Food EducationHealth

These 6 Foods Are Making You Look and Feel Older Than You Actually Are

Image via James/Flickr

If you want to look younger and slow the aging process, then you must eliminate these 6 foods from your diet (like right now). Not only do the foods you eat make you feel amazing (or un-amazing – depending on what you’re eating), but they also decide how fast you are aging.

Different foods are harder on the body to process, based on their chemical make-up or antioxidant value. For example, bacon is much harder for the body to deal with than a cup or two of wild blueberries, and the bacon will age you faster than the blueberries. Why does this happen?

We have these little cells in our body called mitochondria that are constantly working when we put food in our bodies. Mitochondria produce free radicals (the “bad guys” that cause DNA damage and thus cause disease and illness like cancer) whenever we eat – whether it’s bacon or blueberries. However, the antioxidant value of blueberries is astoundingly higher than that of bacon, and since antioxidants eradicate free radicals, eating blueberries kind of cancels out the effect of free radical production via mitochondria.

With that being said, here are 8 foods you need to remove from your diet – pronto!

Bacon and Other Processed Meats

I don’t mean to keep on picking on bacon, but honestly, all processed meats are going to age you – whether you like it or not. They all contain a heavy amount of preservatives that cause inflammation in the body – one of the main triggers for chronic disease.

Consume a lot of red and processed meats also increases your chance for developing heart disease due to the high saturated fat content. A new study even found (no surprises here) that red meat consumption resulted in a 5-fold increase of carcinomas, and have been connected with the cause of other diseases like atherosclerosis and type 2 diabetes, which are also triggered by meat-induced inflammation.

Instead, try some mock coconut “bacon” – it tastes amazing!

Trans Fats (aka. Hydrogenated Oils)

If you haven’t heard – trans fats are bad for you. They’re bad for your health, and bad for your looks too! These extremely processed oils can damage your cell membranes and put you at greater risk for heart disease.

Unfortunately, trans fats are in pretty much every processed boxed food out there, from cookies to chips to crackers – even some “health food” products contain trans fats, or otherwise sneakily labelled as “hydrogenated ___ oil” (the blank could be soy, palm, canola, etc.)

Trans fats clog our arteries and reduce proper blood flow, which makes the skin look old and “dead.” It also puts the body into a chronic inflammatory state, which, according to Dr. Timothy Harlan of Tulane University School of Medicine, will make someone look older, especially if they eat trans fats on a regular basis.

What to eat instead? If you must, choose coconut oil for cooking, or hemp oil and olive oil for salads. Don’t cook with hemp or olive oil though as their heating temperatures are low, and will morph into trans fats when cooked.

Alcohol

This is a no-brainer. Alcohol weakens the liver, and if the liver is compromised, then our outer appearance will be too. Whatever contaminants your liver can’t process will manifest on your skin. Acne, wrinkles, dermatitis and rashes are all a cause of built-up toxins in the liver, and since alcohol is a “toxin” per-say, then you can be rest-assured that it is slowly aging you.

Alcohol decreases your levels of vitamin A, which is needed by the skin to produce collagen, meaning it is a direct wrinkle-causer. Alcohol also causes red, blotchy skin (as a result of broken capillaries due to blood vessel widening), a bloated face and puffy eyes (causes fluid retention).

Drinking literally speeds up aging – if you don’t believe me, do an experiment and stop drinking for a month or two and see how better you look and feel.

Artificial Sweeteners and Refined Sugar

Artificial sweeteners like aspartame, splenda, nutra-sweet and the like are poison. There’s no easy way of getting around the fact. All of those low-sugar or diet products are secretly aging you, and fast too.

These sweeteners are associated with headaches and joint pain, and make you crave even more sweet things. In fact, diet and low-sugar products don’t even help you lose weight, they just make you gain more weight because you are depriving your body of it’s main fuel source – glucose. So, naturally, you over-eat on sugary “treats” like cakes, donuts, cookies, and ice cream, and deprive your body of it’s innate “sugar craving” which comes from the fructose and glucose found in fruit (which definitely does not cause weight gain might I add).

Refined sugar like high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is also highly GMO and tough for the body to process. It causes obesity, liver failure, heart disease, tooth decay, and so much more. Pop, cookies, jams, and pretty much anything stupidly sweet contains HFCS (not so much in Canada as in the USA). Consuming large amounts of HFCS will accelerate aging, simply based on how much havoc it wreaks on your body. Not convinced? Go google HFCS – nothing positive will come about it.

Refined Salt

Salt dehydrates the body. Dehydration makes you tired, and overall makes you look weak and worn out. It also makes your body retain water, which makes your eyes puffy and face (and body) unnecessarily bloated.

Salt is also a huge contributor to hypertension (raised blood pressure), which is a major culprit of heart failure, kidney stones, stomach cancers and water retention.

So stop running that salt shaker over your meal – if you need salt to make your food taste good, maybe you shouldn’t be eating that food in the first place? (just food for thought!). Subbing in herbs and spices is a great way to get off the salt addiction – or making dehydrated celery salt (which is simply celery dehydrated for 8 hours, and then blended to make a “celery salt”).

Coffee

Coffee and other caffeinated products dehydrate the body – which means one thing – supremely dehydrated skin. What is the result of dehydrated skin? Wrinkles, fine lines, age spots and dullness.

Coffee does contain antioxidants, thanks to the coffee bean, however you get way more antioxidants from eating fresh fruit and vegetables than you would from drinking coffee – and besides, the caffeine in coffee off-sets the antioxidant effects.

If you need to drink your coffee try drinking these coffee-replacement smoothies. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to ensure supple, soft, wrinkle-free skin!

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