We all want to be beautiful. There’s no shame in admitting that. We want to feel confident, attractive and energetic. Thanks to the media, we may have messed up ideas of what beauty looks like, but the desire to look and feel “beautiful” is universal and nothing to be ashamed of.
Unfortunately, most of us are going about it all wrong. We buy every ointment, cream and serum on the shelves, hoping it will brighten, tighten, cover and color. We slather ourselves in cosmetics riddled with toxic chemicals, hoping that beauty will emerge. Meanwhile, we deny our bodies the nutrients they so desperately need. Starving ourselves in order to shed a few pounds, all the while ignoring the fact that a body which is unhealthy on the inside can never look its best on the outside.
One of the most interesting parts of the book is a list of what Hart calls “Beauty Betrayers” — foods most of us eat on a daily basis that are actually sabotage our good looks because they leave our bodies ill-prepared to fight off outside attacks. Are you sabotaging your own beauty? Browse the list below to find out.
12 Foods That Are Sabotaging Your Good Looks
1. Alcohol – “Alcohol, like sugar, disrupts delicate hormonal balance,” explains Hart. Alcohol consumption also places stress on the liver and inhibits blood flow to your skin, which can make skin appear dull or flushed with broken capillaries.
2. Caffeine – There’s a lot of conflicting information about caffeine’s health benefits. While there may be some perks, too much can take a toll on your appearance. “Caffeine puts a major burden on your body’s adrenal glands and liver, and it’s acidic to your body’s pH,” says Hart. Caffeine addiction can also mess with your sleep cycle, which can disrupt your beauty sleep.
3. Canned foods with BPA – This common ingredient in food packaging and plastics has been linked to all sorts of hormone disruption and health issues. What many don’t realize is that BPA can also lead to blemished skin and the appearance of rapid aging.
4. Dairy – Tired of dealing with acne as an adult? Wish you could drop the tire around your waist? A diet with too much dairy could be the cause of both. “‘[N]on-organic, or ‘conventional,’ dairy products at your grocery store contain antibiotics and added hormones that spike insulin in the body, leading to breakouts,” explains Hart. The lactose and casein in dairy can also lead to chronic bloating and gas. (When I cut dairy out of my life, the bloat was the first thing to go).
5. Fried Foods – I know what you’re thinking. Fried foods are fatty. That’s true, but that’s not the only reason to avoid them. Frying oil is often heated to such a high temperature that it becomes a source of free radicals that cause wrinkles, inflammation, age spots and other beauty issues.
6. Gluten – Food allergies, especially to gluten, are on the rise around the world. Sensitivity to gluten is hard to diagnose, but if you’re intolerant and eat it anyway, you’re likely to experience inflammation, compromised digestion and skin problems.
7. Grilled and Overcooked Foods – “The more you burn, brown, singe, and generally overcook your foods, the less beauty nutrients they retain—and the more wrinkle-causing Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) they form in your body when you eat them,” Hart writes.
8. Conventional Meats – Most of the meat and meat products at your supermarket contain antibiotics, hormones and other nasty stuff that boosts inflammation with an abundance of omega-6 fatty acids and a lack of omega-3s. Hart recommends eating red meat and poultry sparingly, substituting other sources of healthier protein.
9. Pesticide-Sprayed Produce – Eating non-organic produce increases exposure to “pesticide residue containing toxins that increase the free-radical burden on your body and interfere with other beauty defense and repair processes,” Hart writes.
10. Processed Foods – Highly processed ingredients (in addition to often being genetically-modified) are known to trigger aging inflammation, load your body with free radicals, and cause spikes in blood sugar that can lead to acne, wrinkles and hormonal imbalance.
11. Soda – By now you should know that the massive amount of refined sugar in soda (including diet soda!) puts you on the fast-track for obesity. What you may not know is that the high levels of phosphates in soda have been linked to accelerated aging, tooth enamel decay and bone loss. And “[c]aramel color in colas is a direct source of AGE formation, an aging, wrinkle-causing process,” Hart adds.
12. Sugar – “Sugar is just plain toxic to your beauty,” Hart states, reinforcing the findings of lots of recent research. “Sugar steals nutrients and hydration from your skin; suppresses your immune system, making you more prone to illness; feeds bad bacteria; and curbs the production of antiaging hormones in your body,” she continues, also pointing out that eating too much refined sugar robs your body of the ability to feel full, which encourages overeating.
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