How Diet Makes You Look Old

5 Diet and Exercise Mistakes That Age You

We are pumped to share one of our favorite stories from Prevention here on FitSugar!

Eating too much sugar certainly isn’t wise for your waistline, but did you know that overindulging in dessert can add years to your face? And even if you do strenuous cardio workouts each week, you’ll be missing out on potential antiaging body benefits if your schedule doesn’t include yoga, weight training, and rest.

"Good nutrition is a fundamental building block of healthy skin," explains Leslie Baumann, MD, a Miami Beach dermatologist. The natural ingredients in whole foods such as romaine lettuce and strawberries help increase cell turnover and boost production of collagen fibers to help keep skin smooth and firm. Conversely, foods with little-to-no nutritional benefits, like sugar-packed doughnuts, can actually damage the collagen and elastin that keep skin firm and youthful. These aging effects start at about age 35 and increase rapidly after that, according to a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Even if your diet is wholesome, you could be making exercise mistakes that age you as well. For example, if you only do cardio at the expense of other types of exercise, like yoga and strength training, you could be missing out on skin-protective benefits.

Find out if you're making one of these five common aging diet and exercise mistakes and get smart prevention strategies that can keep you slim and youthful for years to come.

1. You Overdo Dessert

The breakdown of sugars, called glycation, damages the collagen that keeps skin smooth and firm. To prevent this natural process from careening out of control, Naila Malik, MD, a derm in Southlake, TX, sticks to low-glycemic carbs like whole grains: they're naturally low in sugar, and the body processes them slowly to limit the loss of collagen. If you want to sweeten up your tea or oatmeal without making your skin look older, try all-natural stevia. It's an easily digested herbal sweetener that doesn't trigger glycation, according to board-certified dermatologist Nicholas Perricone, MD, an adjunct professor of medicine at Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine.

More Surprising Reasons Sweets Cause Wrinkles

See what other antiaging mistakes you're making after the break!

2. You Spin Away Stress

Taking your work angst out on the Spinning bike or treadmill might make you feel better for a little while, but incorporating yoga into your fitness routine regularly may help you look younger and prevent breakouts while whittling away stress. Sounds like a winning workout to us! "Yoga moves like Child's Pose, Downward-Facing Dog, and Sun Salutations improve circulation — the boost of oxygen is what gives skin that lovely yoga glow," says Hema Sundaram, MD, a Washington DC–area dermatologist. New research finds regular yoga practice may reduce the inflammation and stress that speed skin aging. If you need another reason to om away your stress: high levels of tension can spike hormone production, which leads to breakouts or aggravates conditions like psoriasis. "Controlling stress keeps your skin calm," says Annie Chiu, MD, a dermatologist in LA.

Save Your Sanity With This Stress-Busting Yoga Routine

3. You Always Choose Coffee Over Tea

Research suggests that green and black tea contain protective compounds — like EGCG and theaflavins — that help prevent skin cancers and the breakdown of collagen, the cause of wrinkles.

4. You Pretend to Be Allergic to Dumbbells

Following a regular strength-training routine that creates better, more supportive muscle tone will help you firm sagging skin from the neck down. "I am religious about strength training and I always tell patients to do it more as they get older," says Patricia Farris, MD, a dermatologist in Metairie, LA. "It's like adding volume to the face with fillers, except on your body," Farris says.

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5. You're Missing Alkaline-Rich Foods

Kimberly Snyder, a Los Angeles nutritionist and author of The Beauty Detox Solution ($9.77, amazon.com), says she sees a big improvement in her clients' skin and hair when they eat more alkaline-forming foods, such as parsley, almonds, kale, pears, lemons, and apples. "If your body is too acidic, which can happen when your diet is unbalanced, it leaches the alkaline minerals — such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium — that allow us to have strong, healthy bones, teeth, and hair," Snyder explains.

Learn Three More Workout and Diet Mistakes You’re Making

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