A couple of weeks ago I was asked to write a piece for The Sun about the ageing effects that certain foods can have on your skin. Using a case study of a typical student's diet, I analysed the harmful effects that certain unhealthy foods and drinks can have on skin, and how to counteract them. While this piece was centred around students and their food choices, I wanted to share the piece with you, because the effects of these foods are relevant to all of us. You can read the full article here but below I've broken down five the culprits in your diet for causing premature ageing…
Free radicals are a natural by-product of our body's energy production system but they are also produced by pollution, alcohol, smoking and fried foods. Too many of these unstable molecules can cause increased damage to cells through the process of oxidation. This can speed up the ageing process and lead to premature wrinkles.
Our body breaks down carbohydrates we eat into the simple sugar, glucose, which we then use for energy. But when we eat excess sugar and too many high-glycemic carbs, these sugars bind to the collagen and elastin proteins in our skin. This damaging process, known as glycation, stiffens and weakens these important skin structures contributing to lax, sagging skin. Avoid too much bread and too many sweets and fizzy drinks.
We should avoid eating too many processed foods particularly those containing unhealthy fats, which can cause inflammation. These include pizza, ready meals, and processed meats. Low-level inflammation can occur in the body with no noticeable symptoms but, if you have increased levels of systemic inflammation, it can contribute to issues such as weight gain and skin ageing.
Food like ready-meals are notoriously high in salt, which can lead to water retention. Not only will these foods make you feel bloated and uncomfortable, it will mean your skin is likely to appear puffy.
Drinking excessive alcohol decreases the body's production of anti-diuretic hormones used to reabsorb water. Therefore, your body loses more fluids through urination and this can lead to dehydration. Aged skin naturally retains less water and loses its elasticity, so wrinkles become more pronounced over time.
To find out how to counteract these effects, read the full article on The Sun.