We get it — some of the tastiest foods are also some of the unhealthiest. While we have no qualms about indulging in some sugar-coated strawberries or deliciously greasy French fries, we also know that overindulgence can have negative consequences, one of which is sped-up aging. Before you go smothering your toast in butter or loading up a ballpark hotdog, think twice about how it will affect your body’s natural aging process, and consider swapping it out with an alternative instead.
When refined carbs, such as white bread, integrate with protein, it causes the formation of advanced glycation end products. AGEs directly contributes to both chronic illness, inflammation and the aging process.
Instead of opting for processed white bread, choose a bread that has whole and natural grains. Make sure the loaf contains no added sugars.
If age doesn’t scare you, consider your complexion. Sprouted grains are proven to promote skin health.
When you indulge in a giant carton of fast food fries, know that while your taste buds are satisfied, so too is the AGE production department. Foods that are fried in oil at high temperatures release skin cell-damaging free radicals. Exposure to these cells speeds up the aging process due to a process called cross-linking, which weakens the skin’s elasticity.
Moreover, salty foods (such as French fries) dehydrate the skin. Dehydration makes the skin more vulnerable to wrinkling.
Instead of ordering typical French fries with your next meal, ask the waiter to swap out russet with sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are rich in anti-aging properties, and so are their fried counterparts.
It’s true that everything cooked in butter is 10 times more flavorful than dishes cooked in oil, but consider if increased taste is really worth the skin damaging side effects. Studies show that individuals who use olive oil instead of butter have less skin damage than those who routinely reach for the butter.
Are you a margarine user? You may be in worse shape. Science says that any amounts of margarine can make the skin more vulnerable to UV radiation, which harms the skin’s elasticity and collagen levels.
If toast is your go-to morning food, try smearing your bread with avocado, which is rich in anti-aging properties.
Sugar both contributes to the formation of collagen-damaging AGEs and promotes the development of acne and other unwanted skin concerns. What’s worse is if, after consuming sugar, you go outside. When your sugar levels are elevated, the AGE process speeds up once the body is exposed to sunlight.
If you have a sweet tooth, try swapping out sugary products with fruits, dark chocolate or honey. Natural sugar is far less damaging than the processed product.
Though small amounts of either coffee or soda early in the day may not affect you, frequent use of one or the other can negatively impact your sleep. Studies routinely link poor sleep to increased signs of aging, including dark eye circles, fine lines and wrinkles.
Though nothing can replace coffee (Not even decaf!) try limiting your intake to one to two cups a day. If you’re an all-day coffee drinker, try swapping out espresso with green tea, which has several proven health benefits.
Processed meats, like processed sugars, can be quite tasty, but studies show that they can actually be harmful to the skin. Processed meats such as hotdogs, bacon, sausage and pepperoni, are high in saturated fats, sodium and sulfite, all of which dehydrate the skin and reduce collagen production. If your body craves protein but you’re working on a budget, try some inexpensive alternative, such as eggs and beans. If you can, cook with leaner meats, such as turkey and chicken. Fish is an even better alternative.
For some people, dairy helps slow the aging process and increase life expectancy. For others, however, it can be the main source of inflammation and skin blemishes, both of which lead to oxidative stress, a known contributor to premature aging.
The only way to know for sure how your body reacts is to test out the various types of dairy. If your body reacts poorly, consider other sources of calcium, such as leafy greens, almonds, beans and figs.
Alcohol has a number of adverse side effects, many of which involve the skin. Alcohol can cause your complexion to look red, puffy, blotchy, dull and old. Moreover, alcohol depletes the body of vital nutrients, one of which is vitamin A. Lack of vitamin A directly contributes to the development of wrinkles.
If you want to drink, drink in moderation. That is one drink a day for women and two for men.
In addition to making slight changes to your diet, there are other measures you can take to prevent premature aging. Superior skincare products that have gone through multiple stages of testing (Animal-free!) and that were developed using the most advanced technologies can help keep your skin hydrated, promote collagen production and even reverse signs of aging. Learn how to maintain healthy skin and what combination of products to use for the best results.