Nutritional Therapist Petronella Ravenshear tells us how and why these top eight foods will wreak havoc on young, saintly skin...

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If you thought sun exposure, stress and smoking were the only things to worry about when it comes to speeding up the ageing process - think again. Recent studies have also shown that there a number of foods that also contain the nasties that have the potential to boost the rate at which we wrinkle.

Here, Nutritional Therapist  Petronella Ravenshear  tells us which are the top eight perpetrators to avoid (or at least limit) if we want to keep our skin sensational and spritely for as long as possible.

1. Sugar

Sugar is the number one food to avoid if you’re looking to slow down the ageing process. It not only makes us fat but also makes us wrinkly, as it cross-links with collagen, making our skin less flexible and dehydrating it too.

MORE GLOSS: 10 bad things you never knew sugar was doing to your body

2. Potatoes and Grains

Both potatoes and grains ultimately break down into sugar in our bodies and also use up valuable minerals when they are metabolised, such as zinc, which is crucial for skin health. Not to mention they give us almost nothing in return - except calories!

3. Alcohol

The ultimate dehydrator - alcohol also robs our bodies of B vitamins and vitamins A and C, which are vital for skin and overall health. Excessive alcohol depletes minerals including magnesium and zinc, as well as essential fatty acids, all of which are needed to slow down the onset of premature ageing.

4. Trans-fats/hydrogenated fats

These are the kind of damaged fats you find in foods with a long shelf life, such as biscuits, and in fast foods and deep fried foods. They reduce the fluidity of our cells, burden the liver and add to inflammation, i.e. ageing.

5. Processed meats

Their high salt content adds to puffiness, and the preservatives they contain trigger inflammation. To add, they also use up vitamin C, which is central to collagen formation.

6. Artificial sweeteners

These are liver-toxic, and we need our liver in the best possible order to slow down the ageing process.

7. Caffeine

Most of us love a good cup of coffee - to a certain extent anything (in moderation) that gives us pleasure is good for us. Just remember to drink an extra glass of water for each cup of coffee you have to counteract caffeine’s dehydrating effects on the body.

8. Milk and cheese

Many of us are sensitive to casein, the milk protein, which can clog up the body and cause constipation – as well as acne and eczema. Casein also triggers inflammation – mucus and/or pain are both signs of inflammation.

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