Aging is an inevitable factor of life. One day we are wrinkle-free and jumping around pain-free, and somewhere along the way, our skin can start not looking as youthful and our knees can start creaking when we go for a simple jog.
There are no surefire ways to prevent aging, but there are some things you may be doing that are accelerating the aging processwhether you know it or not.
If you are one who embraces the aging process and you look at wrinkles and looser skin as a badge of honor or a sign of a life well-lived, then more power to you. But if you are of the school of thought that you need to take steps to fight father time and do your part to maintain a youthful appearance, healthy jointsand even a longer liferead on to learn five eating habits that are aging you faster, according to registered dietitians, and for more on how to eat healthy, don’t miss The #1 Best Juice to Drink Every Day, Says Science.
“Not eating enough protein can age a person faster,” explains Anya RosenMS, RDN, LDadding that dietary protein helps maintain lean body mass. As such, loss of muscle as we age, also known as sarcopenia, “contributes to injuries and chronic illness.”
Sure, eating sweets and treats is totally delish. Aim overindulging in sugar can play a role in aging you faster.
“Eating a diet high in sugar can age you faster,” registered dietitian Kathryn PiperRDN, LD explains. She adds that this eating habit can “cause elevated blood glucose levels, which can stimulate the production of advanced glycation end products (AGEs).”
Piper shares that these AGEs cause “collagen damage,” which can increase fine lines and wrinkles. “Sun exposure accelerates this process and adds to an individual’s signs of aging.”
Fiber is important for keeping bowel movements regular and promoting satiety. And according to Jeanette KimszalRDN, NLC, not eating adequate fiber “may increase aging.” She shares that fiber “is associated with lower disease risk and eating it has been tied to improvements in inflammation and gut health as well.” These factors “have been associated with longevity.”
She also adds that “fiber-intake itself has been high among individuals who have aged successfully.”
Eating bacon, sausage, and lunch meats may taste great, but eating them frequently won’t do your body any favors in the aging department. The World Health Organization has classified processed meats as a Group 1 carcinogen, meaning that eating these foods is linked to an increased cancer risk.
Sweet potatoes, carrots, and winter squash all contain beta carotene, a carotenoid that offers some unique health benefits.
Carotenoids, like beta carotene, accumulate in our outermost skin layer and act as a protective barrier to ultraviolet radiation. Eating foods with beta carotene help improve skin aging by supporting skin elasticity and hydration, ultimately reducing the development of wrinkles and age spots. Data also shows that including adequate amounts of beta carotene in your diet may help protect the skin from UV ray damage.
Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, CLEC
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian, book author, and recipe developer who has been in practice for almost 20 years. Read more