We all know that you are what you eat. Well, that applies to your insides (i.e., the efficiency of your digestive system, organs, mental prowess, and energy) as well as your outward appearance (i.e., your weight, visual age, and the condition of your skin).
When it comes down to it, we are what we eat, and it shows directly on our skin. For instance, if your diet it poor, you smoke, and consume a lot of caffeine or alcohol, you will appear older than your actual age. That’s why we’ve decided to out the worst foods for your skin. We’re not saying to cut them out completely, but if you reserve them only for special occasions, your skin will thank you.
Here are the 10 foods that quicken the aging process…
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Nitrates are a color and food preservative that hides in processed meats—like deli ham, bacon, sausage, and hot dogs. Unfortunately, while nitrites prevent salmonella and bacteria from residing in cured meats, they also form nitrosamines, cancer-causing chemicals, if you consume too many. That’s why it’s important to stay away from processed meat or buy organic whenever you have the option.
2. Saturated Animal Fats
Saturated animal fats can be found in foods—such as the fat or skin on meats to your favorite cheese. Meats like pork and chicken skin, as well as high fat dairy products like milk and cream are the worst culprits. Not only do saturated fats potentially harm your heart health, they cause unsightly blackheads and pimples.
3. Foods Fried in Hydrogenated Oil
French fries, chicken wings, deep fried pub foods, and chicken fingers—any food that’s fried in hydrogenated oils will not only increase your risk of heart disease if you consume them often; they’ll also increase oil buildup on the surface of your skin. So instead of smearing your bagel with margarine, try a natural nut butter (i.e., like almond butter) and step away from the donuts in favor of a toasted whole wheat English muffin. You will greatly reduce the bacteria that can get trapped on your skin, and cause nasty break outs.
If you’re addicted to the sugar rush of soda (or pop), you’re not only potentially damaging your oral health and leaving your teeth prone to cavities; you are rising your risk of type 2 diabetes and the unattractive physical effects of all of that excess sugar, which causes your skin to dry out and become lined and flaky. And no, diet pop isn’t any better. Artificial sweeteners contain just as much moisture stripping caffeine, artificial colors, and flavor chemicals.
Drop that bag of baked potato chips if you expect to have glowing skin. Why? Those low fat baked snacks contain a synthetic fat called Olestra, which strips the body of essential fat-soluble vitamins A, E, D and K and carotenoids, or antioxidants—causing damage to our digestive systems, aging the skin, and even leaving the skin’s surface prone to lesions and blemishes.
6. High-Sodium Snacks
Chips, cheese puffs, pretzels, snack crackers, yes, even the low fat variety! If they are made with vegetable oil; they still overdo it when it comes to sodium (that’s often how they make up on lost fat flavor). Not only does a high sodium diet leave us prone to high blood pressure; it also leaves us prone to chronic skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis.
Sure, a beer or a glass of red wine on the weekend isn’t going to ravage your youthful skin. However, binge drinking and excessive alcohol consumption will damage your liver (causing liver toxicity), leaving a trail of free radicals in its wake. And free radicals will cause vasodilatation—the condition behind skin blunders like rosacea.
Sure, a cup of coffee can be just the pick-up you need first thing in the morning. But there’s a big difference between having a cup of coffee and having a whole pot. Caffeine is a diuretic, which not only dangerously dehydrates the body; it also dries out your skin and increases cortisol production, a type of stress hormone that’s linked to accelerated aging.
9. White Breads & Pastas
You already know that complex carbohydrates (like whole grain breads and pastas) are far better for you than those of the refined white variety. It’s because white bread, pasta, and baked goods sit high on the glycemic index, meaning they increase insulin production. So they not only leave you at risk of type 2 diabetes; they also leave you prone to acne and skin inflammation as well.
10. Refined Sugars
Chocolate bars, candy, and baked goods, we love them, but they don’t love our skin so much. The high levels of refined sugar contained within these tempting goodies are actually linked to weakening the immune system, causing skin to become dull, thin, and dry, and robbing the body of collagen and elastin production needed to keep us looking radiant and youthful.