You’ve probably heard that things like smoking cigarettes and drinking too much alcohol can make you age faster. But it turns out, there are many health habits that contribute to the way you age, including your diet. The food you eat can actually make a huge difference in the way you look.
Eating an overall healthy diet is the best way to make sure you look and feel youthful. But if you indulge in these foods on a regular basis, you may want to cut way back on them or eliminate them from your diet entirely. Your body will thank you.
Candy and other sweets
Too much sugar is bad for your body, that we know. But it can also make you look older. Sugar overload can kickstart a process called glycation, which damages your skin’s collagen. It can also cause tooth discoloration and decay, which ages you as well.
Salty foods, while often delicious, dehydrate the body. Being chronically dehydrated ages you fast. If you’d rather retain your youthful glow, keep the sodium-rich foods to a minimum and drink extra water when you do indulge.
While too much alcohol in general can age you by causing wrinkles and loss of skin elasticity, white wine falls into its own category because of the damage it does to your teeth. While red wine can stain your smile immediately, the acid in white wine damages your enamel and makes your teeth more prone to permanent stains. If you love your pinot grigio, make sure to brush your teeth as soon as possible after drinking it.
Skip the fried chicken on your next picnic. Fried foods contribute to the collagen breakdown in your skin that makes you look wrinkled.
Hot dogs, sausage, deli meat, and bacon might taste good, but they’re often loaded with sulfites and other preservatives, which trigger inflammation in the skin. This can accelerate the process of aging — plus, the sodium in processed meats can make you look puffy.
You’ve probably known for years that trans fats are terrible for your health in general. While natural trans fats are fine in moderation, artificial trans fats are created by pumping hydrogen molecules into vegetable oils. This changes the chemical structure of the oil, turning it from a liquid into a solid.
Also, the unhealthy fats can make you more vulnerable to UV damage, which is the top cause of aging, according a preliminary mouse study published in Lipids. If a label has “partially hydrogenated oil” on it, avoid that food.
It probably comes as no surprise that fast food ages you. After all, it has numerous ingredients already on this list, like salt, sugar, and trans fat. Plus, fast food is one of the largest contributing factors to obesity, which can age you fast. Obesity can lead to a host of other health problems, like diabetes and high cholesterol, which can make you look older as well.
Of course, nothing is going to age you overnight, so don’t panic if you enjoy a little candy or a drive thru cheeseburger now and then. As long as your standard diet includes plenty of nutritious foods and lots of water, indulging on occasion won’t hurt you.
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