Together, these factors work to accelerate the aging process. But if we choose to step up and take part in our body’s daily efforts to keep us upright and alive, we have the potential to completely reshape our future — fast.

Whatever your age or state of health, it’s never too late to reverse how quickly you are aging and embrace the energy and vigour of a younger you.

Shrink your eating window

If you want to dial up the volume on the body’s process of clearing redundant cells and regenerating new ones (autophagy), the best way is to temporarily deprive the body of nutrients for short periods. I’m not talking about starvation — what I advocate is short, concentrated spells of calorie restriction and time —restricted eating.

Cutting back on food intake every so often is a great way to trigger autophagy. When glucose supplies in the blood and energy reserves in the muscles and liver are exhausted and the body is forced to rely on fat stores for fuel, this creates a state called ketosis.

If you want to dial up the volume on the body¿s process of clearing redundant cells and regenerating new ones (autophagy), the best way is to temporarily deprive the body of nutrients for short periods

If you want to dial up the volume on the body’s process of clearing redundant cells and regenerating new ones (autophagy), the best way is to temporarily deprive the body of nutrients for short periods

It sets in motion a series of changes in the body that slows biological ageing, switches on longevity genes, bolsters the immune system, reduces chronic inflammation (which is a powerful accelerator for the aging process), increases energy levels and sharpens mental clarity and brain function.

The cardiovascular system becomes more robust, as does the digestive system and the microbiome in your gut.

The idea of ‘fasting’ is wrapped up in the negativity of hunger and deprivation, and it just isn’t sustainable long-term. But time‑restricted eating (TRE), in which you limit calories for two or three days a week and shorten the daily window in which you eat, is truly transformative for the body. In all my years as a nutritionist, the profound physical and mental changes TRE has produced in my clients in such a short period of time never fails to amaze me.

I love it not only because its foundations are in science, but also because it’s sustainable.

TRE enables people to take control of their general health, mental health, weight, sleep, energy levels and more with minimal disruption.

One great bonus of TRE is that it is the most researched and impactful form of weight loss, too, which is important because being overweight can reduce life expectancy by several years. Maintaining a healthy weight throughout your life is one of the most significant investments you can make in your long-term health.

To capitalise on its age-defying benefits, I recommend a combination of restricting calorie intake to 700 calories for a few days (which is just enough to stop you feeling hungry, but low enough that your body thinks you’re fasting), or simply extending your night-time fast to 16 hours and eating in a smaller eight-hour window (this form of TRE is called 16:8).

My brilliantly effective longevity plan incorporates an element of both formats. All you have to do is pick two consecutive days each week when you will commit to sticking to 700 calories (opting for vegan sources of protein rather than animal proteins if you can), and then eat mindfully and healthily for the rest of the week (following healthy eating principles and keeping your meals 20 per cent smaller than normal).

Whether you are on a 700-calorie day or not, it’s good to get into the long-term habit of eating within an eight-hour window (following a 16:8 pattern where you fast for 16 hours overnight).

The two-week meal plan I’ve devised, which you’ll find on the Mail+ Diet Planner, is an excellent spring clean for healthy aging with the added benefit of weight loss.

When your two weeks are up, you can continue enjoying my delicious recipes, and maintain your weight and renewed state of health without calorie restriction, by following my guiding principles and sticking to a 16:8 pattern, only eating within an eight-hour window.

If you want to turbo-charge your vitality fortnight, you can always choose to kickstart each week as I do with a 24-hour fast.

It might sound tough, but in reality it is no more tricky than shutting the kitchen after supper on Sunday, and keeping going through Monday by sipping black coffee, green tea and lots of water, then joining the family for a nourishing evening meal.

To find out more about my food philosophy, go to gpnutrition.com

MEDICAL NOTE: My eating plans are designed for adults with a healthy BMI. If you have any concerns or health conditions you should always discuss them with your GP before starting on a new plan.

Eat ‘stressed’ plants

My ultimate longevity plan works best when you stick to key nutrition principles both on calorie-restricted days and on other days when you are eating mindfully.

Protein should always be front and centre of each meal because it carries out so many important jobs in the body, and I recommend choosing plant proteins (quinoa, soya, tofu, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds) over animal sources (particularly red meat) when possible, to speed the autophagy process.

Keep away from sugary carbohydrates and maximise your intake of fibrous vegetables and wholegrains. Chronic inflammation is one of the worst enemies of longevity. It can influence how the body gains weight, the development of biochemical imbalances and illnesses, energy and hormonal levels and sleep quality — everything from how you feel to how you look.

Managing inflammation will, therefore, have a huge impact on how the body ages.

Some of these polyphenol-rich ¿sirtfoods¿ are more famous than others ¿ resveratrol, for example, is found in red wine but there are others in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and kale

Some of these polyphenol-rich ‘sirtfoods’ are more famous than others — resveratrol, for example, is found in red wine but there are others in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and kale

So, it’s important to ensure your diet contains a broad mix of anti-inflammatory foods such as essential fatty acids (such as oily fish) sulphurous foods (such as kale, cabbage and cauliflower), brightly coloured red, orange and green fruit and vegetables (including super greens such as green tea, matcha, wheatgrass, spirulina and chlorella), sprouted seeds and beans and plenty of herbs and spices.

But most important of all, pack your plate with ‘stressed’ plants.

As plants can’t run away from stressful situations, they instead produce plant stress chemicals called polyphenols to protect them from predators and damage from insects, foraging animals, or excessive exposure to strong sunlight.

Polyphenols are compounds in the edible parts of plants. They also give plants their colour (the darker the better, just so you know), taste and smell.

When we eat a stressed plant, these phytonutrients are digested and used by our bodies to stimulate cellular protective mechanisms, helping us to become stronger, healthier and more resilient against factors like UV exposure, harmful bacteria and pollutants — and ultimately improve longevity.

The polyphenols have been shown to stimulate specialised longevity genes to release enzymes called sirtuins which trigger autophagy and help to repairdamaged DNA, clearing out redundant cells, preserving energy, streamlining efficiency and increasing the speed at which chemical reactions take place.

It is the ultimate in personal maintenance. What turns autophagy from a kitten to a lion is sirtuin activation, which is why they are considered the most important genes of all when it comes to longevity.

They also slow down the rate at which telomeres begin to shorten. These are the caps that sit on the end of a chromosome like a bottle top which naturally fray and shorten with age. Their influence on the ageing process is huge.

All this, and they’re packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, too.

Some of these polyphenol-rich ‘sirtfoods’ are more famous than others — resveratrol, for example, is found in red wine but there are others in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and kale; and quercetin, found in onions, citrus fruit and green tea.

My recipes (in Weekend Magazine today and in You Magazine tomorrow) are designed to be packed with sirtfoods, but you can maximise your intake by filling your shopping trolley with apples, citrus fruit (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits), strawberries, blueberries, Medjool dates, celery, capers, parsley, rocket, kale, red onions, chillies, red chicory, soya, buckwheat, walnuts, turmeric, extra-virgin olive oil, green tea, red wine and cocoa (in the form of dark chocolate).

Take a cold shower or visit a sauna

The intense heat of a sauna or stream room and the sudden chill of a cold shower, or leaping into an icy lake, triggers the activation of stress proteins in our cells

The intense heat of a sauna or stream room and the sudden chill of a cold shower, or leaping into an icy lake, triggers the activation of stress proteins in our cells

Try these

  • Don’t be afraid of being cold. Anything from exercising outdoors in winter to sleeping with fewer covers helps to build resilience
  • Try a few seconds of cold water at the end of your shower, building to 1–2 minutes before switching to warm water for the same amount of time
  • Get in the habit of visiting a sauna and alternate ten to 15 minutes in a sauna or steam room, followed by 1-2 minutes in a cold shower or cold plunge pool. Repeat three or four times so the body doesn’t adapt too quickly
  • Try cold water swimming or ice baths, but take it easy — your body needs to adjust, and the benefits come even from short exposure

One great way to harness the benefits of age-defying ‘hermetic’ stress is to expose your body to brief periods of extreme heat or cold. The intense heat of a sauna or stream room and the sudden chill of a cold shower, or leaping into an icy lake, triggers the activation of stress proteins in our cells.

Proteins are the main component of a cell and essential to its health, fulfilling their role by going through a process called ‘protein folding’. However, proteins can fold incorrectly, potentially cluttering the cell, and unhealthy cells like these can lead to the development of diseases or premature ageing.

A blast of heat or cold causes a mini stress which stimulates the release of chemical messengers to target any cells containing badly folding proteins. These messengers intervene and help them properly refold. They also support new proteins by ensuring they fold in the right way.

It’s the ultimate cellular laundry service, working away to help you look and feel younger. Cold exposure can also prompt the conversion of white fat (the inactive storage kind) to brown fat (the metabolic kind that burns energy like muscle) and helps to balance cholesterol and insulin levels and keep arteries and bones healthy.

The resulting health benefits are off the scale: increased energy, glowing skin, blood pumping and an invigorated mind, all wrapped up with an improved longevity bow.

Get moving!

Physical activity may take energy, but it also produces energy, and this is extremely significant when it comes to longevity.

Ninety per cent of the body’s energy comes from mitochondria, the batteries of cells. But the ageing process slows down the production of mitochondria, which leaves us feeling tired.

Exercise not only helps build muscle, but also has a cellular effect on the body, urging your mitochondria to up their game and produce more energy to keep up.

It activates our longevity genes, and helps the body flush out dysfunctional, redundant cells that can cause multiple health issues. It reduces damaging chronic inflammation and creates a healthier environment in which the body’s systems are able to thrive.

Much research has shown exercise to be one of the most effective methods of improving how the body ages and the best forms for longevity are the more strenuous, sweaty, out-of-breath or resistance training kinds.

Be wary of plastics

The liver is one of the hardest-working organs in the body, and a healthy, robust liver is your ally for longevity, so it pays to ease its workload by minimising exposure to chemicals from plastic bottles, food containers and food wrap, cleaning products, washing detergents and chemically enhanced non-stick pans.

I recommend replacing plastic containers with glass or stainless steel, silicone lids and pouches, and beeswax wraps. Swap chemical washing detergents and cleaning products with eco-friendly, organic equivalents and replace old or scratched non-stick pans with stainless steel, enamel, ceramic or cast-iron alternatives.

We have the potential to absorb harmful chemicals through the skin so check the labels on your beauty products. The worst culprits to avoid are parabens, sulphates, artificial fragrance and phthalates.

Choose mineral sunscreens, which sit on the skin without being absorbed like their chemical-based counterparts and replace as many products as possible with natural or organic alternatives.

It makes sense to opt for natural products on your body’s larger surface area if you’re committed to sticking with your favourite chemical products on your face.

If you are wedded to a non-organic haircare brand, try washing your hair upside down in the shower — step out of the water and stick just your head under it, instead of letting the product wash over your body as you rinse.

Reduce the chemical intake of your favourite perfume by spraying it onto your clothes rather than your skin. You’ll still smell like a goddess, but with a healthier liver.

Why sugar is the enemy

Refined sugar is the mortal enemy of longevity; over-consumption of it is one of the primary causes of chronic inflammation.

Sugar stimulates the liver to produce fatty acids, and as the body tries to digest them, they release compounds that trigger the inflammatory process. The more sugar you eat, the worse it gets.

And don’t be fooled by the promise of ‘zero calories’. The taste of artificial sweeteners has been shown to still trigger the release of insulin, as happens with normal sugar, causing blood sugar imbalance, cravings and even weight gain.

  • Adapted from 2 Weeks To A Younger You: Secrets To Living Longer & Feeling Fantastic, by Gabriela Peacock, to be published by Kyle Books on May 25 at £25. © Gabriela Peacock 2023. To order a copy for £20 (offer valid to June 3, 2023, UK P&P free on orders over £25), visitmail shop.co.uk/books, or call 020 3176 2937.



Source link

Related Posts

Weight Loss Treatment: A Comprehensive Guide to Achieving Your Goals

In today’s fast-paced world, issues related to weight loss...

Exploring the Beauty of Liquid Chiffon Fabric: A Guide to Wholesale Purchase

Liquid chiffon fabric, a delicate and luxurious material, has...

Navigating the Lafayette Apartment Market: Tips for First-Time Renters

Moving into your first apartment in Lafayette, Louisiana, is...

Passive RFID Vs. Active RFID: Key Differences And Use Cases

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology has revolutionized various industries by...

Airbrush Mastery: Secrets for a Perfect Complexion

In the pursuit of a flawless complexion, the airbrush...

Seven Signs of a Reputable SEO Agency and Digital Marketing Company

Selecting a proficient SEO agency is crucial for any...
- Advertisement -spot_img