15 Feb 13 Anti-Aging Tips
The wrinkles, brain fog and fatigue can be put on hold, or maybe even avoided altogether.
Getting old isn’t fun, and the SAD (Standard American Diet) certainly perpetuates early onset of physical and mental aging. The Western lifestyle and diet causes damage at a young age, whereby children are becoming obese and inclined towards a shortened—and problematic—life span.
There is a difference between chronological and biological age: a twenty-year-old man who feasts on a cheeseburger and fries every day after work, only to be washed down by four cans of beer during his favorite TV programs, will have a biological age of a sixty-five-year-old man with high cholesterol. Flip it? If that old man exercises daily, eats a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and lean animal protein and goes to sleep at a reasonable hour, his biological age is younger than that of the twenty-year-old.
We have the power to fight aging through diet and lifestyle tweaks. While it’s important to keep skin protected, fresh and glowing with an anti-aging formula and cleansing ritual, the face cream alone will not do the trick.
- Avoid AGEs: AGEs are formed when there are excess carbohydrates, glucose and saturated fats in the bloodstream. AGEs are created within the body when there is too much glucose in the blood, and any carbohydrate will cause blood sugar to rise. So, monitor your carbohydrate and sugar intake, especially that of wheat, as wheat is known to cause a spike larger than that of a candy bar! Also never order your animal protein well done—the excess and scorching heating temperatures cause a charring effect that is rich in AGEs. Opt for medium or rare instead.
- Favor Alkaline Foods: When the body becomes too acidic, calcium is stripped from the bones in order to compensate for the shift in pH levels. The body thrives in a slightly alkaline environment, and the most alkaline-rich foods are fruits and vegetables. Also, plant protein; animal protein, such as red meat and poultry, is incredibly acidic. Minimize portion sizes and go meatless a couple times a week. Other acidic foods are cheeses and grains, so reduce your daily intake as much as possible.
- Embrace Wine Wednesday: Red wine and grapes contain resveratrol, a powerful anti-aging and anti-inflammatory property. Resveratrol promotes longevity and clear, young skin. Set a dinner date with your significant other or a friend and enjoy a glass or two—the added benefit of laughter will act as a tension-buster.
- Monitor Those Damn Carbs: As if I have not stressed this enough, too many carbohydrates will lead to health troubles, such as diabetes, prediabetes, heart conditions, osteoporosis and cancers. Carbohydrates introduce glucose into the bloodstream, thus increasing LDL cholesterol particles that contribute to greater risk for heart disease, stroke and chronic illnesses due to inflammation (Alzheimer’s, arthritis, dementia, etc.). Wheat is the worst offender, with its incredibly high glycemic index.
- Keep Stress Low: Tension releases cortisol, a hormone that causes the body’s metabolism to slow, thus promoting fat storage, weight gain and acne. Stress also acts a main trigger for most health conditions—bone, heart, blood sugar, inflammatory, cancer, bowel, you name it. Set some time aside for yourself. Try out an exercise class, as the cardio will boost endorphins and encourage better stress management, or relax with yoga or meditation exercises. Whatever makes you feel happy and at ease!
- Seek Social Support: Studies show that those who have meaningful relationships are more happy and relaxed than those who feel alone. Making time for friends and family is the body’s greatest medicine—the laughter, memories, and exciting activities shared are what keep the body and soul alive. Additionally, social engagements act as a distraction for both mindless eating and cravings, so you’ll be more inclined to eat smaller portions and of healthier food choices.
- Eat the Rainbow: Polyphenols, antioxidants found in colorful fruits and vegetables are the best anti-agers. They clear the complexion and keep skin taut and youthful. But remember: fruits are carbohydrates, so choose wisely. For instance, don’t have a glass of orange juice with a banana and a bowl of cereal for breakfast. Also, be wary of juices—choose juices that are vegetable based with one-to-three additions of fruit, and be sure to check the labels for sugar and carbohydrate content on the nutrition label.
- Beware the Belly: Fat in our lower half can definitely be a burden, but it is not the real problem. The main fat found in the belly is called visceral fat, and it’s dangerous. Visceral fat increases risk for several diseases and health conditions, all of which can easily cut your life in half. A gut should be a major alarm for a diet and exercise regimen!
- Get Those Zzz’s: Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep regularly. Sleep is required for muscles to repair and the body to wake up feeling rejuvenated and functional. A consistent sleep pattern also regulates mood and stress levels. Shut off technology at least an hour before bed to unwind, and if you need some extra help, try a warm bath or a good book. Yet, save the juicy reads for a different time, as you want to minimize stimulation.
- Go Organic: Go organic as often as possible, especially for animal protein and the “dirty dozen” of produce. It’s challenging to protect yourself when dining out, but make sure to keep your fridge clean and to cook at home several days of the week. Although organic is more expensive, the cost is worth it, as pesticides, GMOs, and antibiotics that are added to non-organic produce and meat products invade our bodies and damage our cells. For eggs, look for pasture-raised rather than cage-free. For poultry and beef, look for grass-fed, organic or any labeling that says, “USDA approved” and “free of antibiotics/hormones.” Produce where the skin is consumed should be organic, but for avocados, bananas, and oranges, among others, you are fine with conventional.
- Eat Fat to Lose Fat: I’m not talking about saturated and trans fats, but rather the good kind of fat: unsaturated fats that both help your organs function and increase HDL cholesterol levels (the type we like!). These fats can be found in healthy foods, such as avocados, nut butters and oils, olives and oily fish. Spread avocado on toast for breakfast, and stir-fry vegetables and lean protein with coconut or peanut oil for dinner. Consuming healthy fats with colorful fruits and vegetables allows for maximum absorption of powerful nutrients and phytochemicals. Also, I suggest popping an Omega-3 fish oil supplement daily, as studies show that fish oil reduces inflammation and risk of Alzheimer’s.
- Guard Your Gut: About 70% of illnesses begin in the gut, so it’s important to keep your intestines clean with regular bowel movements. Foreign foods and bacteria can easily enter our bodies, but by limiting yeast products, pesticides and foods that cause discomfort in the abdominal area, you can better protective yourself from contraction. Eating fermented foods and bacteria-laden yogurts, like kefir or siigis yogurt, as well as taking a probiotic capsule daily will provide an even greater shield against trespassers. Also, tune into your body—if you feel uncomfortable after eating gluten, dairy, soy, corn or some other substance, you may have a food sensitivity.
- Be Positive: A good attitude is the key to success and a long, happy, fulfilling life. Be confident in yourself and your capabilities. If you have fallen off the right health path, remain motivated to reverse the damage. You can accomplish anything you set your mind and body to! View life as being a gift—one that is worth living right.