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For most people, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and sun exposure are the top things that make their skin age faster. However, what you might not know is that there are categories of food that can speed up those wrinkles. Most of these foods contain harmful ingredients like trans fatty acids and high levels of sodium. To look and feel young, here are 7 foods that you should avoid because they make you age faster.

Processed Meats

Processed meats like sausages, bacon, and so on contain sulfites and other preservatives that can trigger inflammation on your skin, causing an aging appearance. They also contain high amounts of salt that may lead to water retention and give you that puffy look.

These foods also contain saturated fat and trans fat, both components that have been shown to increase wrinkling. Processed meats also use up vitamin C in the body, which is responsible for collagen formation.

They are also said to cause dehydration and lead to inflammation. Opt for turkey or chicken instead and increase your intake of veggies. Every once in a while might not hurt. But doing so frequently can have negative effects on your health over time.

Spicy Foods

Some people like their meals ‘hot”, especially in certain regions of the world. The problem with spicy food is that they make your blood vessels swell (and sometimes even break), leading to purple marks on your face. Spicy food also raises your body temperature, leading to excessive sweating. When this sweat mixes with the bacteria on your skin, it may lead to breakouts and blotches. Spicy foods have also been found to cause rosacea on your skin since they dilate your blood vessels. Limit your intake of spicy foods to avoid flare-ups, which can cause spider veins, puffiness, and/or permanent redness.

Charred Meat

People who love charred meat risk damaging their skin. Charred meat contains pro-inflammatory hydrocarbons, which are said to damage collagen on your skin. The more you consume charred meat, the higher the chances of breaking down essentials for your skin like collagen. However, you don’t have to give up entirely on BBQ, just be sure to limit your intake or remove the black char from the meat.

Salty Foods

Salt is an important ingredient in the kitchen for improving the taste of food. If used moderately, it can be nutritious. However, those who love taking super salty foods risk experiencing negative side effects on their health, particularly their skin. Since excessive consumption of salt causes water retention, your face may look puffy and a bit swollen. If you take a lot of salt (maybe during dinner cooked by your mother-in-law), take lots of water to undo the damage. If possible, season food with a little salt and opt for fresh foods rather than preserved or pre-cooked foods.

Sugary Foods

Candy, cakes, cookies, soda, and anything with too much sugar in it not only affect your teeth and weight but also your skin collagen. Excessive consumption of sugar triggers a process known as glycation. That is, due to the high amounts of sugar in the body that the cells can synthesize, the excess sugar molecules bond with proteins. Glycation can harm your skin collagen since these proteins help maintain the firmness of your skin, hence speeding up the aging process.

Red Meat

Fatty red meat generates free radicals. These are molecules that contain one electron instead of two, making them unstable and prone to snag electrons from other molecules, hence turning them into unstable cells. This cycle can repeat itself and lead to a high number of free radicals in your body. Free radicals affect your skin’s ability to generate collagen and protect itself. If you must eat meat, opt for lean meat like chicken or turkey. Additionally, make a point of consuming large amounts of vegetables and fruits.

Coffee and Caffeinated Drinks

Coffee not only causes dehydration, but the caffeine in it also damages your teeth. Like any other diuretic, coffee makes you excrete fluids, reducing the amount of moisture in your body. Too much coffee can dehydrate your skin and make you look dull and aged. Health experts recommend that you take enough water after drinking coffee to neutralize the acidic pH caused by the coffee.

Opt for Foods That Make You Look Younger

While the foods above may be sweet and delicious, they can harm your health. For good health, it’s recommended that you increase your intake of healthy foods that also turn out to be good for your skin. These include vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean protein, fatty fish, and the likes. More importantly, up your water intake. Your organs need water to function properly, your body needs water to support metabolic processes, and your skin requires water to stay hydrated.

All images by Shutterstock

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