7 Ways to Slow Down Aging
It is pretty evident that your diet and exercise choices can affect how you age. Everyone knows that smoking, stress and poor sleep habits can speed up the aging process. Here are some other choices that not only increase your health and energy, but also slow down the aging process. These are also things that will increase your energy and quality of life, but many are more motivated by looking good. To quote Billy Crystal (as Fernando Lamas), “It is better to look good than to feel good.” Fortunately, you do not have to make that choice. Follow the advice below and you will accomplish both.
1. Avoid drastic diets: Avoiding fat, avoiding carbohydrates and extreme low-calorie diets. Your skin and the underlying collagen rely on the nutrients in your diet. You need essential fatty acids for healthy skin. Vitamins, like A and C, are in short supply on some of these extreme diets. Muscle tone, skin integrity, and even the strength of the fingernails may be affected.
2. Avoid refined sugar and white flour products: There is collagen under your skin. It is responsible for skin tone; when it is weak, wrinkles form. When you eat sugar, your body has to break it down in a process called glycation; and glycation actually damages collagen. Thinking of trading that donut in for a bagel? Think again; the body treats white, refined flour products the same way that it treats sugar.
3. Eat a diet that is heavy on the fresh produce: Bright colors in fresh produce, like green, purple, yellow, red and blue, are from flavonoids and carotenoids. These are powerful antioxidants that protect your cells from damage. Less cellular damage means slower aging. At least half (by volume) of the food you eat should be fresh produce.
4. Exercise to tone your muscles: A little bit of weight lifting will tone your muscles and help make sure that you do not have sagging skin.
5. Don’t over-exercise, especially when stressed: Hormonal changes from stress accelerate the aging process. Heavy workouts actually can increase the production of stress hormones. Gentle exercise, like Yoga or Tai Chi, focuses of breathing and calm. These exercises will actually reduce the production of stress hormones and slow aging.
6. Choose tea (especially green tea) over coffee: Tea contains antioxidants like EGCG and tehaflavins that help protect the cells and slow aging.
7. If you eat meat and dairy, buy organic: Traditionally produced animals are fed hormones and antibiotics. These chemicals undermine human health and promote aging.
How well you age, to a certain extent, is a function of your genetics. But your lifestyle choices can make a huge difference in how well you age. Eating a diet that is high in natural antioxidants, avoiding sugar and processed foods, moderate exercise and reducing stress can improve the quality of your life and actually slow down the aging process.