There’s nothing wrong with the occasional fun food — we’re talking about these chips, dips, and sugary treats that deserve a place on holiday and party tables. Moderation is key — but if you are looking for ways to ramp up your skincare and keep your complexion smooth and more youthful-looking and glowy, don’t sleep on the importance of food and beverages. A diet packed with nutritious vegetables, fruits, and protein sources is the way to go for great skin, and keeping “junk” foods to a minimum is wise advice.
“Junk foods are high in calories, sugar, and fat, but lack important nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals,” says Clinical Dermatologist and Researcher Dr. Enrizza P. Factor at myvitiligoteam.com “[…]. Other components of junk food include sugar, cholesterol and salt component. […] Some of the examples of junk food include burger, pizza, chips, cracks and French fries. Besides, junk foods have no nutritional value and health benefits.” Here, experts share their top two junk foods that women should avoid because they speed up aging.
“If the high amount of sugar found in most regular sodas isn’t enough to keep you away, then you should know that drinking soda is linked to at least seven serious diseases, including liver, kidney, and heart disease as well as stroke and diabetes,” Dr. Factor says. “And diet soda isn’t much better—studies show that consuming artificial sweeteners can increase glucose levels and alter gut bacteria in humans. Water, unsweetened tea or coffee, low-fat or fat-free milk, and small amounts of 100-percent fruit juice are all healthy thirst-quenchers.”
Not to mention: the sugar in sodas can contribute to a breakdown in components that are necessary for keeping your skin vibrant and youthful-looking.
“Sugary foods cause inflammation in the body, which can lead to a breakdown of collagen and elastin,” says Dr. Firdous Ibrahim, aesthetic physician & MD of Aesthetic Visions Clinic. “This can cause the skin to sag and develop wrinkles. Go for shakes, fruit juices, and smoothies instead of sugary drinks.”
Processed meats like hot dogs, bacon, and deli meat contain high levels of sodium and preservatives, which can damage the body’s cells and lead to inflammation, Dr. Ibrahim says. These food also tend to be high in saturated fats. “Saturated fats are known to clog arteries and increase the risk of heart disease,” Dr. Ibrahim says. “They can also contribute to wrinkles, as they cause the skin to dry out. Unsaturated fats are healthier for you and can help to lower cholesterol levels. Monounsaturated fats are the healthiest. Use plant-based oils, such as olive oil or avocado oil, in place of saturated fats. Include nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.”
Another reason why processed meats, as well as foods like chips, are so ruinous for for your skin is because of their high-sodium content, which (along with sugary foods) has a dehydrating affect.
“It’s well-known that excess sodium can cause dehydration and bloating but this is not the main cause of why eating processed or junk foods can accelerate skin aging,” says Dr. Crystal Dinopol, board-certified dermatologist and writer for payitforwardfertility.org. “The excess carbohydrates and fats in chips and sodas are actually the main culprit why they are rightly classified as ‘junk.’”
This doesn’t mean that you have to choose between smooth, glowing skin and delicious treats you enjoy.
“Moderation is always key,” Dr. Dinopol says. “Balancing your diet with natural foods rich in antioxidants and supplements may help counter these damaging effects of junk foods.”
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Author: Lisa Cupido
Lisa Fogarty is a lifestyle writer and reporter based in New York who covers health, wellness, relationships, sex, beauty, and parenting.