We’ve all heard the old adage; you are what you eat! It’s true, what you consume effects both your vital inner organs, the efficiency of your digestive system, mental agility, and energy levels, as well as your outward appearance.  Weight, visual age and the condition of your skin are all impacted by the foods you regularly consume.  

For instance, if your diet is poor, you use nicotine, consume excess amounts of caffeine or alcohol, you will likely appear older than your actual age. That’s why we’ve decided to call out the worst foods for your skin. We’re not saying to cut them out completely, but if you reserve them only for special occasions, your skin will thank you. 

Here are the top ten foods to avoid help prevent signs of premature aging. 

1. Nitrates
Nitrates are a color and food preservative contained in processed meats, such as deli meats and cheeses, bacon, sausage, and hot dogs. Unfortunately, while nitrites prevent salmonella and other harmful bacteria from residing in cured meats, they also form nitrosamines (cancer-causing chemicals) when you consume too many. That’s why it’s important to stay away from processed meat or buy organic whenever the option allows. 

2. Refined Sugars
While we love to occasionally indulge in chocolate, candy, cookies and baked treats, they don’t love our skin. The high levels of refined sugar contained within these tempting goodies are actually linked to weakening the immune system, causing skin to become dull, thin, and parched. They also rob the body of the collagen and elastin production needed to keep us looking radiant and youthful.

3. Saturated Animal Fats
Saturated animal fats can be found in the fat or skin on meats and even in your favorite cheese. Meats like pork and chicken, as well as high fat dairy products like milk and cream, are the worst culprits. Not only do saturated fats potentially harm your heart health, they cause unsightly blemishes on your skin such as blackheads and pimples. 

4.  Hydrogenated Oil
As delicious as they are, french fries, chicken wings, deep fried bar bites, and chicken fingers and the worst for you. Food that are fried in hydrogenated oils will not only increase your risk of heart disease if you consume them too frequently, they can also increase oil buildup on the surface of your skin. Instead of smearing your bagel with margarine, consider instead, a natural nut butter (like almond butter) and stay away from donuts in favor of a toasted whole wheat English muffin. You will greatly reduce the bacteria that can get trapped on your skin leading to breakouts.

5. Soda 
If you’re addicted to the sugar rush, or the effervescence of soda, you’re not only potentially damaging your oral health and leaving your teeth prone to cavities; you are rising your risk of type 2 diabetes. Soda also causes your skin to become dry, dull and flaky, since you’re replacing it for water. And while diet sodas may not contain as much sugar content, they aren’t any better for your health. Artificial sweeteners contain just as much moisture stripping caffeine, artificial colors, and flavor chemicals. 

6. Caffeine
Coffee… our morning comfort. Now, there’s a big difference between having a cup of coffee in the morning and having a whole pot. Caffeine is a diuretic, which not only dehydrates your body, it also dries out your skin and increases cortisol production, a type of stress hormone that’s linked to accelerated aging.

7. Olestra
Baked versus fried snacks?  Baked potato chips aren’t any better if you expect to have glowing skin. Why? These low-fat baked snacks contain a synthetic fat, Olestra. Olestra strips the body of essential fat-soluble vitamins A, E, D and K and carotenoids, or antioxidants, causing damage to our digestive systems, aging the skin, and even leaving the skin’s surface prone to lesions and blemishes.

8. Alcohol
While enjoying an occasional beer or a glass of red wine won’t harm your youthful skin, overindulging, and excessive alcohol consumption will damage your liver. This causes liver toxicity, leaving behind a trail of free radicals, and free radicals will cause vasodilatation, the condition behind skin blunders like rosacea. 

9. White Breads & Pastas
Refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, and baked goods are high on the glycemic index, they increase insulin production. So, they not only leave you at risk of type 2 diabetes, they also leave your skin prone to acne and skin inflammation. Complex carbohydrates such as whole grain breads and pastas are a much better option for your overall health than those of the refined white variety.

10. High-Sodium Snacks
Chips, cheese puffs, pretzels, snack crackers, even the low-fat versions of these snacks wreak havoc on your skin. All made with vegetable oil, they contain large amounts of sodium, to help make up for the lost fat flavor. Not only does a high sodium diet leave us prone to high blood pressure; it also leaves us prone to chronic skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis. 

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