7 Foods That Make You Age Faster

Written by Dr. Veena Madhankumar and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team

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Sunlight and advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are the two things guilty of accelerating the aging process and making our skin look older. AGEs are formed when fat or protein mix with sugar. If we control both these factors by altering our diet and religiously using sunscreen (even if it is cloudy outside), it will help our body protect and heal our skin. We might not always realize that the things that we consider healthy and eat might be affecting our skin and body. Sugars, saturated fats, too much salt, and caffeine can damage skin collagen and dehydrate us, resulting in more wrinkles and fine lines.

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This does not necessarily mean that you should only eat raw foods and water. Everything in moderation is the key. The list provided here can help you understand how certain food items can make you look older than you actually are.

1) Sweets

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When you consume a lot of foods and beverages that are high on sugar, you overwork your cells, and they are unable to synthesize this excess sugar. These unsynthesized extra sugar molecules bind with proteins in the body and trigger a process that affects your skin’s collagen. Collagen is the protein that makes your skin elastic and helps you look young. Apart from this, sugar is also responsible for weight gain and affects your general well-being. It also damages your teeth, discolors them, and makes your smile less attractive. If you want to prevent early wrinkles and saggy skin, consume sugar in moderation.

2) Alcohol

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A glass of your favorite wine now and then might not harm your body, and might even be good for your heart. But, drinking regularly will affect your liver and indirectly your skin. When you drink in moderation and if your liver is functioning well, all the toxins that can potentially affect your skin get expelled from the body by the liver. Consuming too much alcohol will lead to building up of toxins in the liver, which does not get broken down. These toxins affect your skin and result in acne and wrinkles. Alcohol also results in dehydration, and disturbs sleep, leading to wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and puffiness, reducing collagen and skin elasticity.

3) Red Meat

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Red meat produces free radicals, which are molecules that have one electron instead of two, making them unstable. They snatch electrons from other molecules in the body. This action affects the skin’s ability to produce collagen. Instead, eat lean or white meats like turkey and chicken and more fruits and vegetables, as they are rich in antioxidants. Also, remove the black char on top of your barbecued meat before eating it, as black char contains hydrocarbons that can result in inflammation. Inflammation can break down collagen.

4) Salty and Processed Foods

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Processed and packaged meats have too much salt. Excess salt can result in water retention and make you look puffy. They also contain preservatives, which trigger inflammation in the skin, accelerating aging. Other foods that contain too much salt are cheese, chips, crackers, etc. Salt also results in dehydration and makes the cells shrink. Dehydration makes your skin dry and wrinkled.

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5) Coffee

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Coffee, or more specifically caffeine, is acidic and a diuretic, which results in excess fluid loss from the body, causing dehydration. Your skin becomes dry and fragile. You can prevent this by consuming an extra glass of water for every cup of coffee you drink. And also, remember to moisturize your skin. Coffee also stains your teeth and makes your teeth porous and weak.

6) Trans Fat

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Trans fats are not only bad for your heart, but also accelerate aging. They are found in deep-fried foods, fast food, junk food, margarine, etc. These fats harden your arteries and constrict blood vessels, weakening the blood flow to the skin, resulting in premature aging and wrinkles. Trans fats also make your skin more vulnerable to UV rays and increase inflammation.

7) Spicy Food

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Spicy foods are known to aggravate rosacea, which is a condition that causes skin redness and visible blood vessels in the face. Spicy food dilates the blood vessels, making the skin look red, blemished, and less youthful. You can eat spicy foods occasionally, but regular consumption can result in puffiness and permanent redness.

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