We all know that eating fresh versus processed is better for us, but often it’s time (and, let’s be honest, money) that keeps us from whipping up meals from scratch three times a day. Still, staying away from manufactured foods is essential, not only for your health but for your looks, too.
Nutritionist Christine Avanti, author of Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food, says that factory-made foods lack necessary nutrients like Oomega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, zinc, biotin, vitamin A, protein, iron, and beta-carotenes. “They’re processed in a way that diminishes the nutritional value of the basic ingredients, adds calories from fats and sugars, and disguises the loss of taste and texture with salt, artificial colors and flavors, and other additives,” she says. “When you are eating a diet of processed foods that are void of these nutrients, you void your body’s ability to look gorgeous, naturally.”
While it’s nearly impossible to entirely cut out processed food, Avanti says that the following five are the ones you must stay away from—at least for your face’s sake.
Talk about empty calories. Processed foods not only strip your body of the good nutrients it needs to grow beautiful hair and have glowing skin, but they eat into your daily caloric intake. Sodas (and anything with caffeine) cause dehydration, which will make your skin look more dry and wrinkled. Plump up with water instead.
2. Bad fats
You need the healthy fats for beautiful skin and hair like olive oil and coconut oil. Stay away from the bad fats—corn, soybean and palm oil—that are void of nutrients.
3. Anything with high-fructose corn syrup
Read those labels, ladies! High-Fructose Corn Syrup is in everything—and it should be avoided at all costs. This substance increases triglycerides, boosts fat-storing hormones, and drives people to overeat and gain weight. Adopt a zero-tolerance policy and steer clear of this sweet “poison,” as Avanti calls it.
4. Simple carbs
Sugar, white flour and white rice are simple carbs that are stripped of vitamins and fiber. Eating too many of these non-complex carbs can cause insulin levels to spike, which leads to inflammation. Inflammation produces enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, resulting in sagging skin and wrinkles. Sugar also raises the blood sugar, which creates a spike in insulin, your blood sugar hormone, which can lead to breakouts.
5. Processed meat
While lunch meat and hot dogs do not contain sugar, they are loaded with preservatives that you don’t want to put in your body, namely sodium and nitrates. Salt in processed foods can wreak havoc on skin because it causes you to retain water, which means swelling, as well as dehydration, which means wrinkles. If you buy processed foods like canned veggies, buy no-salt-added varieties and check the sugar content.
Read more: The Lazy Girl’s Cleanse