UNHEALTHY food choices don’t just ruin your beach body goals; they significantly impact the ageing process.
“Ageing cannot be prevented, but it can be slowed down by controlling genes expressions (DNA). The focus on the ageing process has been on the so-called free radicals which are generated not only by radiation, but by environmental pollutants (chemicals in water, air, and food), pharmaceutical drugs, as well as being normal by-products of cellular metabolism,” health dietician and nutritionist Jenelle Solomon says.
She points out that increased levels of these free radicals in body tissues can be detrimental to health and vitality.
“They can damage both the structure and function of cell membranes, as well as cause damage at the DNA level. They are implicated in the causes of many diseases, not the least of which are directly related to ageing and longevity, such as cancer, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, senility, and many others,” Solomon cautioned.
Below, Solomon shares with All Woman examples of foods that produce free radicals, causing one to age faster:
Solomon said these add no value to the diet when consumed consistently. “Sweeteners such as aspartame are very acidic and could lead to damage in your skin’s collagen, which keeps your skin springy and resists wrinkles. They also offset diseases associated with ageing, including Alzheimer’s, cancer, metabolic diseases related to fat build-up, and on obesity, which all contribute to the ageing process. So stop having sodas and other drinks packed with these sweeteners,” she advised.
“As people grow older, many pastimes include having friends over for drinks; or when you get home there seems to be nothing that better relaxes you than a glass of wine or two,” Solomon said. Although this can be harmless when consumed in moderate portions, and although some studies show that wine can have a good effect on the heart, she stressed that too much alcohol actually increases the ageing process.
The health dietician and nutritionist said that sausage, bacon, hot dogs, pepperoni, salami, corned beef, deli meats – being processed meats – should be avoided if you want to slow down the ageing process. “These foods are high in saturated fats and have nitrates in them which are among the leading causes of inflammation,” she said.
High-energy dense foods
Solomon said that high-energy dense foods are high in calories. These include fast foods – potato chips, fries, fried chicken, cheeseburgers, and even baked products. Solomon said these products are known for increasing bad cholesterol and decreasing good ones, while encouraging fat build-up, which increases the risk of cardiac disease.
Monitor your salt intake
“You will find that the taste buds become insensitive to some flavours, salt being one of them, and some people try to make up for this by adding more salt to their food. But this should not be. Salt is also known to encourage water retention which causes bloating, and also can offset or negatively impact those who suffer from high blood pressure,” Solomon explained.
Moreover, she advised against overcooking foods, as this destroys the optimal qualities of nutrients. “Vitamins are destroyed, proteins are denatured, fats and oils are altered at the molecular level, all too often forming free radicals that are carcinogenic (cancerous),” she explained.