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Aging is the product of many factors and processes and is a natural part of life. One of these contributing factors is chronic inflammation, where the long-term inflammation of tissues results in the loss of a youthful appearance over time. This is also a natural process, but many things can accelerate chronic inflammation and make you age faster, such as certain ingredients found in common foods.

Let’s examine some of the ingredients in foods you should be reducing and removing from your diet to increase your healthy lifespan.

1. Sugar

In past articles I’ve talked about how added sugar is terrible for you, leading to diabetes, heart disease, obesity and many other ailments. Sugar is also a food that makes you age faster. Excess sugar is a cause of chronic inflammation, especially when it comes in a concentrated additive form like high-fructose corn syrup. Excess sugar also damages the proteins that keep your skin youthful, forming complex compounds known as advanced glycation end products (AGEs). This can result in the early formation of wrinkles.

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2. Trans Fats

There are both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ fats, and by now I think most people have heard of the dangers of trans fats. Trans fats are yet another agent that promotes chronic inflammation and are associated with obesity, elevated cholesterol levels and diabetes. Studies also show trans-fats may make your skin more susceptible to damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, and remember a vast amount of your skin’s aging is caused by exposure to UV from the sun.

3. Processed Foods

Types of processed foods range from canned meats to heavily refined grain, but all of them contribute to chronic inflammation and other aging factors. In particular, highly refined grain like white rice and pasta are quickly metabolized by the body in a way similar to sugar. This results in a rapid elevation of blood sugar, which is associated with the build-up of insulin resistance and consequently, diabetes. And just like sugar,  processed grain is also responsible for the further formation of advanced glycation end products.

If it comes in a box, bag or container, it is processed. Some foods are more highly processed than others and although it is difficult to avoid processed foods completely, try to eat less of them altogether and choose foods that are less processed. Tempeh, for example, is less processed than tofu and will be a better choice.

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4. Fast Food

The ingredients mentioned above all individually contribute to premature aging of the skin, so imagine the damage that can be caused by foods which combine all three! Fast food is filled with processed meats, added sugar, fats and a variety of other ingredients that can not only age you but are also highly detrimental to your health. Fast food also can contain large amounts of sodium, which can cause you to retain water and leave you feeling bloated.

5. Alcohol

Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it causes you to produce more urine, which in turn dehydrates you. This has wider-reaching effects than just making you thirsty – it also saps moisture from your skin, making it more susceptible to the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. Even the youthfulness of your hair is affected by alcohol consumption, leading to an increase in damaging split ends.

Alcohol strips away vitamin A from your body. Vitamin A is an antioxidant responsible for the rejuvenation of your cells, and any reduction in this process prevents your skin from appearing at its best. Alcohol can also cause redness and irritation of your skin.

 

While the effects of aging on our bodies can’t be completely stopped, people who are keen to embrace the benefits of youth preservation should be aware of the accelerated damage the foods mentioned above can do to the body. By following the advice of health professionals and nutritionists, and cutting out the damaging foods in question, you’re one step closer to an increased healthy lifespan. Is it worth it? For me it is. If you need help eliminating these foods from your diet, get in touch with me.