How many of these foods do you eat? Let us know!
We all age. It’s part of life. But the speed at which your body ages varies greatly from person to person. Think of it this way: a 60-year-old non-smoker who has exercised every day, drinks plenty of water and eats a balanced diet is much more likely to hold onto their youthful looks (and face fewer health problems) than a 60-year-old smoker who has not exercised and lives off of fast food and strong coffee.
As you get older, it’s vital that you look after your body to help you look and feel your best. That could mean saying goodbye to some of your favourite foods that are causing you to age prematurely. Below, we’ve put together some of the biggest culprits…
There’s no harm in rounding out the evening with a glass of wine or a cheeky whisky, but it’s important to know your limits. Alcohol strips your body of Vitamin A, an antioxidant that can help with cell renewal, and it’s often jam-packed with sugar, which causes free radicals. Too much alcohol can also dehydrate your skin, which can accentuate fine lines, wrinkles, and other common signs of ageing. If you do fancy a drink, opt for low-sugar varieties, and make sure you top up on your water intake. Think one glass of wine, followed by a glass of water.
We all know that fast food and fried food is bad for us, but that doesn’t stop us eating it! One report from National Geographic suggests that the average American eats 30 pounds of fries every year – that’s the equivalent weight of a small child! Aside from the calories and fat in fries, the process of deep-fat frying them forms free radicals, which can damage our organs and accelerate the ageing process. Cut back on fries and opt for healthier side dishes such as salads, crispy green beans, or consider making your own using kale or roasted parsnips.
Sugar reacts with protein and creates advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) which, over time, cause our skin to wrinkle and our cell structures to harden. The process is sped up even more when we’re exposed to sunlight, so keep those lunchtime chocolate bars out of reach and instead opt for natural treats like fruit or a low-calorie ice lolly. Sugar is a tough one to give up, but when you realise that it damages your skin’s collagen and elastin levels and deactivates natural antioxidant enzymes in your skin, it soon makes sense to cut back.
There’s no shame in treating yourself to a ready meal from time to time. Not only are they super-convenient, but they’re cheaper than cooking a three-course meal for yourself if you’re on your own. The bad news, however, is that microwave meals are high in sodium, which can lead to a “puffy” face, making you look older than you are. Experts are concerned about carcinogenic toxins from plastic containers, and there are worries about radiation exposure emitted from microwaves, which affect energy levels and sleep patterns. If you’re a fan of ready meals, consider batch-cooking healthier alternatives which are low in salt and can be reheated when you’re not in the mood to cook. BBC Good Food has some freezable recipes.
Potato chips – or crisps – are a delicious snack and ideal for munching on when you’re watching a movie or looking for a quick pick-me-up. However, they’re packed with trans fatty acids which can stimulate the interleukin 6 gene, a marker of inflammation. What’s more, deep-fried foods like potato chips can impair cell respiration and reduce your immune function, which is bad news. Instead, make your own healthy snacks such as crackers or chopped vegetables. If you simply must eat some chips, choose the baked variety over fried.
The chances are that you have been told that dairy is important as you get older. After all, milk is packed with protein, calcium, and other essential nutrients, vital for your bones and overall health. But there’s growing evidence to suggest that we don’t need dairy to prevent osteoporosis as we age. In fact, we can get all of our calcium from foods such as broccoli, greens, oranges, and baked beans. Vitamin D, on the other hand, can be found in eggs, salmon, and spending time outdoors. Dairy can increase inflammation and lead to oxidative stress, the most common cause of premature ageing. Consider switching to alternatives.
Finally, consider whether you’re taking in too much caffeine. Sure, there are health benefits associated with drinking a cup of two of coffee every day, helping with mental clarity and helping to lower your risk of Alzheimer’s, but it can also damage your bones and elevate your blood pressure. Perhaps the biggest reason why you should cut back on your caffeine intake is because of the effect it has on your sleep. Poor sleep can lead to dark eye circles, wrinkles, and fine lines, so swap out cola for a glass of water and coffee for an orange juice. You don’t need to go caffeine-free, but reducing your intake will slow the ageing process.
Although fine lines and wrinkles are an inevitability, making changes to your diet can slow down the ageing process and ensure you look your best for longer. The Oralift anti-ageing device can help, naturally rejuvenating your face. Click here to find out more about how it works, and check back to the Oralift blog soon for more anti-ageing advice and resources.