They say you are what you eat, but you’re also made up of the things you do and don’t do. What habits have you picked up over the years that are actually aging you, and what can you do to change them in order to help you live a happy and healthy life for years to come?
The internet age has created a new way to be lazy — binge-watching. Why watch one episode a week when you can wait for the season to be released and binge-watch it in an afternoon? Unfortunately, this is one of those sneaky habits that age you.
One study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that binge-watching your favorite shows can shorten your life by 22 minutes for each hour you watch, so you might not even have a chance to look your age. Other studies have looked at the physical impact of binge-watching on your body and have found that sitting for long periods of time is detrimental to your health, leading to a variety of heart concerns and an increase in insulin levels.
What does this have to do with habits that age you? Increased insulin levels lead to extra sugars being deposited in your cells, increasing your chances of being overweight. That added weight on your body can make you look older than you really are. Instead of binge-watching your shows, enjoy them slowly, like they were originally intended.
2. No-Fat Diets
Even if you’re trying to lose or maintain your weight, fats are not the enemy and totally avoiding them is a quick way to look older than you are.
The fats you should avoid are the bad ones — saturated and trans fats — and instead replace them with healthy omega-3 fatty acids that are found in foods like salmon and avocados. While it might not be a habit that ages you on the outside, removing all fats from your diet will definitely age you on the inside, and can increase your risk of heart disease.
3. Eye Cream
Eye creams are marketed as anti-aging products, and it might seem like a sales gimmick, but a properly formulated eye cream can help reduce the signs of aging. Look for an eye cream that contains a form of vitamin A called Retin-A, as well as other components that help your body create extra collagen and elastin. These two natural products help restore elasticity to the skin and reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles around the eyes.
By simply adding an eye cream to your daily beauty regimen, you can reduce the signs of aging.
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What do pillowcases have to do with habits that age you? Sleep is good for you, after all — not getting enough sleep can double the signs of aging on your skin. If you’re the kind of person who sleeps on their stomach with their face in a pillow, it might be time to change it up.
If you can’t change your sleeping position, try a sleek silk or satin pillowcase — it helps prevent the formation of wrinkles that can be caused by cotton or polyester pillowcases. Let’s face it — the older we get, the less springy and supple our skin is. Sleeping on the side of your face all the time can cause those pillowcase creases to become permanent wrinkles.
There’s nothing better than your favorite custom iced coffee drink to sip through a straw as you’re making your way to work in the morning, right? Unfortunately, drinking out of straws or water bottles, or the motion you make while smoking, can all cause wrinkles. The movement you make with your mouth to drink from a straw, after age 25 or so, causes the collagen to start to break down, creating smokers’ lines.
Thankfully, this is an easy habit to fix — just pour your bottled drinks into a glass and skip the straws!
Ah, sugar — how we love thee, let us count the ways. Unfortunately, those sweet treats aren’t just putting you at risk for obesity like we discussed earlier — they’re damaging your skin, too. Sugar in your bloodstream goes through a process known as glycation, where it attaches to proteins and forms molecules known as advanced glycation end products.
Yes, the sugars that are damaging your skin are called AGEs. Just take that in for a moment.
These AGEs damage collagen and elastin in your skin, those same vital components that we discussed earlier, contributing to the formation of wrinkles and sagging skin as you get older. The more sugar you eat, the more damaging molecules your body generates. Make it a treat, but try to keep it out of your everyday diet if you want to avoid early wrinkles.
Some of the strangest things we do can make us look older than our years. Take care of your skin while you’re still young and it will serve you well into your golden years.
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