10 Foods That Can Make You Age Faster

You already know the sun, stress, and your genes can cause you to age before you're due, but what about your diet? Nutritionists share the foods you should avoid if you want to stay looking vibrant and youthful.

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Freshly baked oatmeal raisin cookies on cooling rack over rustic wood background. Closeup from above with natural directional lighting.
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Baked goods

These days, you’re likely already aware of the importance of keeping trans fat out of your diet, considering it can lead to plenty of risky health issues. But Keith-Thomas Ayoob, PhD, reveals that this dangerous ingredient often masquerades as partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, an ingredient often found in baked goods, so it’s important to always read ingredient labels as you grocery shop. You may even have to hunt for that label; sneaky product makers have started putting it on the underside of the product, hoping consumers won’t look there, he explains. Here’s the trick to having a “good” relationship with junk food.

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French Cheese Platter with Spanish Dulce de Membrillo as top view on a wooden board


Though every person is different, Amy Shapiro, RD, explains some people might age quicker when they eat dairy. Since dairy is one of the most common sensitivities for adults, it’s important to take note of adverse reactions and make a change if necessary. “Dairy foods can cause some individuals to get skin reactions, such as eczema or psoriasis, itchy red, scaly patches on the skin that are red and inflamed,” the Romio health expert explains. “They can exacerbate these skin issues and, often times, when we eliminate dairy, the skin improves.” Watch for these foods you think are dairy-free, that aren’t.

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Cooked sizzling hot tasty crispy bacon on a skillet ready for breakfast overhead shot
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High-fat proteins

Bacon and sausage may be classic breakfast foods, but Paul Salter, RD, explains they are super high in saturated fats and have trace amounts of trans fats. Here’s what that means for your body: When you eat these foods, your cholesterol and blood lipids are negatively impacted, contributing to weight gain and inflammation. This is very taxing on your body—and your skin. “High-fat proteins require significant time, energy, and resources to digest and absorb, which ultimately takes resources away from the rest of your body,” he says.

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Homemade Nachos with chips salsa guacamole and cheese, overhead view

Super salty foods

A little bit (a tiny little bit) is good for you, but Ayoob says it’s important to enjoy salt in moderation, since it can have a negative impact on your body, particularly on your skin. After eating a dinner that’s high in sodium, you’ll likely wake up the next morning looking puffy-faced and even a tad swollen, he explains, since having an overdose of salt causes you to retain water. That’s why he recommends steering clear of too much salt the evening before or the morning of a big presentation at work, an important date, or any other time you want to look and feel your absolute best. If you eat too much, whether at a restaurant or in the dinner your mother-in-law cooked, drink lots of water to undo the damage the following morning. “By the afternoon, you may notice you’re urinating out a lot of that retained water,” he says. Here are 8 more habits that are making you age prematurely.

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High angle shot of assorted wine and champagne bottles on a rustic wood table. Horizontal format.
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To retain its firmness and elasticity, your skin needs proper hydration. That’s why anything that takes away that much-needed H20 from your pores can pack on the years. When you throw in the additional side effect of poor sleep hygiene, it’s no surprise that drinking alcohol is bad news for your appearance. As Ayoob explains, plenty of studies have proven just how much a lack of sleep and dehydration can impact the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. “Drinking alcohol can make you sleepy at first, but there’s a rebound effect later on that can prevent good quality, deep sleep,” he notes. “One or two drinks are fine, but more than that also puts a strain on the liver, which is the body’s detox organ.”

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Fried donuts on a baking sheet. Donuts lie in several layers.
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Deep fried food

They’re delicious, sure, but these foods are off limits to those in search of the fountain of youth. How come? They offer little-to-no nutritional value, and most of the time are prepared in frying oil that could be packed with trans fat. Though many of the larger fast food chains have regulated their oils to be free of this dangerous ingredients, even without it, fried foods present yet another downfall: weight gain. Since nearly all are high in calories, Ayoob says the added pounds won’t do much for your skin’s longevity and could make you age sooner than you’d think. Instead, stick with these 12 anti-aging foods that can add years to your life.

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Cola in glass with ice from top view on table.

Sugary drinks

There are countless reasons to avoid soda, powdered drink mixes, and other beverages that are filled with sugar, and here’s one more: These gulps aren’t only bad for your health, but they also do damage to your teeth. “Colas contain phosphoric acid, which can speed up erosion to the enamel,” Ayoob says. “Bad teeth will make you appear older than you are, and all those empty calories aren’t doing you any favors either.” He adds that if you need a sugar fix in your coffee, you can substitute Stevia, since it doesn’t contribute to tooth decay and emerging evidence even suggests Stevia compounds may be antibacterial. These are the best and worst drinks if you’re a diabetic.

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Close up Wooden Chopping Board with Raw Beef Meat on a Rustic Table with Herbs and Spices

Saturated fats

A diet high in red meat, dairy, and cheese can make you look older than your years. That’s because they contain saturated fats that can speed up the clock, says Rebecca Lewis, RD, who works for HelloFresh meal service. “Over consumption of saturated fats, especially when they are combined with high sugar foods, will contribute to inflammation. Moreover, a diet that is high in both fat and sugar will lead to weight gain, which indirectly creates inflammation in the body.” Here’s what experts want you to know before starting the keto diet.

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Pouring milk in black coffee. Isolated background.
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Non-dairy coffee creamer

Because trans fats create free radicals that build plaque in your arteries, eating foods with this bad-for-you ingredient regularly, including non-dairy coffee creamer, can cause circulatory problems and an increase strain on your heart. That isn’t good news for aging, Ayoob says, because it increases inflammation and stress. Look out for these other foods that do weird things to your body.

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Wooden bowl with raw sweet corn and popcorn on wooden background


This movie theater favorite is heavy on the salt and trans fat, especially if you go for the extra butter or the microwave kind. For an alternative, try these healthier ways to flavour your popcorn. Don’t miss these signs your body is aging faster than you are.

The Healthy
Originally Published on The Healthy

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