Stop Aging and Stay Young
Who wants to grow old? I bet no hands shot up to that question. Unless you’re a sage or a bottle of wine in a cool cellar. Aging can bring a host of problems, the least of which is wrinkles. As years take its toll on the body, parts succumb to diseases or fail to work as they should. Age-related diseases like diabetes, atheriosclerosis, hypertension, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, osteoporosis are just some of the more familiar ones
However, learning the truth about aging can help you adjust lifestyles or adopt habits that can help you stay healthy as the years add on. You can slow down the aging process and keep youthful by observing healthy lifestyles and habits. That's why some people look younger and healthier than their chronological age while others look years older.
According to Andrew Weil, M.D., the author of the book, Healthy Aging, there are 2 main reasons why people age:
Have you ever carmelized onions, where you allow heat to brown the onions with its own sugars? The onion wilts and breaks down. Carmelization works the same way. Our body temperature is all our body needs to react with sugars, proteins, and catalysts to produce end products that are damaging to the body. Dr Weil calls these end products “Advanced Glycation End products,” or AGEs for short.
So what’s the deal with AGEs? Once AGEs are produced, they can damage other proteins as well as DNA and RNA. They do so by creating abnormal bonds between adjacent protein strands, a process called “cross-linking.” Cross-linked proteins are deformed and they become less elastic, less flexible and less able to perform their normal functions.
Cross-linked proteins is the reason why old skin sag, how the lens in the eyes become opaque (cataract), how arteries hardened, giving rise to atheriosclerois. We can also pinpoint neurogenerative diseases like ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s to these ill-behaved proteins.
Want more ugly truth? Both AGEs and cross-linked proteins can provoke inflammatory and autoimmune responses to stimulate cells to proliferate, which can lead to further damage. The damage can come in many forms: hypertension, kidney disease, retinopathy, osteoarthritis and all complications of diabetes.
2. Oxidative Stress
Oxygen is needed to burn food in our body for fuel. In the process, reactive oxygen called oxygen free radicals are produced. These unstable oxidizing agents can initiate destructive chain reactions in cellular structures, causing damage to DNA and are the primary culprits of aging.
When DNA is damaged, the function of the cell is compromised when it divides and form new cells. Cells with bad DNA encoding can give rise to all forms of cancer. They are also responsible for damage to the cardiovascular system, damage to skin and organ through collagen cross linking and damage to brain and cognitive function.
Here are some simple ways to slow down the aging process:
1. More Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables are loaded with cancer-fighting flavonoids. Kale, Spinach, collard greens deliver plenty of antioxidants (the good guys that capture free radicals and thus prevent oxidative damage to cells). Eat colorful vegetables like carrots, pumpkin, tomatoes to garner a whole spectrum of protective phytonutrients.
2. More Fruits
Fruits are tasty and make healthy guilt-free snacks. Colorful fruits contain anthocyanins, a powerful group of antioxidants, reported to provide protection against liver injuries and UV radiation, reduce blood pressure, improve eyesight, and suppress the proliferation of human cancer cells. Load your shopping cart with grapes, cherries, apples, pears and pomegranates. Read Dr. David Herber’s “What Color is Your Diet,” for a better understanding of eating produces from all parts of the color spectrum for optimal health.
3. More Whole Grain
Whole grain may not be as pleasing to the palette but if you consider the host of goodness in whole grain, you may want to train your taste buds to adapt and eventually enjoy whole grain in your food. Consider these well-published claims: Whole grains are a good source of B vitamins, Vitamin E, magnesium, iron and fiber and many other antioxidants not found in fruits and vegetables.
Researches have shown how whole grain can reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood coagulation. They can help reduce risks of many types of cancer. Diabetic patients can also regulate their blood glucose levels by eating whole grains. What’s more? Whole grains can help to keep weight in check by increasing the feeling of satiation.
4. Less Unhealthy Fats
Not all fats are bad but polyunsaturated fats can clog up arteries and generate cardiovascular problems. Dr. Udo Erasmus’ book on “Fats that Heals, Fat That Kills,” is an interesting read on the different categories of fats and how you can effectively use good fats to raise your health barometer. For instance, fatty fish like tuna, herring, mackerel and salmon contain good Omega-3 fatty acids that can not only reduce bad cholesterol but raise the good cholesterol. In addition, it promotes healthy brain and skin.
According to Dr. Perricone, regular exercise can prevent AGEs formation. How? Energy expansion by the body helps to promote glucose uptake, improve insulin sensitivity, and increase lean body mass, which in turn improve overall energy expenditure.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that exercise can substantially reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases (the nation’s leading cause of death), stroke, colon cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure.
With so much at stake, it is advisable to make exercise part of your lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be strenuous to beneficial. Just get off the couch and do whatever you like to do—long walks, swimming, playing tennis, golfing, weight-lifting and if you just can’t bring yourself to do of these. Buy a dog and let it walk you.
6. Don't Smoke
Healthy aging and smoking are highly incompatible. Tobacco addiction is the most obvious cause of cancer and increases risks of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. In addition, you earn saggy skin and bags under your eyes. Just ask your eye doctor.
More reasons to stop smoking.
Smile makes the soul happy.
7. Be Happy
A happy attitude is one of the best defense against aging. Ever been in the presence of a person with a great sense of humor and none of the “woe-is-me,” outlook on life? Their positive energy is contagious and inspiring. Researches found that happy people have stronger immune system and can endure pain better. In addition, they tend to have better stress coping skills, which explain their optimism with life.
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