Dr. Anthony Youn, one of the country’s foremost experts in beauty and anti-aging treatments, in his PBS special The Age Fix, tells us that certain lifestyle habits will make us look and feel older faster! Who wants that! But there is hope. While explaining that certain indulgences may not be adding to our youth lifestyle goals, he gives us some small alternatives and incites that may make our transition in a healthier direction less painful.
1. Sugar including high fructose corn syrup and the simple carbohydrates found in cakes, bread, pasta and processed foods. Too much sugar causes system wide inflammation. Chronic inflammation damages skin. It causes a process called glycation where the sugar molecules bond with the collagen fibers in our skin making them stiff and deformed. These sugar and collagen hybrids are called Advanced Glycation End products or AGEs. When we eat too much sugar, we produce too many AGE’s accelerating the damage and causing excessive wrinkling, stiffness and even sagging.
Try this Alternative to lessen the damage caused by sugar:
If you must eat sugar have it with fiber, protein, and fat. Fiber, protein, and fat slows down the release of glucose into your bloodstream.
Some examples can be to add peanut butter or almond butter to your bread products, add chicken to pasta dishes, and if you have to have candy have candy with nuts and peanuts.
2. Bad fats are saturated and trans fats. Studies have shown that people who ate more butter , margarine, and other saturated fats had more wrinkles. Also animal proteins that are also high in saturated fat can increase inflammation in our body. Avoid fatty cuts of beef and pork, dark meat poultry, and cured meat such as bacon, sausage and cold cuts such as bologna.
Trans fats are industrial modified plant oils a.k.a. partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. They are cheap and don’t tend to spoil quickly so they are widely used in processed foods. That would be your packaged cupcakes, cookies, donuts, salty crackers and other snack foods. The FDA has determined that trans fats are not safe.
Beware – Low fat versions of foods are not a good alternatives because they will contain an extra load of sugar to make up for the missing fat!
3. Salt – Your body needs some salt. But too much salt can cause your body to retain water which in turn causes puffy eyelids, bags under the eyes, swelling of your ankles and our knees etc. The biggest culprits to consuming too much salt is from processed packaged foods, fast foods, restaurants and even canned soups! Try to eat home prepared meals as much as possible so you can control your salt intake.
Try Herb Alternatives to flavor foods instead of salt. Herbs also contain the added benefit of antioxidants which can protect our skin against damage.
Try herbs such as cinnamon, cumin and curry powder, oregano and thyme, rosemary, sage and turmeric.
4. Sun Damage causes your skin to age more than any other external factor. Compare your skin on your butt to the skin on your face, your chest and your hands.
Car windows will block UVB rays which cause sunburns. But your car windows will not block UVA rays which cause premature aging, pigmentary blotches, and skin cancer. So even if you’re in the car wear sunblock.
Make sure your sunblock says “broad spectrum”. If it doesn’t say “broad spectrum” it will only block UVB rays, not UVA rays.
Darker skin contains more melanin. More melanin in your skin will protect you from getting burned, but will not protect you from premature aging, from pigmentary blotches and skin cancer. Darker skin also needs sun block.
Wear sunglasses. Not only do they protect against the sun but they also eliminate our need to squint. Squinting causes crows feet wrinkles!
5. Smoking besides contributing to lung disease and heart disease, dehydrates our skin, decreases circulation to our skin, increases our risk of skin cancer and causes wrinkles! One study showed that smokers are 4.7 times likely to be wrinkled then non-smokers. In a study of identical twins where one twin smoked and the other did not, after a lifetime of smoking the one twin actually look like the parent of the other twin!