Food can have a powerful impact on our skin health. Natural, nutrient dense foods can nourish our skin, keeping it healthy and youthful. Processed, fried and high sugar foods, however, can significantly speed up the ageing process. Here are five ageing foods to avoid, and what to eat instead.
AEGING FOODS TO AVOID
Free radicals are a natural by-product of our body’s energy production system but they are also produced by pollution, alcohol, smoking and fried foods. Too many of these unstable molecules can cause increased damage to cells through the process of oxidation. This can speed up the ageing process and lead to premature wrinkles.
Instead: eat foods raw, or lightly steam or bake instead. If you do fry, keep your pan at a moderate heat and use a heat-stable fat such as coconut oil.
Our body breaks down carbohydrates we eat into the simple sugar, glucose, which we then use for energy. But when we eat excess sugar and too many high-glycemic carbs (such as white bread, white rice and white flour products) these sugars bind to the collagen and elastin proteins in our skin. This damaging process, known as glycation, stiffens and weakens these important skin structures contributing to lax, sagging skin. Avoid regularly eating sources of sugar like cakes, sweets and fizzy drinks as well as white, refined carbohydrates. And watch out for hidden sugars in seemingly healthy foods.
Instead: choose unrefined sources of carbohydrates such as brown rice, oats and rye bread. Don’t forget that many vegetables and pulses (beans, lentils and chickpeas) also provide carbohydrates.
We should avoid eating too many processed foods particularly those containing unhealthy fats, which can cause inflammation. These include pizza, ready meals, and processed meats. Low-level inflammation can occur in the body with no noticeable symptoms but, if you have increased levels of systemic inflammation, it can contribute to issues such as weight gain and skin ageing.
Instead: choose whole, natural, minimally processed foods.
Food like ready-meals are notoriously high in salt, which can lead to water retention. Not only will these foods make you feel bloated and uncomfortable, it will mean your skin is likely to appear puffy.
Instead: the more you can make your own food from scratch, the more control you have over what goes in it!
Drinking excessive alcohol decreases the body’s production of anti-diuretic hormones used to reabsorb water. Therefore, your body loses more fluids through urination and this can lead to dehydration. Aged skin naturally retains less water and loses its elasticity, so wrinkles become more pronounced over time. Not only will it not help your skin, alcohol negatively affects your weight, too.
Instead: keep an eye on your alcohol intake and aim to drink no more than the government guidelines – a maximum of 14 units per week. Try swapping your usual tipple for one of these alcohol free drink alternatives.