We’re not talking about fine lines, wrinkles, or grey hairs, but the habits that are aging your body from the inside out. They may seem harmless, but they can cause your heart to work harder and create internal stress that can make you feel older than you really are.
If you have any of these habits, it’s time to break them so you can live a longer, healthier life.
1. You’re Too Stressed
Your body produces more cortisol (a stress hormone) when you’re stressed. High levels of cortisol have been shown to increase the production of free radicals in your body, which can cause oxidative stress and damage to cells. This damage can speed up aging and other serious health conditions. It’s important to manage your stress level, so do what you can to cut down on stressors in your life.
2. You’re Not Sleeping Enough
Like most Americans, you’re probably not getting enough sleep. And it’s costing you big time when it comes to aging faster. Lack of sleep can cause higher levels of inflammation in the body, which is a known contributor to aging and other health conditions. Besides causing rapid aging, lack of sleep can also cause a variety of other health issues, including weight gain and diabetes.
3. You Don’t Get Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D—also known as the “sunshine vitamin”—is an essential nutrient for health and vitality. Vitamin D plays a role in immune function, cardiovascular health, and mental wellness by aiding in the absorption of calcium from food.
4. You Drink Alcohol
Alcohol, especially in excess, can cause premature aging in the skin because it reduces the amount of Vitamin A stored in the liver, which is vital for cell production and repair.
Smoking cigarettes causes narrowing of the blood vessels in the outermost layers of your skin. This impairs blood flow and depletes oxygen and nutrients that are important to skin health. It also damages collagen and elastin fibers — proteins that give your skin strength and elasticity. As a result, the skin begins to sag and wrinkle prematurely.