As we age, we can’t get away with eating the same way we used to without it showing up on our skin and our waistlines. While it’s important to eat less as your metabolism slows, it’s not all just about calorie counting. You may be surprised to hear some of the food items you should try to avoid if your 50 or older:

  • Alcohol: Don’t be afraid to indulge in the occasional drink, but limit how much alcohol you imbibe. It’s dehydrating, which is bad for skin, and the empty calories can cause weight gain. Excessive alcohol consumption can also affect blood vessels in the face, resulting in unflattering redness.
  • Caffeine: It’s fine to have a little bit of caffeine each day, but too much can also dehydrate you, leading to a dull, dry and lifeless complexion.
  • Salt: You probably know that salt exacerbate high blood pressure, but did you know that it can also wreak havoc on your appearance? Sodium can cause you to retain water, leaving you bloated with puffiness around the eyes, which makes any dark circles look even worse. Dieticians and dermatologists say it may also slow collagen production, leading to more wrinkles and fine lines as well as thinner skin. Stay away from shellfish and foods that are pickled or cured.
  • Sugar: Sugar is also a major culprit when it comes to wrinkled skin, inhibiting collage production and increasing inflammation.
  • White foods: Sugar isn’t just found in sweet foods — it’s also lurking in processed “white” foods, such as rice, pasta, potatoes and bread. Try to stay away from these simple carbohydrates.

At this point, you may find yourself wondering, “So what can I eat?” Here are some foods that will help you stay on the right track:

  • Berries: Berries are loaded with antioxidants and can help increase collagen production.
  • Dark, leafy greens: Dark, leafy greens like Swiss chard, kale and spinach are rich in nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin C and beta-carotene, all of which help your skin fight the aging process.
  • “Good” carbs: Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as some whole grains, such as quinoa, barley and steel cut oats.
  • Green tea: Green tea has lots of antioxidant properties and has less caffeine than coffee, making it a good alternative to your morning cup of java.
  • Herbs: Cutting salt can be difficult, especially at first. Try pumping up the flavor with lots of savory dried and fresh herbs, like rosemary, cilantro, thyme, sage, pepper and cumin. If you like a spicy kick, throw in some jalapenos or chiles. Turmeric, which you’ve likely tasted in curries, acts as an anti-inflammatory, making it good on your taste buds and good for your skin and body!
  • Lemon: Lemon or vinegar can add a tangy bite without any extra sugar, salt or calories. Drizzle over salads and on grilled chicken.

As you get older, it’s important to give your skin some extra TLC by investing in regular chemical peels to get rid of old, dead skin and boost new cell generation. Contact The Lett Center in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, to learn more. If you’d like to explore your options for surgical and/or non-surgical procedures to sculpt your waistline or rejuvenate your facial features, ask to schedule an initial consultation with Dwayne Lett, M.D. Dr. Lett is a board certified plastic surgeon with the experience and skills necessary to help you look as young as you feel!