Anti Aging Tips: 10 Foods That are Aging You
As we age, our body gradually loses elastin, which makes our skin look smooth and supple, and the shape of our face changes too. The subcutaneous support between our skin and muscles slackens, which makes our skin wrinkle, and our skin becomes more fragile and transparent. One thing that causes the aging process to accelerate are free radicals, unstable oxygen molecules that can lead to damaged, wrinkled skin. Poor quality food also causes inflammation, which can damage the collagen in our skin. Collagen is a protein that helps lend structure to connective tissue in our body.
Many people think of skincare as the regimen that they have to go through if they want to reverse the effects of aging on their skin and return it to the way it looked when they were 21 years old. Unfortunately, the signs of aging are incredibly hard to reverse, and the best way to ensure that our skin transitions well into old age is to stop the damage before it starts. There are lots of things that cause damage to skin. Some of the worst culprits are smoking, and sun exposure without adequate UV protection. The food that we eat also has a huge effect on our skin.
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There are lots of things that we can do to make sure our diet supports healthy, younger-looking skin. There are lots of foods that cause inflammation and are full of unhealthy fats and oils that will only speed up the aging process. Here are some of the worst culprits.
Everyone loves candy. A sweet handful of gummy worms or a piece of decadent fudge is more than some people can resist some days. However, all that sugar entering your body at once can lead to a process called glycation, where the excess sugar molecules combine with proteins to create an end product that can damage the collagen in your skin.
It’s also really easy for candy to get stuck in our teeth, leading to cavities and dental damage that will make your teeth look yellow and discolored. If you treat yourself to some candy, brush your teeth afterwards or swish some mouthwash to mitigate the damage.
Margarine was initially invented as an imitation butter that would be shelf stable and was made from an emulsion of beef fat and water. Now, margarine brands are desperately trying to make their product healthier by using vegetable fats, but they’re unable to get away from the fact that margarine is full of trans fats, which are capable of destroying the hydration in our skin. The faster our skin loses hydration, the easier it is for wrinkles and age lines to creep in.
While it’s true that there are some fats that are positive overall, the trans fats in margarine have never been one of them, even though their marketing department has been trying their best to make you think otherwise for years.
Even though they’re crazy convenient, it’s time to say goodbye to microwave meals and frozen dinners. It may feel like you’re “cooking” at home by peeling open a package and zapping it for five minutes, but these little meals are not only never as good as what we could make from scratch, they’re also full of sodium, which makes our body retain water, leading to puffy, unhealthy looking skin. The high amount of sodium comes from gigantic amounts of salt, which is the only way that these companies have been able to convince us that their products taste good.
Energy drinks are another type of convenience food that has made its way deep into our normal everyday eating habits. Many people reach for a Red Bull, Rockstar, or Monster energy drink almost every day, in order to make themselves feel more awake and ready to face the day.
These drinks pump you full of caffeine, sodium, and sugar. The caffeine and sodium lead to dehydration, which can affect the healthy moisture levels in our skin, while the sugar is intensely damaging to healthy teeth. If you’re in need of a natural pick-me-up in the morning, try diffusing a blend of orange and lemongrass essential oil, then drinking a big glass of water.
Hot dogs are just one example of a processed meat product that can do a lot of damage to your skin if consumed frequently. Hot dogs, bacon, sausages, and all our other summer barbecue favorites are unfortunately full of preservatives and saturated fats that can lead to inflammation in the body. The preservatives are also guilty of creating free radicals in the body, unstable atoms that damage healthy cells, causing illness and accelerating the signs of aging. Many people blame free radicals for causing enough damage to lead to illnesses like cancer. If you really don’t want to miss out on barbecuing this summer, reach for healthier options to put on the grill, like veggie kabobs or whole cuts of organic, unprocessed meat.
The high sugar content in baked goods like doughnuts, pastries, and other delicious treats is damaging to skin in multiple ways. Sugar can cause inflammation, which leads to breakouts, and red, puffy skin that just looks unhealthy. Excessive amounts of sugar can also inhibit the production of collagen and elastin, two things that make our skin appear firmer, more youthful, and wrinkle-free.
If you just need your fix, try reaching for a piece of fruit. You’ll at least get some healthy fiber along with the sugar.
It’s probably not that surprising that French fries are not great for our body — skin included. When we deep fry any food, we expose the oil and fat inside the ingredients to extremely high temperatures, which is one process that leads to the formation of free radicals. Free radicals can do a lot of damage to our body, including our skin.
Another reason why you should choose anything other than fries is that most restaurants fry their French fries in corn oil, which has been shown to produce free radicals at a high temperature. The next time you’re offered fries on the side, ask for a salad, or even a baked potato, or learn how to make oven fries at home, without using a deep fryer.
Alcohol is surrounded by a lot of myths and stigma, and the general consensus is that a small amount of alcohol is actually good for you. It’s only when you’re talking about drinking to excess or drinking types of alcohol that are high in sugar that consumption of it is problematic.
Alcohol is a natural diuretic, which removes moisture from the skin, and can also cause rosacea and exacerbate fine lines and wrinkles. If you still want to indulge in a drink or two occasionally, that’s totally fine. Reach for tipples that are lower in sugar like wine, champagne, and vodka mixed with sparkling water instead of sugary frozen or mixed drinks. And whatever you do, don’t make your liver work overtime by getting too drunk.
Many people who are frightened by all the negative statistics around sugar and its potential to damage and inflame the skin often reach for agave as a “healthy” substitute. Not many people know this, but agave is not as healthy as its marketing department would lead you to believe. Yes, it contains more natural compounds than a sweetener like high fructose corn syrup, but it is also packed with fructose, a substance that our livers turn into fat. Once our liver has a hold of fructose, it starts to break down our collagen, which leads to more noticeable fine lines and wrinkles.
Many people enjoy the intense flavors of charred meat, but did you know that it’s full of a compound called hydrocarbons, which inflame skin and break down collagen?
The less collagen we have in our bodies, the more apparent our fine lines and wrinkles appear to be. If you love a good grilled steak, you can still indulge. Just don’t let it get burned to a crisp, and make sure to clear the charred black ash off your grill afterwards, so you’re not consuming it on everything else you make.