There are two main factors that accelerate the aging process of our skin: sun exposure and advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs form when protein or fat combine with sugar. While these aging culprits aren’t 100 percent in our control, using sunscreen and taking mind of your overall diet can help with how our body protects and heals our skin.
And although minding your diet is easier said than done, it always helps to have a little reminder of how certain foods can affect your skin health. Our list can help with that.
But remember, every person is unique. Not everyone will benefit from eating raw, clean, or whole only. And regularly eating one or two of these foods won’t lead to less collagen and totally damage your skin. It’s straying away from a moderate diet that’s best for you that will change your health, skin or not.
So, go through this list with a grain of salt (pun not intended). Take the information that’s most helpful to you.
Sweet potato fries for french fries
French fries can hit the spot — both in the satisfaction department and the AGE production department, as they’re fried and salty.
Foods fried in oil at high temperatures release free radicals that can cause cellular damage to the skin. Exposure to free radicals accelerates the aging process due to an action called cross-linking. Cross-linking affects DNA molecules and can weaken skin’s elasticity.
What’s more, consuming too much salt can draw water out from the skin and lead to dehydration. That may make your skin more prone to wrinkling.
Sprouted bread for white bread
When refined carbs integrate with protein, it causes the formation of AGEs. AGEs have a direct effect on chronic diseases as well as the aging process.
Foods with a high glycemic index, like white bread, can cause inflammation in the body, which is directly linked to the aging process.
Honey or fruit for white sugar
Sugar is one of the infamous contenders to unwanted skin concerns like acne. As mentioned above, sugar contributes to the formation of collagen-damaging AGEs.
When our sugar levels are elevated, this AGE process is stimulated. It’s sped up even more if sunlight is involved. So, instead of eating ice cream on the beach, opt for refreshing frozen fruit or a popsicle with no sugar added.
Olive oil or avocados for margarine
Take it easy with that butter knife. Older studies have shown that those who don’t consume margarine or butter have less skin damage and wrinkles than those who do.
And the science checks out: Margarine is worse than moderate amounts of real butter due to the fact that it’s high in partially hydrogenated oils. These trans fatty acids make skin more vulnerable to ultraviolet radiation, which can damage skin’s collagen and elasticity.
Stick with poultry for processed meats
Hot dogs, pepperoni, bacon, and sausage are all examples of processed meats that can be harmful to the skin.
These meats are high in sodium, saturated fats, and sulfite, which can all dehydrate the skin and weaken collagen by causing inflammation. For inexpensive protein options, swap processed meats for eggs or beans.
Feel out dairy
Got mixed feeling about dairy? Science does, too.
Some have seen positive skin changes from dropping dairy. Others have seen no significant difference at all.
It all depends on the person. For some, dairy may increase inflammation in the body, which leads to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is one of the main causes of premature aging.
Diets low in dairy products may protect sun-exposed skin from wrinkling.