Products that claim to slow the aging process draw in big money. To really keep lines and wrinkles at bay, people should trade anti-aging creams for nutritious foods that keep the body youthful inside and out. As some foods help slow the clock, others hasten the aging process by triggering inflammation and oxidative stress. People looking to keep a fresh face and a spring in their step may want to steer clear of these five foods.
1. Sugary Foods
Found in products from canned soups and bread to cereal and peanut butter, it's not surprising that Americans consume an average of 22 teaspoons of sugar daily. One of the leading foods that cause aging, sugar triggers the production of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), compounds that destroy collagen and elastin. These important proteins keep skin soft and supple.
2. High-Glycemic Grains
Refined grains that lack fiber metabolize quickly, convert to sugar, and promote the production of AGEs. By destroying collagen and elastin, AGEs reduce elasticity in the skin and create lines, age spots, and wrinkles. Examples of high glycemic grain products include white rice, bread and pasta, rice cakes, flour tortillas, and corn chips.
3. Red Meat
Red meat is chock full of saturated fat, an ingredient which causes the brain to age more quickly, according to research from Brigham and Women's Hospital. Examining nearly 6,200 women over the age of 65, those who reported the highest consumption of saturated fat showed the worst performance on cognitive tests.
4. Dairy Products
Like red meat, many dairy products like whole milk, eggs, and cheese are also full of saturated fat. What's more, many dairy cows are treated with growth hormones and antibiotics, offering even more reasons to avoid milk – whole or fat-free. Studies show that these harmful compounds trigger inflammation and affect insulin, both of which contribute to aging.
5. Fried Foods
Fried foods offer a double whammy when it comes to early aging. They are full of saturated fat which affects the brain, and according to research, foods cooked with high heat contain more skin-damaging AGEs.
Read grocery labels for sugar and sources of hidden sugar like corn syrups, honey, molasses, and any ingredients ending with the suffix "-ose." Eat whole grains and brown rice in place of refined grains, and choose grass-fed beef due to lower levels of saturated fat and healthy oleic acid. Replace cow's milk with almond or coconut milk, and trade frying, grilling, and high-temperature frying for healthier cooking methods like steaming, stewing, poaching, braising, and blanching.