Lots of factors play into how fast you age, and how obviously that aging shows up on your skin. Genetics may be the greatest of these, but there are plenty of things that you can control when it comes to aging. Smoking, sun exposure, and especially diet make a huge difference.
We all want to look good, but when you feel good, it also shows on your face. Premature aging can not only cause aches and pains, but it can also leave your body open for chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. Even though we never want to look old, most of us really want the chance to grow old.
Taking charge of your diet now can help you stay young on the inside and the outside! It is probably no surprise that healthy eating includes lots of fruits and vegetables coupled with reasonable portions of lean meat. To help you get a handle on what it is important to avoid, we have collected seven foods that will take you in the wrong direction. Cut these out of your diet to rock a healthy body now and long into the future.
Butter got a really bad reputation some years ago due to its saturated fat content. Margarine was supposed to be the answer that would let us enjoy the buttery flavor without the fat. Unfortunately, margarine is actually quite a bit worse for your body.
Margarine is packed with trans fats that raise your risk of chronic disease. It also messes with the hydration level of your body. Chronic dehydration is a prime driver of wrinkles, definitely an unwanted consequence. Margarine additionally contains a high level of omega-6 fatty acids. While your body needs some of these, it’s easy to get too many, and that tends to create inflammation.
- Convenience Foods
We get it: life is busy. Cooking fresh meals every day can feel like an insurmountable challenge. Many microwave meals and packaged dishes that make mealtime easier are actually hiding a decidedly unhealthy secret – salt, and lots of it.
Many of us get too much salt in our diets. It is actually really easy to do when we rely on convenience foods or fast food meals. Sodium can cause water retention and make you look and feel bloated and puffy. If healthy cooking really doesn’t fit into your schedule, explore a healthy meal delivery service instead.
- Energy Drinks
If you feel like you need energy drinks to power through your day, get your butt to bed earlier each night! Improving your sleep hygiene can do a lot to help you feel and look younger, but energy drinks do just the opposite. They are high in sugar, caffeine, sodium, and acid. That deadly combo will damage and stain your teeth as well as contribute to dehydration.
Right now you are probably shaking your head and thinking that you simply can’t get more sleep with the responsibilities on your plate. But consider the fact that a chronic shortage of sleep makes you a lot less capable and efficient in your daily tasks. It can be hard to draw the line and say, “I’m done for the day; I need to rest.” But when you do, you’ll find that everything you have to do the next day gets done a lot faster.
- Sugary Treats
Sugar is probably public enemy #1 when it comes to premature aging. It is packed into all sorts of foods at simply unconscionable levels, so we are eating it all day long even when the food itself isn’t a dessert. It’s a huge problem because sugar is the biggest driver of obesity and inflammation, not to mention tooth decay.
Eating too much sugar sets up a perfect environment in your body for chronic disease. Not only does it contribute to the development of diabetes, but sugar is the favorite fuel of cancer cells. We encourage you to read labels carefully for anything you’re considering buying at the store. And sadly, cutting out sweet treats like baked goods, candy, and sodas is crucial if you want to maintain your youthful appearance.
- High Glycemic Index Carbs
Bread and pasta made with refined white flour are high on the glycemic index, meaning that they spike your blood sugar really quickly. That sets you up for a high and a crash, a cycle that can definitely show on your face. Refined carbs have been proven to accelerate the skin’s aging and cause blemishes like acne and rosacea.
Instead, eat whole wheat products. They fill you up better than the refined stuff, plus they can lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of chronic illnesses including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Another option is to get really creative and eat pasta made with beans and bread based on ground flaxseeds.
Ok, don’t panic! We are not saying that you need to give up alcohol altogether. Drinking to excess is the problem when it comes to premature aging. Getting absolutely blasted tends to cause free radical damage throughout your body, especially if those drinks are high in sugar. Alcohol also strips the body of vitamin A, which is crucial to the process of cell renewal and turnover.
So by all means, have a glass or two with your pals. But steer clear of those that contain a lot of sugar (think mixers like juice or soda) in favor of wine, champagne, or mixed drinks with soda water and lime. It’s also smart to alternate each alcoholic beverage with water to keep your hydration levels up.
- Preserved Meats
The latest research around preserved meats says that the nitrates and nitrites used for preservation put your body at risk for cancer. That’s because they create free radicals that lead to oxidation damage of cells and your very DNA. Enough free radical damage sets up an environment ripe for cancer or another chronic disease, plus it really ages your skin.
So skip the bacon, hot dogs, and sausages in favor of vegetarian versions or else lean, organic meat over processed forms. Yeah, this one’s going to hurt. But in the end, the cleanest and most minimally processed foods are always going to be the ones that support your youthful appearance and attitude.
Slowing down the aging process is something that we all want to do. Marketers and cosmetics companies know this full well and that’s why the market is flooded with products advertised to sweep decades of wear and tear off of your body. Unfortunately, it is not as easy and simply buying a product and slathering it on your skin. But – it is doable with the right diet.
Avoid the seven foods on this list to ensure the kind of health that comes from the inside out. Trust us, it will show through!