Is Your Diet Aging You?
Simple strategies to keep you young, inside and out.
Did you look in the mirror this morning and think, "Wow, I look great!"? Or did you think, "When did I get so old?"
If it was the latter, you might want 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. And there’s no way to put the brakes on it, no matter what the latest "nutraceuticals" may claim. But an unhealthy diet can send your aging process into overdrive and leave you looking years older than you really are. And, it probably isn't doing the inside of your body any favors, either.
Timothy Harlan, assistant professor of medicine at Tulane University School of Medicine, a former restaurateur known as "Dr. Gourmet," and author of Just Tell Me What to Eat!, says, "There’s an incredible amount of evidence that says that eating junk puts your body into an inflammatory state. Poor-quality foods, like trans fats, cause inflammation -- and aging is basically a chronic inflammatory state." Harlan asks: "Can you look older because you’re eating crap?" And he answers: "Absolutely."
For example, too much sugar and processed carbohydrates in the diet can lead to the production of what are called AGEs -- advanced glycation end products. "These are associated with a number of diseases, like heart disease and diabetes,” says Andrea Giancoli, MPH, RD, a nutrition policy consultant for the California Center for Public Health Advocacy. What's more, she says, "they also damage the collagen and fibers of your skin."
But it's not just your looks that are on the line. Eating more than you should of foods that ramp up inflammation -- or that clog your arteries or pack on extra pounds -- can be bad news, from head to toe.