What you eat impacts everything from your skin to your bones to your cognitive abilities. Here at the Huffington Post, we've written about foods you should never eat and foods you should always eat. We've written about men and eating disorders and women and food addiction. But what about the general eating habits that make you look or feel years older than your actual age? Below are four food habits that will do you more harm than good.
1) Consuming too much red meat and too many full-fat dairy products.
A study from May 2012 by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital found that saturated fats -- found in red meat and full-fat dairy products -- cause the brain to age more quickly than other kinds of fat. The study looked at the dietary habits of nearly 6,200 women over age 65 and found that, on average, those who reported the highest saturated fat intake also scored the poorest on cognitive tests. The good news is that you can slow brain aging by consuming olive oil, avocado and other monounsaturated fats.
2) Using too much salt.
A little salt is okay. It's too much salt that's not good. Not only does salt dehydrate the body, but excess salt also contributes to kidney disease, high blood pressure and interferes with bone metabolism. A study by researchers at Baycrest in Toronto found that a high-salt diet -- coupled with low physical activity -- can be detrimental to cognitive health in older adults.
3) Having a sweet tooth.
The over-consumption of sugar has long been linked to aging. Sugar damages collagen, which leads to wrinkles and sagging skin. A piece of cake here and there won't make a huge difference. But the average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar a day -- too much if you want a youthful-looking face.
4) Eating when you are rushed and stressed -- such as at your desk or in a car.
If you eat when you're stressed, the major stress hormones will push blood away from your stomach and into your extremities, making it harder for your body to sufficiently digest foods and absorb nutrients. Stress also can lead to over-eating, which can lead to obesity. And stress also can exacerbate existing diabetes by hurting a person's ability to manage the disease effectively.
What do you think about these food habits? Let us know in the comments.
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