Foods that give you wrinkles

woman looking at wrinkles

BY ANA
REISDORF, MS, RD

One
day you’re looking in the mirror and notice a line where you hadn’t seen one
before. Oh my, you have wrinkles! At first, they tend to pop up around the
eyes, forehead, and mouth because normal facial expressions tend to weaken the
skin. Also, you may see some in areas that are exposed to the sun since the sun
causes skin damage that leads to wrinkles. 
Before
you run out for Botox, take a minute to look at other lifestyle causes of these
newly appearing wrinkles. As a registered dietitian, I always recommend
diet-related changes that can be made first, before moving on to more extreme
measures. And although wrinkles may just be a normal part of aging, your diet
can definitely speed up the process. And a benefit in changing your diet is
that it doesn’t require much money and no needles are involved! Win-win in my
book!
What
causes wrinkles?


woman healthy skin

Skin
is made up of two proteins: collagen and elastin. These proteins work to keep
the skin smooth and wrinkle free. Keeping these proteins healthy is what will
also keep your skin looking great.
The
sun is our first offender. It damages collagen, breaking down the structural
fibers underneath the skin. Once the collagen is damaged, the skin will weaken,
leading to sagging. Combine sun damage with the natural weakening of the skin
that comes with aging, and wrinkles are an inevitable result.
Another
culprit of wrinkles are advanced glycation end products, or AGEs. These
molecules are left over debris, formed as part of the normal process of
digesting sugar. But over time AGEs tend to build up, attach themselves to the
collagen and elastin, damage their structure and lead to wrinkled, sagging
skin. So which foods lead to AGEs, and what should you avoid if you want your
skin to look great?
Sugar


woman eating sugar covered cherry

Sugar
increases the formation of AGEs, which damage collagen. Collagen fibers must
remain linked together to help maintain the skin’s structure. Sugar damages the
link between the collagen fibers, which is then exacerbated by exposure to UV
light from the sun. The more collagen breaks down, the more wrinkled the skin
will appear. 
In
order to prevent wrinkles, reduce your sugar intake. High-sugar foods, such as
candy, cake, or ice cream, should be eaten only occasionally — and not as part
of your daily diet. Stay away from sugary beverages, such as soda or blended
coffee drinks, which can provide up to 100 grams of pure sugar depending on the
size. Also, make sure you check the label on other products — like yogurt,
ketchup, or tomato sauce — that may have hidden sources of sugar. Instead, base
your diet on whole foods that don’t contain any additional sugar: vegetables,
lean protein, whole grains, fruits, and healthy fats.
Carbohydrates


carbohydrate heavy food fries burger cookies


After
being digested, carbohydrates get broken down into pure sugar, which, as we
know, causes AGEs. But not all carbs are created equal. Fruits and vegetables
are carbohydrates and many of them have amazing nutritional properties that can
actually prevent wrinkles. So, totally avoiding carbs to avoid wrinkles would
actually be detrimental to the health your skin.
Instead,
avoid carbs that are highly refined and processed, which have little
nutritional benefit and can be damaging to the skin. Ideally, to help prevent
wrinkles, limit concentrated sources of carbohydrates such as bagels (which
average 50 grams of carbs each), muffins, breakfast cereals, white bread,
cookies, pastries, and cakes. Focus on eating healthy, less-processed carbs
which provide nutrients that improve the appearance of skin. Base your diet
around whole grains, fruits, and vegetables — all of which are carbs, but also
contain antioxidants and wrinkle-reducing vitamins.
Margarine


margarine on toast


For
a long time, margarine was touted as a better choice than butter because of its
lower saturated fat content. But this was before we learned of the damaging
effects of the polyunsaturated fats found in margarine. A study published
in an issue of 2001’s Journal of The American College of Nutrition found
that people who regularly consumed margarine had more wrinkles than those who
ate less margarine.
This
may be related to the type of fat found in margarine, which tends to increase
inflammation, leading to an increase in oxidative stress. Uncontrolled
oxidative stress damages all the body’s organs, including the skin. Therefore,
inflammation not only increases your risk of disease, it also causes damage to
skin, leading to a dry, dull appearance and the formation of wrinkles. Avoid
margarine and opt for small amounts of real butter instead. Better yet, top
bread with some type of nut butter, which will give you the right types of fats
for healthy skin.
Dairy


woman drinking milk


Although
dairy products do provide calcium — a critical mineral for bone health and
muscle function — they also tend to increase inflammation, leading to a rise in
oxidative stress, one of the causes of premature aging. Dairy is also high in
milk sugar, called lactose, which can increase the formation of AGEs, leading
to collagen damage. 
Instead,
try to get your calcium from other sources such as green leafy vegetables, or
milk alternatives. It’s ok to eat a little bit of a low-sugar Greek yogurt here
and there, but be sure you read the label and compare products to find the
option lowest in sugar.
Red
meat


grilling burgers


Red
meat may lead to the formation of wrinkles, but only if it’s charred. Lean red
meat has been found to be a healthy source of protein and nutrients in the diet
and should not necessarily be avoided. But, when meat is burnt, it forms what
is called inflammatory hydrocarbons, which increase inflammation, damaging many
of the body’s organs including the skin. Also, processed meats, such as
sausage, bacon, or deli meats, are high in sodium and other preservatives,
which can increase skin-damaging inflammation. 
If
you are a meat eater, just be sure to limit your consumption of processed
meats, opting for fresh cuts instead. If you choose to grill your meat, just
cut off the burnt pieces to limit the consumption of those inflammatory
compounds.
Alcohol


glass of alcohol

It’s
no secret that no one looks their best after a night of drinking. But regular
intake of alcohol can have a long-term effect on your appearance also. Alcohol
is toxic and dehydrating. It increases inflammation and speeds up aging. In
addition, the dehydration can make your skin look dull and dry. Alcohol also
deprives your body of critical nutrients it needs to maintain healthy skin,
hair, and nails.
The
daily recommended amount is no more than one drink for women, and two for men.
But this doesn’t mean you should save up all of your drinks for the weekend
only. It’s best to drink a little at a time, rather than all in one session.
Eating
for smooth skin


woman eating


Not
only should you limit or avoid the foods listed above for smooth, youthful
skin, you can also choose to eat foods that support healthy skin. The best way
to do this is to increase your fruit and vegetable intake. 
Choose
fruits and vegetables that contain vitamin C (strawberries, citrus, bell
peppers) and vitamin A (carrots, sweet potatoes). These antioxidants help keep
your skin healthy and give the collagen and elastin the nutrients they need to
prevent wrinkles. Start limiting your sugar and eating more colorful fruits and
veggies and you’ll be on your way to wrinkle-free, beautiful skin in no time!
Prevention
is the key


woman with smooth skin


It’s
really hard to get rid of wrinkles once they show up, so prevention is the key.
A healthy lifestyle will help your skin look great. Along with whole foods,
regular exercise, sleep, and stress-management can also have an impact. 
Wear
sunscreen regularly, and eat foods that are beneficial to your health and
well-being, which will also benefit your skin. Aim for plenty of fruits and
vegetables that help reduce damage caused by free radicals. Lean protein and
healthy fats help too. Eating the right types of foods can not only benefit
your health, they can also protect your skin against wrinkles and keep you
looking youthful forever.





SOURCE: THE LIST
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.