Here are the top foods – along with some bad habits – to avoid to prevent skin aging and the appearance of signs of aging.
As if you needed another excuse to give up sugar and reduce your alcohol intake, here goes: both will severely advance your skin’s aging process, if left unchecked.
There are two main factors responsible for accelerating the skin aging process: sun exposure and advanced glycation products or AGEs.
According to Dr. Beatriz Lassance, a plastic surgery specialist in Sao Paulo, AGEs are formed when the glucose (sugar) molecule reacts with proteins in the body. This generates glycation which, together with the excess of free radicals produced by a poor diet and other habits (such as smoking and sleep deprivation) leads to oxidative stress in the body which damages the DNA of cells.
The consequence of this oxidative stress? Less cellular activity, less production of collagen and elastic fibers, less activity of defense cells and less healing power. And the appearance of wrinkles, spots and sagging skin.
Poor diet includes cakes, pies, candies, sugar, pasta and fried foods, especially when eaten excessively. In addition, according to the plastic surgeon, we should also include anti – free radical foods in our diet and exercise, in order to stimulate our endogenous antioxidant system to high free radicals.
Here are the list of the main foods responsible for skin aging:
The excess sugar in sweets and cakes contributes to the formation of EFAs that are harmful to collagen, but it is also involved in inflammatory processes, such as acne. In addition to adapting the plate by consuming less sugar, it is possible in many recipes to replace this ingredient with fruit or honey, sources of vitamins, or to opt for more ‘light’ versions, such as demerara sugar or xylitol sweetener – also avoiding excess.
Their taste aside, foods prepared at high temperatures and low humidity cause the glycation reaction, with the formation of AGEs, in addition to increasing the production of free radicals which can cause cellular damage to the skin. ‘Exposure to free radicals speeds up the aging process. The interconnection affects DNA molecules and can weaken the elasticity of the skin’, explains Doctor Lassance.
The excess fat in the oil also can harm the body. Also, when it comes to French fries, remember that they are often copiously salted, and excess sodium can dehydrate skin tissue and make the skin more prone to wrinkles. A good option is to replace the fried with sweet potato chips, which are naturally sweet, and baked in the oven.
French bread and pastries are examples of foods containing white flour, a high glycemic index carbohydrate. In addition to being involved in the process of glycation, when consumed in excess it can cause inflammation in the body by greatly increasing the production of free radicals. An alternative is to stick to whole – grain flour or whole – grain breads, which are also excellent sources of fiber, and diffuse more slowly in the blood.
If you’ve said goodbye to bread but still have margarine, know that it is high in hydrogenated fats. In addition to the many chemical additives that make our skin more vulnerable to ultraviolet rays, it’s particularly harmful to collagen and elastin, the support protein for skin.
For cooking, olive oil and even avocado can be good alternatives. Consider spreading tahini on bread instead, which is a good source of protein and fiber.
Examples of processed meats can be harmful to the skin are sausages, pepperoni, bacon, and cold cuts in general. ‘These meats are high in sodium and saturated fat, which can dehydrate the skin and weaken collagen, causing inflammation’, says Dr. Lassance.
This type of protein can be replaced with eggs and chicken or vegetable proteins like dry beans, chickpeas and other legumes.
Packages juices, in general, contain an excess of sugar and sodium, a dangerous combination to accentuate the damage of skin dehydration and weakened collagen. Whenever possible, as a replacement, the ideal is to consume whole fruit, which contains carbohydrates and fiber.
Of course, alcohol is not a food, but it often accompanies a good meal. As such, it should be known that it can cause many skin problems, including redness, swelling, loss of collagen and wrinkles. ‘Alcohol neutralizes nutrients, weakens the level of hydration and vitamin A, with a direct impact on the formation of wrinkles. Vitamin A is particularly important in the production of new cells and collagen, which guarantee elastic and wrinkle – free skin’, explains the doctor.
Her advice? Stay hydrated and consume alcohol in moderation, and stick to drinks like red wine, which is rich in resveratrol, a powerful anti – aging molecule. ‘This molecule has several health benefits due to its antioxidant action, which fights against aging. In addition, resveratrol is able to activate sirtuin – 1, a protein that acts to increase cell longevity’, she says.
Note that the consumption of alcohol should only be considered by people capable of metabolizing it. Suffice to say that the benefits of red wine are not favorable to everyone.
According to the doctor, avoiding an excess of these foods is a habit to pick up as soon as possible in order to prevent skin problems from appearing prematurely. She also always advises consulting a doctor or a nutritionist when adjusting your diet.