These Are The Foods That Age You—And Here’s What To Eat Instead

foods that age you

Our skin says a lot about us. Perhaps one of the most apparent is our age. Sun exposure, nutrition, and other things can be shown through the look of our skin. Unfortunately, you might be consuming foods that age you, but we have some swap you can easily make to have youthful-looking skin!

Studies show we can blame sun exposure and advanced glycation for aging skin (AGEs). An AGEs is the result of protein or fat combining with sugar. Of course, we still crave Vitamin D and can’t change the biology of our bodies, so these two things are sort of inevitable. Luckily, there are foods that specifically lead to AGEs that you can be aware of and alternatives to try instead!

Top Foods That Age You

foods that age you


You guessed it! Sugar is always the culprit, isn’t it? As far as skin goes, sugar will exacerbate current problems like acne, rosacea, or eczema and can also contribute to inflammation which decreases the collagen and elasticity of the skin. Combined with sunlight, it’s even more damaging!

The worst sugar-filled foods for anti-aging:

  • Energy Drinks
  • Baked Goods
  • Candy

Try this:

Consider switching out your sugary drink or treat with fruit or dark chocolate instead. Some studies even show blueberries can reduce the breakdown of collagen! 

foods that age you

Frozen Meals

We know, there are aisles full of delicious frozen meal options these days, and they’re perfect when you’re in a pinch. But in those convenient microwavable meals are extreme levels of sodium! Experts continue to study the effects of salt on our bodies and skin, but preliminary findings point to a correlation between inflammation and eczema.

Try this: Of course, we don’t want to eliminate your solution to last minute or easy dinner options. A few ways to help with dinnertime laziness or lack of time are pre-made meals and meal boxes delivered to your door! Popular meal boxes include Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, and Home Chef!

foods that age you


When thinking about alcohol, what comes to mind first? The sugary drinks? Dehydration? The truth is, alcohol can cause a host of issues with skin and throughout the body. Drinking alcohol results in a depletion of nutrients, dehydration, and lowers vitamin A levels. All of these things lead to wrinkles.

Try this: If you’re not happy about letting go of your wine altogether, consider lessening your intake. The occasional glass of wine or beer isn’t going to make a big difference. With that said, make an effort to limit yourself. If you do drink, opt for a drink without sugar or change plans from grabbing a drink to meeting for tea!

Butter Substitutes

Butter has a special place in our hearts, I know. But looking at the science, you might want to make some switches for the sake of your skin. Studies have shown that those who don’t eat butter or margarine have less aging in skin. Margarine is even worse than real butter (in moderation) because it’s high in partially hydrogenated oils. That means the skin is more vulnerable to ultraviolet radiation.

Try this: Instead of butter, use olive oil for cooking or avocado on toast!


When it comes to dairy, studies are still up in the air. While many people have experienced clearer, smoother skin after dropping dairy, others may not see a difference at all. For some, dairy may increase inflammation, which can cause oxidative stress. This is one of the main causes of premature aging. So, while dairy can be a great source of calcium, you may want to chat with your doctor about your tolerance to be sure. 

Try this: Seeds, beans, almonds, and leafy greens are also excellent sources of calcium!

Soda & Coffee

There are actually benefits to coffee, but the issue has more to do with sleep quality. Poor sleep has been linked to increasing signs of aging, along with fine lines, dark circles, and other skin issues. Be mindful of your sugar and caffeine intake throughout the day — if it’s affecting your beauty sleep, you may want to make some changes. 

Try this: Swap out your afternoon coffee for golden milk! Turmeric, the main ingredient in golden milk, offers plenty of antioxidants and anti-aging compounds. 

Rice Cakes

When thinking about foods that age you, it’s surprising to find rice cakes on the list. Rice cakes may be a good low-calorie snack, but they also have a high glycemic index which can cause spikes in blood sugar. This will act as an “aging accelerator” that can cause fine lines and wrinkles. 

Try this: Reach for a tasty hummus with bell pepper slices! Bell peppers are rich in Vitamin C (which is great for skin!) and chickpeas are also full of healthy antioxidants. 

foods that age you

Moderation is Key

Making changes to diet is always easier said than done, but if your goal is to achieve youthful-looking skin for the long term, making some swaps or substitutions might be worth it. Of course, moderation is key, and you can still attain the skin you’re aiming for with the occasional girls night out with wine or ice cream cone.

Now that we’ve covered the foods that age you, let’s dive into the Ayurvedic diet!