Have you ever looked in the mirror and questioned your age? Are you younger than you look? Blame your diet!
Aging is an inevitable natural process, and the latest nutraceuticals created to make you look younger aren't always effective. An unhealthy diet can encourage the aging process, which can make you look several years older than you actually are.
Many studies show the link between the intake of junk food and inflammation, says Timothy Harlan, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Tulane University School of Medicine. Poor-quality foods can increase inflammation and aging, and is the result of chronic inflammatory conditions. Foods rich in processed carbohydrates and too much sugar result in the production of advanced glycation end products (AGE’s). According to Andrea Giancoli, MPH, a nutrition policy consultant for the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, these end products are linked to medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes. These products are also known to damage the collagen tissue and fibers of the skin. Junk food is not only bad for your looks; it's bad for the entire body.
Food to avoided while Dieting
To stay young and healthy, some of the foods should be deliberately avoided. This includes:
Potato chips and french fries
Any foods that are deep fried and laden with trans fat increases inflammation in the body. An individual should only consume less than 1% of trans fat in his or her daily diet.
Doughnuts and pastries
These foods are packed with sugar and trans fat and consumption can lead to inflammation. These foods are responsible for the production of wrinkle-creating AGE’s.
Hot dogs, bacon, and pepperoni —
Processed meat in any form should be avoided as much as possible, as they are rich in saturated fat and also contain nitrates. Fats and nitrates lead to inflammation in the body.
Less-than-lean red meats —
If the meat is lean, the amount of saturated fat can lower considerably. However, one should only consume in moderation because saturated fats are responsible for inflammatory conditions. As per the American Heart Association Guidelines, the total amount of saturated fat one should consume should be less than 7% of the daily calorie intake.
Drinking too much alcohol can expedite the aging process. It has been said that women should limit themselves to one drink per day, men should limit themselves to two drinks per day. Alcoholism is associated with liver disease and cancer.
Having a diet rich in high-quality foods is the best way to reduce inflammation and prevent premature aging. Harlan suggests that having a Mediterranean-style diet can limit the number of illnesses associated with aging, such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease. Harlan adds that eating foods rich in antioxidants may not prevent aging; it is the overall diet that matters and not an individual food. It’s the variety in the good quality foods that can help an individual maintain and younger appearence.
There is increased evidence that supports that the Mediterranean-style diet can make someone look young and keep them healthy. This diet is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein.
Some of the foods that are used in the Mediterranean diet that are worth trying include:
- Romaine lettuce – This is rich in vitamins A and C, and also has antioxidants that will help prevent inflammation. In addition, one should also try to incorporate broccoli, arugula, spinach, watercress, and endive.
- Tomatoes – They contain good amount of lycopene, which is also in watermelon, grapefruit, guavas, asparagus, and red cabbage.
- Salmon – Salmon has an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids, which fight inflammation. Tuna and herring are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Lentils – These are rich in proteins, antioxidants, and fiber.
- Beans - Black beans, split peas, limas, and pintos can help keep your skin young and supple.
- Oatmeal – Whole grains such as oatmeal and whole wheat products can help control inflammation. These foods are rich in vitamin B and can prevent the formation of scaly skin rashes.
One needs to maintain healthy eating habits to preserve a young look. This is because the skin needs a continuous fresh supply of vitamins, nutrients, plant chemicals, fats, and proteins. A regular supply of the all the nutrients helps in the formation of new, healthy skin cells.