By Dr. Nicole Sundene
“If I could turn back time….” name that tune!
The fountain of youth is not that difficult to find. Really it is inside of all of us. It simply starts with making the better decisions when at all possible.
Let’s face it, nobody wants to BE old, nobody wants to LOOK old, and most importantly nobody wants to FEEL old. he bad news is that aging is just a reality of living.
The good news is that to some degree we can reverse the aging process, if not drastically slow it down through better diet and lifestyle decisions. After working eight years in patient care, two of which were spent with a dermatologist I have concluded that the best “preserved” older people are those that exercise, eat right, and have positive mental attitudes.
Botox and collagen will only take you so far, and in my opinion there is no substance that will give you that healthy youthful glow that only proper nutrition and exercise provide.
Because most of the cells in our bodies turn over about every six months, you can easily be a healthier and younger version of your previous self in just that short period of time. You should even easily notice results of this anti-aging program after about two weeks. Just remember that all my tips work together in synergy, just like how the fountain in this picture is comprised of water from many sources! The following are my favorite tips to keep you looking and feeling as healthy and young as possible.
DRINK WATER if you don’t want to look old. Dehydration makes our skin sag. Depending on size and activity level, you should be drinking about 60 oz of water daily to keep your skin plump and hydrated. If you consume alcohol or caffeinated beverages you need to drink about 8 oz of water to compensate for the diuretic effects of each serving of these substances.
Consume foods rich in antioxidants. Anti-oxidants mean anti-aging. Anti-oxidants destroy those bad molecules called “free radicals” that go around like little sharks chewing up healthy tissues. Cells that fall victim to these free radicals will die and be forced to regenerate.
Think of the anti-oxidants found in fruits and veggies as the good cops that go around policing these bad guys. The good cops are protecting our healthy cells, and the longer we can keep healthy cells from having to turn over, the less we age. It is that plain and simple. The foods highest in antioxidants according to the ORAC (oxygen radical absorption capacity) are: prunes, raisins, blueberries, blackberries, kale, strawberries, spinach, raspberries, and so on.
Eat a whole foods diet rich in superfoods. Superfoods are rich in antioxidants as well as vitamins and minerals that slow down the aging process. The more you work to get refined, processed “white foods” out of your diet, the better you will feel day by day as well as long term. Do the most of your grocery shopping in the produce section. Experiment with a new whole foods recipe once a week.
Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Inflammation sets the stage for cellular destruction, which means that we age more rapidly than normal. Top foods to eliminate are red meats, sausages and other processed meats, and other sources of animal fats. A diet of lean proteins such as turkey, chicken, and fish combined with a full daily rainbow of fruits and vegetables is the key to the anti-inflammatory diet.
Balance your blood sugar by following a low glycemic index food pairing plan. Studies show that a calorie restricted diet improves longevity. More importantly than keeping calories down to a moderate level though in my opinion, is keeping your blood sugar stable. When blood sugar runs high glucose starts to tag healthy tissues for destruction, an internal rusting type of process referred to formally as “glycosylation”. Glycosylation is why diabetics tend to age more rapidly and live a shorter lifespan than average. A diet rich in complex carbohydrates, fiber, and lean proteins will serve you well for the long run. Keep in mind as an added motivator that at first glance, people that maintain a healthy weight naturally look younger than those that don’t.
Sleep. Looking tired means looking old. Feeling tired means feeling old. A good night’s sleep rejuvenates and refreshes us. The body does most of it’s clean up, maintenance and repair while we are asleep. Establishing a healthy bedtime routine, and improving your sleep hygiene habits will ensure that you start sleeping better in the future.
Exercise. The two most important things aside from cardiovascular exercise to reverse the effects of aging are strength training and stretching. As we get older we naturally lose our flexibility. We also lose lean muscle mass and bone mass. The best way to drive calcium in to the bones is with weight bearing exercise. Studies have shown that weight bearing exercise is just as efficacious as common osteoporosis medications. It is simply a matter of getting people to do it that is the tough part.
Quit stressing! Yes much easier said than done, but what does stress really even do for you aside from accelerate your aging process? Reducing stress is more important than following most other health advice. If you are stressed, start a stress management program now to work on establishing better coping mechanisms.
So there you have the basics to looking and feeling your absolute best. Feel free to start this anti-aging program full force or simply pick a few things to work on at a time until they become new habits. Once a health tip has become a habit you are ready to work on the next new health tip.
“Progress not perfection”.