Monday, November 16, 2009

4 Secret Sources of Aging

Sunlight, cigarettes and botched plastic surgeries will turn your mug into a catcher's mitt, but they're not the only offenders.

Sunlight, cigarettes and botched plastic surgeries will turn your mug into a catcher's mitt, but they're not the only offenders. The sneakier culprits are the threats you expose yourself to every day without even thinking about—everything from what you eat and drink to how you manage your emotions. Here are four habits that can add wrinkles to your face, wear down your heart and even undermine your manhood—and how to avoid them. You can learn more ways to stay young, fit, and vital, for life in Age Erasers for Men.

Eating processed foods

The deep grooves running from nose to mouth—also known as "smile lines"—are called nasolabial folds. These result from thinning underlying tissue. Dermatologists can prescribe high-end volumizers such as Restylane and Sculptra, but you can take action in the kitchen by avoiding excess sugar, which can make collagen more fragile, putting you at greater risk for wrinkles. Similarly, a diet high in white flour can also create what are called glycation reactions between molecules in the skin. This reaction binds collagen and decreases elasticity, so the skin becomes more susceptible to fracture. Base your diet around the 125 best foods for men, and you'll avoid added sugar, fat, and salt, and consume more of the nutrients you need.

Guzzling alcohol

A six-pack is not a sleep aid. Alcohol messes with the normal sleep cycle, especially the back end of the cycle. "Four hours into sleep, alcohol wears off and leaves you in an excitable state," says Alex Chediak, M.D., medical director of the Miami Sleep Disorders Center. And you need that deep, slow-wave, restorative sleep to keep your body looking—and feeling—young. Moderating your booze intake is key. You're 97 percent more likely to reach age 85 if you keep your daily alcohol consumption to fewer than three drinks a day, according to a study of 6,000 patients in the Journal of the American Medical Association. And remember to make one of those drinks a pinot noir. A recent review in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that resveratrol, a compound commonly found in red wine, may prevent or delay the onset of chronic disease.

Losing your temper

Emotional stress causes the release of immune compounds called histamines, which can cause inflammation. "If you reduce inflammation, you reduce the risk of death from a heart attack," says Steven Nissen, M.D., chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. A Duke University study found that when angry men took a multivitamin for six months, their levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6)—an inflammation marker that may increase the risk of heart disease—went from being elevated to as low as those measured in calm guys. The next time you're seeing red, take a deep breath and try some of these 52 ways to conquer stress. Chronic inflammation is also a serious, but easily overlooked, source of fine lines and wrinkles, says Carl Thornfeldt, M.D., in Fruitland, Idaho. When the skin puffs up, the lattice of protein, fats and oils tends to rupture, creating damage that is difficult to reverse.

Using Harmful Lotions and Potions

Read the list of ingredients in your moisturizers, shampoos and hair dyes closely. Many of the chemicals they contain are benign; others warrant a better-safe-than-sorry approach. Gary Ginsberg, Ph.D., a toxicologist at the Connecticut Department of Public Health in Hartford, says to steer clear of ubiquitous toxins such as 1,4-dioxane, phthalates, formaldehyde, hydroquinone and parabens, which researchers have linked to a host of health concerns, including obesity, male fertility problems and cancer. Instead, opt for products with labels that read "sulfate free," "paraben free," "fragrance free," and "PPD free." Check out the 36 best new grooming products for men to find everything you need to look great—without putting your health on the line.

 

Provided by Men's Health

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