You may already know that sun exposure, smoking, and stress can affect your appearance to the point where you look older than you wish to appear. What you may not realize is that some of the foods you consume on a regular basis could also be accelerating visible signs of the aging process. While occasional indulgences are fine, there are certain eating habits you may want to adjust to maintain your overall health and appearance.
Affecting Collagen and Elastin
The proteins collagen and elastin are what helps keep skin healthy and firm. Some of the compounds, chemicals, and ingredients in certain foods can damage collagen and break down elastin. The visible results could be more noticeable wrinkles, lines, and creases, especially around typically “problem” areas around the mouth, forehead, and eyes. Collagen and elastin may be damaged by:
- Fried foods
- Trans fats
- Sugary foods
- Processed meats
Contributing to Inflammation
The casein that’s in milk and cheese can trigger inflammation and may contribute to skin conditions such as eczema and acne. Inflammation that’s triggered by a diet rich in saturated fats, full-fat dairy products, and grain-baked desserts can also create a puffy appearance that may make you look and feel older. Tissues may also become inflamed from a diet that’s high in trans-fats and hydrogenated fats that can damage parts of cells.
Increasing Dehydration and Dryness
Alcohol, in particular, can dehydrate your skin and change the way A, B, and C vitamins work within tissues and throughout the body. Excessive alcohol consumption can also speed up the aging process by robbing the body of beneficial fatty acids like those found in some fish. Sugar cross-links with collagen and can also contribute to skin that appears dry. Chronic dehydration that can make you look older may also be due to:
- Excessive caffeine consumption
- Overuse of salt in cooking and for seasoning purposes
- A high-protein diet that’s not coupled with an effort to increase water intake to help the body metabolize the nitrogen in protein
If the foods you normally eat aren’t entirely healthy, you may notice a wide range of effects over time. Damage to pigments in your skin from consistently poor diet choices or overindulgences may contribute to wrinkles, cause noticeable issues with acne, or discolor your teeth. The solution is to keep everything in moderation, drink plenty of water, and focus on nutritionally rich foods like green, leafy vegetables, bright-colored fruits, and lean proteins.