5 Anti-Ageing Cooking Rules To Live By (And They’re Really Easy!)

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  • Star of Channel 4's How Not To Get Old and author of Eat Yourself Young Elizabeth Peyton-Jones tells us how to combat ageing, every time we enter the kitchen. Here's how...

    Want glowing skin, glossy hair, bright eyes, a lean body AND high energy levels? The kind of happy, shiny, healthy ‘great’ where you feel as good inside as you look on the outside? Well, the quickest and most effective way to achieve this is to change what you EAT. That may sound unbelievable, but it’s true. The typical symptoms of ageing are now considered to be around 75% from accumulated cell damage due to lifestyle and diet, and only 25% genetic.

    Which means… it’s time to change your diet. Here are my 5 ultimate cooking rues to live by, to make you look and feel younger. Right now.

    1. Don’t cook at all (for one meal a day)
    Adding raw food to your diet is essential to ensure your enzyme activity, nutrition and overall vitality remains boosted and youthful. Remember that it’s not the food in your life, but the life in your food that counts, and with raw food you can guarantee that it is packed with antioxidants and youth-busting vitamins and minerals. Cooking food higher than 118ºF (48ºC) can kill the naturally occurring enzymes which are essential for digestion and repair. Try and eat at least one raw meal a day.

    2. Sugar is the enemy
    How can you avoid it? You can get sweetness into food by adding home-made apricot paste instead of processed sugar, by using natural fruit sugars from dried fruits (eg mashed-up Medjool dates), by making fruit concentrates (boiling fruit until thick) – or by juicing raw fruits then adding either the juice or pulp as a sweetener, if you’re eating raw.

    3. Banish salt for lemon
    Or if you miss salt too much, start cooking with vegetables that give a salty kick without adding any sodium chloride. Add seaweeds such as samphire or kombu to your main dishes, curries, casseroles and stews – or add salty-tasting veg like steamed celery or spinach straight to the plate.

    4. Avoid cooking with fat
    Try to cook without fat wherever possible – especially ‘bad’ fats that change their structure when heated to produce anti-youthing free radicals (that’s corn oil, safflower, soya, sunflower and generic ‘vegetable’ oils). Instead, use coconut oil or oils that contain mostly monosaturates (rapeseed, avocado or olive oil), which are more stable when heated. When roasting veg (potatoes, sweet potatoes, beetroot, onions etc) simply dry roast in the oven (no oil) – they are naturally delicious.

    5. Steam-fry foods
    It’s easy. Put a heavy-based frying pan or saucepan on a medium heat for a few minutes until hot – but not smoking. Put half a teaspoonful of oil into the pan, to coat it and prevent sticking. Add 4-6 tablespoons of water (more if you need it). Wait until the water is bubbling, then add whatever food you want to fry and cook as normal. Super low-cal and all-round good for you. Job done.

    Elizabeth Peyton-Jones is the author of Eat Yourself Young (Quadrille, £12.99) and stars on Channel 4’s How Not To Get Old.

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