While eating certain foods will help combat wrinkles and contribute to a healthy complexion, others can actually accelerate the signs of ageing. Here are eight foods to avoid if you want youthful looks.
See also: Four things you can do to stop wrinkles
See also: Best foods to cheat the signs of ageing
1. Sugary treats
Sugar - whether in biscuits and cakes, added to you tea, or hidden in processed foods – has a damaging effect on the body. Eating sweet stuff not only rots your teeth and makes your blood-sugar levels spike, research suggests that it can form harmful molecules in the body called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). These break down collagen and elastin, both of which keep skin plump and firm, thus accelerating the ageing process.
2. Processed meat
Partial to bacon, hot dogs or salami? You might want to cut down for the sake of your complexion. Processed meats contain preservatives that can trigger inflammation in the skin and accelerate the signs of aging. They also tend to be high in salt, which can cause water retention and make your face look "puffy".
On the subject of meat... go easy on chargrilled burgers. Blackened meat contains hydrocarbons, which can cause inflammation and deplete collagen in the skin. Not only that, but blackened meat has been linked to increased risk of bowel cancer.
4. Spicy foods
If you tend to flush easily or get rosacea, go easy on spicy food as it can cause broken capillaries to appear as you get older, particularly during the menopause. While the occasional curry won't do you any harm, regularly flare-ups can leave you with "spider veins", permanent redness and puffy skin.
5. Salty snacks
Eye bags a problem? Cut back on salty snacks like crisps and watch how much salt you're consuming in processed or tinned foods, including soup, sauces and cereals. Adults should eat no more than 6g of salt a day, yet many of us eat much more than that.
Salt promotes water retention and can make you look bloated and older than your years, as well as increasing your risk of high blood pressure.
6. White carbs
You might know that sugar depletes collagen, exacerbating the signs of ageing – but it's not just sugary sweets and drinks you need to watch. White carbs are high on the glycaemic index (GI), which means they are quickly converted to sugar in the body.
Go easy on white pasta, white rice and white bread. Even seemingly healthy foods such as rice cakes can be a problem if you eat a lot of them. Swap carb-dense foods for more veggies or protein and you may find you look younger, and lose a few pounds at the same time!
7. Saturated fat
Several studies have linked diets high in saturated fat with increased wrinkling. A 2007 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that middle aged women who ate a diet high in saturated fat were more likely to be wrinkled that those who enjoyed a healthier diet. Another study appearing in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that people who ate more butter experienced more wrinkling. The reason? It's all down to those pesky AGEs again!
If you only one change one thing about your diet, cut back on the booze. Alcohol not only causes bloating and dark circles under the eyes, it also dehydrates the skin, which can lead to fine lines and premature ageing.
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