There are many different factors that determine how fast you age, and how aging shows up on your skin. Although your genes have a lot to do with this process, there are several other things that affect how you age. You may already know that smoking and too much sun exposure is not good for your skin, but your diet plays a big role as well. And while keeping track of your diet is easier said than done, remembering just how much what you eat affects your skin, can help. Keep reading to learn more about popular foods and beverages you probably consume every day that are making you age faster – and what you can replace them with.
#1 White Bread And Pasta
Foods with a high glycemic index, like white bread and pasta, can cause inflammation in the body – which is directly linked to the aging process. Refined carbs, in general, not only accelerate the aging of your skin, but they can also cause acne and rosacea. Try healthier alternatives – such as whole wheat pasta or bread. Sprouted grain breads in particular, contain no added sugar and are high in antioxidants that are good for your skin.
One of the most infamous contributors to unwanted wrinkles and other skin problems is sugar! Sugar damages your skin through a natural process called glycation. The sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins and produces Advanced Glycation End Products that damage the healthy proteins around them. Collagen and Elastin are the most vulnerable proteins of the bunch – which also happen to be the building blocks for your skin. They become stiff and brittle once attacked, and lose their elasticity. The effects can be seen as sagging and noticeable wrinkles on your face. If you’re craving something sweet, try grabbing some fruit instead. Blueberries are especially great since they can prevent the loss of collagen.
Research shows that people who don’t consume margarine have less skin damage than those who do. The biggest problem with margarine is that it’s high in partially hydrogenated oils. These trans fatty acids make your skin more vulnerable to ultraviolet radiation – which can damage its collagen and elasticity. Instead, try some olive oil, or spread some avocado on your toast.
#4 Processed Meats
Hot dogs, bacon, sausage and other popular processed meats can be harmful to the skin. They have a high concentration of salt, saturated fats, and sulfite – all of which dehydrate your skin, weaken its collagen, and cause inflammation. Leaner meats like chicken or turkey are a much better choice. These meats are packed with proteins – essential in the natural formation of collagen. Eggs or beans are a good swap as well.
#5 Dairy Products
There seem to be a lot of mixed feelings when it comes to dairy. Some people have seen positive skin changes from cutting dairy from their diet, while others haven’t really noticed any significant difference. Like lactose intolerance, it really just depends on the person. That being said, dairy has been shown to cause increased inflammation and oxidative stress that leads to premature aging. What’s more, research suggests that sun-exposed skin is better protected from wrinkling in those who consume less dairy products. And even though there’s an ongoing debate about calcium absorption and dairy products, calcium is essential to overall skin health. Thankfully, there are plenty of great sources of calcium – such as dark leafy greens, beans, almonds, seeds, and figs.
#6 French Fries
Who doesn’t love French fries? They are tasty and satisfying – but unfortunately, salty, fried foods are not good for the skin. The frying process releases free radicals that cause cellular damage to the skin. This accelerates the aging process through cross-linking – an action that affects DNA molecules and weakens skin’s elasticity. Furthermore, too much salt draws water out of the skin and dehydrates it – making it more prone to wrinkles. Try passing up this junk food for one equally as tasty – baked sweet potato fries. Sweet potatoes are rich in copper – which helps in collagen production, and helps promote skin hydration. Also, if you’re indulging in other fried foods regularly, you might want to consider baking a healthier version instead.
#7 Rice Cakes
Rice cakes are often touted as a good snack, but when it comes to skin, the opposite is true. Rice cakes (and most crackers for that matter) have a high glycemic index and cause spikes in blood sugar levels. And as I explained earlier, increased blood sugar levels cause inflammation and accelerate aging. For a much healthier crunchy snack, try some red bell pepper strips with hummus. Red bell peppers are high in vitamin C – another essential factor for collagen formation; and chickpeas are packed with protein, and antioxidants as well.
#8 Coffee And Soda
What these popular beverages do to your health has more to do with sleep. Coffee and soda are both high in caffeine – and if you consume them frequently throughout the day, they could be messing with your sleep. Poor sleep has been linked to increased signs of aging – including dark circles under the eyes, and more fine lines and wrinkles. See if you can decrease the amount of these caffeinated beverages, or swap them for healthier alternatives – such as herbal teas. Rooibos tea for example is a rich source of polyphenols that act as powerful antioxidants in the body. In fact, rooibos may help alleviate several skin problems – including acne, pimples, sunburns, and uneven skin.
#9 Alcoholic Drinks
When it comes to your skin, alcohol consumption can cause a host of problems – like redness, puffiness, and wrinkles. Alcohol depletes nutrients and it dehydrates you. It also lowers your vitamin A levels, and that’s unfortunate because Vitamin A is especially important when it comes to collagen production and new cell growth. While a glass of wine or a shot of liquor every now and then is fine, experimenting with fun and creative mocktails can be just as satisfying.
Unfortunately, aging is inevitable. It’s a natural process that everyone goes through. However, you can do your best to slow down the process – by avoiding the foods and beverages listed in this post and replacing them with healthier, more nutritious options. Try being as mindful of your eating habits as possible, and implement these positive changes for a healthier body now and long into the future.