Have you ever looked at someone who appears 10 years younger than she is, and found yourself feeling jealous of her good genes? If it is so, you need to take a look at your refrigerator, kitchen cupboard, and dinner table for one of the culprits. Aging happens to all of us, of course. There’s no way to put the brakes on it, no matter what the latest “nutraceuticals” may claim.
Aging has two components. One part is genetics, while the second part is related to the environmental factors that we control. In other words, the choices we make and the stresses we suffer take a much harsher toll on our faces than most of us realize. The good news is that knowing what we’re doing wrong can help guide us in making better lifestyle decisions, in order to prevent the appearance of premature aging. And it’s not just good for the sake of our looks, but for our health, too.
Here’s a list of the top five aging blunders and what you can do to fix them.
- Yo-yo dieting: We all know that yo-yo dieting isn’t great for our bodies. But it turns out that rapidly and repeatedly losing and gaining weight actually makes us look older, too. These yo-yo dieting alters the ligaments in the face that support the soft tissue, thereby changing the actual shape of the face. Changes in facial shape can make us look older.
- Bad lifestyle choices: Everyday habits have an impact on the appearance of age. Smoking also played a significant role in facial appearance—the longer the person smokes, the older they appear. Among other factors that contributed to facial aging is sun exposure, antidepressant use and alcohol consumption.
- Stress: Situations that cause prolonged angst can also affect facial appearance. Some experts suggest that divorce, debt, a hated job and grief contribute to face changes. And it’s not just a question of dark circles or wrinkles—stress can lead to acne, brittle nails, hives and even hair loss. Plus, those under a lot of stress tend to neglect their skin, which can compound the situation.
Worse still, chronic extreme stress doesn’t just have the power to make you appear older; it can actually cause you to become physically older.
- Eating too much sugar: When you consume sugars, they form wrinkle generating products, AGEs. What does that have to do with your face? The more sugar consumed the more AGEs you create, and these AGEs mess with your body’s collagen and elastin, which help maintain your skin’s firmness and elasticity. In short: too much sugar leads to sagging, wrinkled skin.
- Potato chips and French fries: Really, anything that’s deep-fried in oil is laden with Trans fats, which contribute to inflammation throughout your entire body. You should keep Trans fats to less than 1% of your daily diet, says the American Heart Association.
More importantly, eating a diet rich in high-quality foods can reduce inflammation, and help to keep you from looking your best. It’s very clear that following FAD diets reduces the risk of a number of illnesses associated with aging, like cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease.”