6 things that lead to premature ageing (that we do everyday)
All of us have our fingers and toes crossed that we’ll age gracefully but instead of putting it down to pure luck, take some of our advice and avoid the following triggers that can speed up the ageing process.
Ninety per cent of premature ageing is caused by sun damage. UV light causes free radicals to damage cell membranes, releasing destructive enzymes called proteases. These break down the soft skeleton of the skin, creating wrinkles and diminishing collagen.
Food fix: Antioxidants are the best way to fight free radicals, so it’s important to eat plenty of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables. Tuck into tomatoes, mixed peppers, citrus fruit and berries.
Sensible solution: Wear sunscreen, limit your time in the sun and remember to moisturise your entire body before bed. ‘What about my tan?’ We can hear you screaming. Try a moisturising fake tan after exfoliating.
Research shows that diets high in refined sugar can hasten the ageing process. Sugar attacks elastin and collagen fibres, making them brittle which can lead to fine lines and wrinkles.
Food fix: Cut back on those cakes, biscuits, sweets, fruit juices and processed sauces. Keep sweet treats to a minimum and look for natural sugar substitutes such as xylitol and stevia.
Stress triggers the hormone cortisol, which may prevent skin healing. It can also affect sleep and a decent slumber is crucial for skin repair. During quality sleep, your body releases human growth hormone (HGH) from the pituitary gland to repair cells– we naturally produce less HGH as we age, so good shut-eye becomes crucial.
Food fix: Cut back on alcohol and caffeine to lower the stress response and improve sleep. Magnesium and calcium-rich foods (green, leafy veg and dairy) will help relax muscles and calm the brain, respectively.
Sensible Solution: Get to bed earlier. It’s a no brainer but setting an alarm that tells you it’s bedtime will help you avoid the sudden realisation that you’ve watched one too many episodes on Netflix and it’s midnight.
Food intolerances and allergies aren’t just uncomfortable but the inflammation they cause has a huge effect on your skin’s appearance. Dairy, grains, nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes and aubergines, citrus, nuts, eggs and shellfish are all common irritants in the human body.
Food fix: Keep a diary of the food you eat to see which ones trigger a flare-up. Make an effort to keep your diet varied. You can keep inflammation to a minimum by eating food rich in essential fats, like nuts, seeds, avocado and oily fish.
If you suffer IBS, constipation or sensitive bowels, chances are you’re not absorbing enough nutrients from your food to keep your face looking its best.
Food fix: Take a probiotic capsule daily to help your tummy do its job. Eat more fibre and prebiotic foods, such as vegetables and pulses, which ‘feed’ friendly gut bacteria.
The liver helps your body get rid of toxic substances, but if it’s overworked (too much alcohol, cigarette smoke and unhealthy food) your body may be forced to use detox plan B: the skin. The result is nasty redness and spots.
Food fix: Eat organic and cut back on processed food and alcohol. Brassica vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts) also support the liver.
Sensible Solution: Mark a weekend (or two) every month on your calendar as a weekend of sobriety. Many of us enjoy a wine or two to unwind but by having an alcohol-free weekend, not only will you give your liver a break you’ll also appreciate your next glass just a little bit more.