I was out to lunch with my friend Susan last week, sharing a bit of light-hearted gossip. Suddenly, in the middle of our conversation, she brought her voice down low, leaned across the table, and asked one of the quintessential questions of life: "Is it true looking down at my phone so much is giving me a turkey neck?"
I decided to give it to her straight. I pointed to her sweet iced tea and carb-heavy meal and said, "Maybe. But it's not just your phone. You have to eat differently if you don't want to speed up the saggy neck even more."
The skin around your neck is a slave to gravity, just like everything else. Along with holding your phone up higher (and not staring down at it so much in the first place), you can keep the premature jiggle to a minimum by doing a few things: Avoiding yo-yo weight gain (which stretches out your skin), staying hydrated (which keeps skin firm and young), and including collagen and elastin-friendly foods in your diet.
Collagen and elastin are the lattice that gives your skin strength and elasticity. Without this connective tissue your skin starts to sag and wrinkle. Here are 7 foods that will help keep your chin up—and fight an oncoming turkey neck. And don't miss my insider tips on 10 Ways to Lose 10 Pounds this year!
Turkey Neck Tightener: Olive Oil
Ultraviolet radiation is the number one destroyer of collagen, and the result is photodamaged skin. Photodamage, including skin sagging, blotchy pigmentation, and wrinkling, is mainly caused by the production of free radicals, which break down collagen fibers at the cellular level. A French study on 1,264 women and 1,655 men found that the monounsaturated fatty acid in olive oil is protective against severe photoaging. This study found that olive oil in the diet increases the ability of the skin to resist damage caused by UV radiation.
Turkey Neck Tightener: Red Bell Peppers
You can brighten up your salads and protect your skin from wrinkling all at once. Along with papaya, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, red bell peppers are high in vitamin C, which aids in collagen formation. Vitamin C also aids in the skin regeneration process, wound repair, and has photoprotective properties. And a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that for every 1 mg increase in daily vitamin C, you reduce your risk of wrinkles by 11 percent. While we're talking wrinkles, make sure to avoid these 20 Foods That Age You 20 Years!
Turkey Neck Tightener: Flaxseed Oil
High in linoleic acid, this polyunsaturated fatty acid is great in smoothies or on salads. Linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid, which is converted to other fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) after you eat it. The same American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study that I mentioned above also found that for every 1 gram of linoleic acid you take in a day, your reduce your odds of skin dryness by 25 percent reduction, and you reduce skin thinning by 22 percent. Some of the best sources of linoleic acid are flaxseed oil, grape seed oil, and hempseed oil. Add it to your daily diet to trim down, too. Flaxseed oil is one of the 57 Healthiest Foods on the Planet.
Turkey Neck Tightener: Carrots
Load up on carotenoids, the powerful plant compounds that are responsible for the yellow, orange, and red pigments in certain plants. These powerhouse compounds prevent cell damage and premature skin aging by protecting the skin from free-radical damage. Other foods high in carotenoids include pumpkin, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, sweet red peppers, watermelon, and mustard greens.
Turkey Neck Tightener: Wild Salmon
We know that Omega-3 fatty acids are powerful supernutrients that can help with everything from depression, heart disease, and cancer. Here are a few more amazing things Omega-3s do: They can decrease the inflammation that causes acne; they can help treat inflammatory skin disorders like psoriasis; and they can reduce the depth of wrinkles caused by UV-induced inflammation. Yep, they can do all of that. But it has to be wild salmon; there are at least 8 Reasons to Never Eat Farmed Salmon…
Turkey Neck Tightener: Sunflower Seeds
High in vitamin E, these little bits of sunshine have strong antioxidant effects and can protect your skin against free radical damage. Ozone (a common air pollutant) and cigarette smoke can wreak havoc on our skin by bombarding it with free radicals. These pollutants also reduce the levels of vitamin E in our bodies. Eating foods high in Vitamin E can decrease skin roughness, reduce the length of facial lines, and shrink wrinkle depth.
Turkey Neck Tightener: Aloe
I know, you're used to seeing aloe in articles about what to put on your skin, but studies have found that daily dietary intake of aloe can lead to a twofold increase in collagen production. And a recent study found that along with decreased wrinkle depth and firmer skin, those who consumed aloe also decreased their overall body fat. Sweet!
Turkey Neck Tighter: A Neck Workout
In less than 30 seconds, you can begin your own at-home chin lift. Check 'em out and then also see the 60-Second Weight Loss Tips Celebs Swear By!
Start with your head in a neutral/normal position looking forward. Place both of your hands on your forehead. Using your neck muscles, gently push your head forward. Use your hands to prevent your head from actually moving forward, thereby resisting the motion. Start with gentle tension, holding for 5 seconds, then releasing the tension slowly. Rest for 5 seconds and repeat the exercise with your hands on the back of your head, resisting as you try to push your head backwards. Rest 5 seconds, then repeat the move to the left with your left hand bracing the left side of your head. Rest 5 seconds and repeat to the right with your right hand bracing the right side of your head. That's 1 round. Continue alternating for up to 10 rounds, gradually increasing the tension against your hands in each subsequent round. Be sure to breathe normally throughout the movement.
Start with your head in a neutral/normal position looking forward. Keeping your teeth together, tilt your chin up. With your lips closed, slowly lower and raise your jaw in a chewing motion. At the top of the motion, press your tongue tight to the roof of your mouth. Hold here for 3 seconds. That's 1 rep. Repeat for 20 reps. Rest 1-minute and repeat for 3 total rounds.