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Did you know certain foods can speed up your body’s aging process? If you want to maintain your youthful glow and wrinkle-free skin, here are the foods you need to limit or omit, along with potential swaps to your favorite indulgences.
1. French Fries
It’s almost impossible to eat at a restaurant without ordering a side of delicious french fries. However, these salty and deep fried potatoes can hit the spot — both in the satisfaction department and in the advanced glycation end products (AGEs) section. AGEs are harmful compounds that form when fat or protein merge with sugar in the bloodstream.
But how do french fries contribute to aging? Greasy, deep fried foods release free radicals that can induce cellular damage to the skin. This exposure accelerates the aging process because of an activity called cross-linking. Cross-linking impacts DNA molecules and eventually weaken the skin’s elasticity. Also, consuming too much salt can draw moisture out of the skin and cause dehydration. As a result, your skin becomes more predisposed to wrinkling.
If you love french fries and can’t resist their goodness, swap them for baked sweet potato fries instead. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of anti-aging copper, which assists in collagen production.
2. Candy, Chocolate, and Other Sweets
Sugar, as we all know, presents several health problems to the human body. But did you know sugar is a notorious contributor to the development of collagen-damaging AGEs? When our sugar levels spike, it stimulates the AGE process. As a means of prevention, opt for refreshing blueberries (prevents loss of collagen) or even dark chocolate when craving something sweet.
3. White Bread
Most of us can’t imagine life without bread. But when refined carbs and proteins combine, it causes the production of AGEs. White bread has a high glycemic index, which can lead to unwanted inflammation in the body and hasten the aging process.
Try an alternative to traditional white bread, such as sugar-free sprouted grain loaves. Sprouted bread also contains antioxidants that benefit the skin.
4. Processed Meats
Bacon, hot dogs, sausages, and Spam are all examples of conveniently processed meats that, unfortunately, can be very harmful to the skin. These meats are high in saturated fats, sodium, and sulfite, all of which can dehydrate the skin and weaken collagen production by triggering inflammation.
For inexpensive protein options, choose eggs or beans as an alternative to processed meats. You should also consider leaner meats, such as chicken and turkey as they are an abundant source of protein and amino acids that boost collagen formation.
5. Milk, Cheese, and Other Dairy Products
Do you have mixed emotions about dairy? Science does, too. Some people have seen positive skin changes from boycotting dairy, while others have observed no significant difference. Since our body’s chemistries are idiosyncratic, reactions to milk and cheese will differ.
Dairy has long been a go-to source of calcium, which is essential to overall skin health. But dairy may aggravate inflammation in the body, which often leads to oxidative stress—a leading cause of premature aging. What’s more, a diet low in dairy products may defend sun-exposed skin from wrinkling.
If you love cheese on your pizza, milk in your coffee, and dairy on almost every sumptuous dish, there are several plant-based dairy products on the market. And if calcium deficiency is your primary concern, other excellent sources of this essential mineral include beans, almonds, figs, and leafy greens.
Remember, food is all about balance and each person’s body is unique. So, go through this list with a grain of salt and take the information that’s most useful to you.