Who doesn’t want to find the fountain of youth?
Many of us strive to look and feel as young as possible. It’s no secret that aging can cause several unwanted changes. For example, according to the Mayo Clinic, normal age related changes include a decrease in bone density, loss of skin elasticity and reduced muscle mass.
It’s not fully understood why some people seem to be ageless while others look older than their chronological age. Although genetics may play a role in how fast you age, it’s not the only factor. Your lifestyle also contributes to aging.
We might not understand the science of why aging takes place faster in some people. But what most of us do know is that aging can mean more wrinkles, sagging skin and a few extra pounds. But there are practical ways to slow the clock and stay healthy and youthful.
Why Nutrition Matters
There is an old saying “You are what you eat.” That may not be completely true, but your nutrition does play a role in how you look and feel. Certain foods may even have anti aging benefits.
Since individual needs vary, nutritional counseling is helpful to determine an anti-aging diet plan that’s best for you. In general, foods high in antioxidants including vitamin C and E can improve skin health and may slow the aging process. Good choices include blueberries, grapes and dark leafy greens. Your body also needs protein to stay youthful and strong. So, don’t skimp on lean proteins, such as poultry and fish.
Vitamin B is also good for the health of your hair, nails and body. Foods high in vitamin B include tuna, lentils and fortified whole grain cereal.
Taking certain supplements may also slow the clock or at least prevent some of the unwanted changes associated with aging. Consider some of the following supplements:
CoQ10: CoQ10 acts as an antioxidant and aids in cell repair. It may also prevent a decline in memory or cognitive function.
Fish oil: Fish oil can reduce your risk of heart disease, improve skin and has an anti-inflammatory effect.
Acidophilus: Acidophilus is a probiotic that can help keep your digestive system working properly. Remember, staying youthful is not only about looking good. It’s about feeling good as well.
The anti-aging industry is a billion-dollar market. But do all these potions and lotions work? The answer is yes and no.
Moisturizes and wrinkle creams can keep your skin hydrated, protected against sun damage and decrease pore size. But studies have not shown anti-aging creams and lotions penetrate the deeper layers of the skin. Does that mean the signs of aging are inevitable? Not entirely. There are easy things you can do to keep your skin looking its best:
- Use a mild cleanser instead of soap to wash dirt away.
- Consider sesame seed oil to hydrate the skin.
- Use sunscreen.
- Don’t smoke.
- Drink plenty of water.
Sleep, Exercise and Stress Reduction to Stay Youthful
Cosmetic surgery can cost thousands of dollars and has risks. Fortunately, there is a much cheaper way to deal with aging. Although you might not be able to stop the clock from ticking, you can slow down the aging process a bit. The key is to make certain lifestyle changes.
Get Enough Sleep
It’s hard to look and feel youthful if you’re sleep deprived. In fact, lack of sleep can age you fast. Your skin goes into repair mode while you sleep. Growth hormones, which play a role in cellular repair, increase as you sleep. Sleep also promotes collagen production, which helps your skin stay firm.
Although individual sleep needs may vary, most adults need somewhere between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Make sleep a priority. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day to improve your sleep quality. Create a comfortable environment to sleep including blocking out sunlight and outside noise as much as possible.
Getting regular exercise is also a natural anti-aging strategy. You probably already know exercise reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease. But exercise also helps you combat effects of aging, such as muscle loss and weight gain. Exercise may also give your skin a boost. When you exercise, blood flow to your skin increases, which promotes cellular repair. Maintaining adequate muscle tone also helps maintain proper posture. Good posture is not only important for preventing back pain, but it also makes you look much younger.
Chronic stress can give you more than just frown lines. Chronic stress can speed cellular aging. Also, if you’re stressed, you may be more likely to engage in bad habits, such as overeating, smoking and drinking alcohol.
At some point, most of us feel stressed. But finding ways to deal with stress can improve your quality of life and may slow down the ageing process. If you’re stressed out, consider yoga, meditation or deep breathing exercises. Bodywork practices, such as massage therapy and acupuncture may also reduce stress.