Unless you are in your tweens, chances are you would not want to look older than your age. As early as in your 20s, you will be searching for ways and means to keep your skin looking as youthful as a baby’s skin. Of course as you know, there are many factors that influence how you age. Putting genetics aside, environmental factors, smoking, lifestyle, sun exposure and even your diet play a part in how quickly you age. Today we will focus on what you should not be consuming (or at least keep to a minimum) and how these food choices are aging you.
Margarine or Butter
In the dairy section at any supermarket, you will see rows upon rows of margarine and butter lined up for your selection. Both are yellow slabs of gooey goodness that go so well with your toasted bread. So, what is the difference between these two items, you may ask? What sets margarine and butter apart is how they are made and the type of fats they contain.
Butter is Actually the Healthier Choice
Both butter and margarine contain trans fat, however, butter contains less amounts of trans fat than margarine. Trans fats are considered ‘bad fats’, because they are thought to cause inflammation in the body, which means you will experience acne breakouts or redness. Trans fats are also thought to impede hydration. When your skin is dehydrated, wrinkles and fine lines start settling on your skin, giving you an aged appearance.
Too Much Sodium
Sodium is an important nutrient that we require in our diet. And boy, do we love consuming salt. Think french fries, potato chips, salted nuts and instant noodles. Salt, made up of 40% sodium, flavours our food and makes it so delectable that it is difficult to stop at one. This is why you find yourself reaching out for yet another slice of that french fry or one more potato chip until you have consumed them all.
Salt also keeps food fresh longer and delays spoilage. However, excessive consumption of sodium contributes to a puffy, ‘aged’ appearance because of water retention. Also, excessive amounts of sodium dehydrate you. Thus, wrinkles and fine lines will be out partying hard on your face.
Too Much Sugar
Do you recall your parents always telling you not to eat too much sweets or sweetened food? They have a good reason to. Other than tooth discolouration and tooth decay, sugar causes inflammation that produces enzymes and damages collagen and elastin, which are important to help your skin look soft and supple. This will leave your skin with wrinkles and looking saggy. Sugar that has been digested in your body attaches to the collagen in your skin through a process called glycation. Glycation also further aggravates skin issues, like acne breakouts.
Don’t Overindulge in Alcohol
“But a glass of wine a day is good for me!” You protest, while clutching your precious wine glass. No doubt, a glass or two is beneficial for you. You reduce the risk of a stroke and heart disease, but always keep in mind, moderation is the key.
Too much alcohol can cause free radicals, which affect how you age. Also, too much alcohol means your body is dehydrated and lacking water. At the same time, alcohol deprives your body of vitamin A, an essential antioxidant that helps with cell renewal and turnover.
Say No to Fried Food
Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are toxins that speed up aging by causing oxidative stress and inflammation. Fried foods create AGEs which will accumulate in the skin’s tissues and break down collagen proteins, causing wrinkles.
Reduce Consumption of Processed Meat
It is natural to salivate, when you think about bacon, pepperoni and sausages. However, nitrates and preservatives in processed meats may create free radicals in the body. Remember, free radicals affect how you age.
Watch Out for that Charred Meat
There are people who love eating medium-rare meat, where they shiver in happiness, seeing that blood-like liquid oozing out of the meat. On the other side of the camp, there are people who love to char their meat so much, that the top part of the meat is black. Meat that has been burnt to a ‘blackened’ state can cause the collagen of your skin to be damaged, when consumed. High broken-down collagen levels in the skin lead to an aged appearance.
Too Much Caffeine
You probably know someone who cannot function, until they have had a cup of coffee in their system. And you probably also know of others who need three to five cups of coffee in a day to stay awake. Ingesting too much caffeine dehydrates your skin. Your skin then lacks the essential amount of moisture to look and feel youthful. While a cup or two is great to kickstart a long day, make sure to always drink caffeinated beverages in moderation.