Food & Drinks That Can Make You Age Faster

by Isadora Baum, CHC

What we eat can speed up the aging process, so it's important to stick with more wholesome, nutritious foods that can boost freshness, longevity, and wellbeing, and limit foods that can negatively affect us. It's easy to know which foods cause aging, as it's often aligned with those that are generally less healthy and beneficial over all, such as processed foods, sugar, and bad fats, as explained by Dr. Bryce Wylde, author of the book, The Antioxidant Prescription, in an interview with Reader's Digest.

When we eat foods that can cause free radical damage, and don't have enough nutrients that can counter such effects, we expedite the aging process and can't protect ourselves, explain Dr. Charles Galanis, a Board Certified Surgeon in Chicago and Robert Dorfman, Research Fellow at Northwestern Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, over email with Bustle. As a certified health coach, I work with clients on promoting healthy skin, organs, and habits that can increase longevity and ward off signs of aging and inflammation. I suggest getting in adequate nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, and limiting foods that can be dangerous for aging. Here are 11 foods that can lead to aging and inflammation and can lower overall health and wellbeing.

1. Processed Foods

"Foods that are the mostly highly processed are considered the most insulting when it comes to our health," advises Liz Weinandy, RD at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center over email with Bustle. "Think potato chips, hot dogs, cookies, fast foods and the number of other food items devoid of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants," Weinandy adds. These are high in salt and bad fats, Weinandy explains, which promote aging.

2. Fast Food

While there is opportunity to order a healthier dish at a fast food vendor, the choices are often limited, and we tend to choose a standard burger and fries. These foods "often contain large amounts of sugar, salt, refined grains and/ or saturated and trans fats. These ingredients in significant amounts cause our bodies to work overtime to process them and secondly, these foods provide little to no nutritional value other than calories," says Weinandy.

3. Alcohol

"Alcohol can accelerate aging," advises Weinandy, as the properties in alcohol, when consumed in excess, can slow the metabolism, promote less taut skin and wrinkles, and decrease heart health, leading to weakened longevity. It's wise to limit alcohol in the week, and to stick with one or two glasses, to not binge or overwhelm the body with too much intake.

4. Pastries

"Sugar, refined carbohydrates and trans fat and sodium-packed packaged foods can increase aging," says Keri Glassman, registered dietician, and founder of and The Nutrition School over email with Bustle."All of these foods cause inflammation in the body which is linked to aging," Glassman adds. Pastries and baked goods are loaded with hidden sugars, fats, and salt, so they should be limited.

5. Coffee

While the smell of fresh coffee in the morning might seem like a savior, it can speed the aging process. It might be beneficial to drink coffee moderately, sticking to one or two cups, and swapping the rest for water, fresh juices, and tea later in the day that is void of caffeine, as caffeine can cause aging and is often in large doses in coffee products.

6. Red Meat

While it might be nice to enjoy a big steak on occasion, eating large quantities of red meat on a regular basis can seriously affect your skin and body's aging process, as it is quite inflammatory. Thus, swap for leaner, whiter cuts, such as chicken breast and turkey breast during the week, and save red meat for special occasions or consume in lower ounces, such as 3 oz or 4 oz.

7. Pasta

According to Andrea Giancoli, MPH, RD, a policy analyst for Beach Cities Health District, over email with Bustle, in interview with WebMD, pasta and other starchy items that are high in refined carbohydrates and sugars can speed aging and create inflammation. Thus, switching to whole wheat or whole grain brands could help, as well as eating in moderation and adding more vegetables.

8. Rice Cakes

Valori Treloar, MD, dermatologist and author of The Clear Skin Diet explained over interview with Prevention that the properties in rice cakes are not actually a beneficial, health food, but rather a diet-buster, as they prevent wrinkle-fighting nutrients from doing their jobs. Instead, eat whole grain bread or crackers, along with some protein, like nut butter.

9. Candy

Patricia Farris, MD, dermatologist and author of The Sugar Detox explained over interview with Prevention that candy can boost inflammation and aging in the body, as it is void of nutrition and can promote wrinkles, poor heart health, and decreased longevity. It damages collagen, making us look older, Farris explained. Swap a donut or candy bar for a snack filled with protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants.

10. Soda

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Eating sugar can speed aging, advised Ariel Ostad, MD, fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology in interview with Health, and sugar can be found in candy, baked goods, and other foods, for sure, but they are also hidden in common beverages, such as soda and juices. Opt for low sugar juice or swap for water or tea, instead of downing a can of soda when that afternoon slump hits.

11. Canned Soup

Ranella Hirsch, MD, former president of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology & Aesthetic Surgery, and a dermatologist practicing in Massachusetts explained over interview with Health that canned goods are high in sodium and can lead to faster aging and inflammatory effects. Canned soup is a great example, so steer clear, and make your own soup for better health.

It's inevitable: we are aging; however, by avoiding these foods in favor of those packed with vital nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, we can slow the process and reduce inflammation in the body as best as possible. Be mindful of your eating habits, and get ready to implement some positive changes.

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