Staying youthful and healthy aging go together and while our appearance plays a part in this, it’s not the whole picture. Other pieces in the process of the remaining young puzzle have to do with how we feel, our energy level, our activity level, general health, our mental status, and our attitudes. Founder of the Biocognitive Science Institute, neuropsychologist, and author of The Mind-Body Code, Mario E. Martinez, PhD, has found in studies of elders around the world that people defining middle age as 15 years later look younger than their age in comparison to those who define middle age as 15 years earlier. He has also found that the younger looking group embraces behaviors and beliefs such as continuing to learn new things, coping with stress through activities they enjoy, and that they find it easier to forgive. Continuing to remain active and involved also seems to play a role in staying youthful as found in a study from the University of Maryland that reported retirees who worked part-time had less chronic diseases and were able to stay more physically active. All this serves as a reminder that there are things you can do to stay youthful as you enter your senior years that have nothing to do with visiting a plastic surgeon or trying out the latest wrinkle cream.
Reducing Free Radicals for Healthy Aging
Free radicals are molecules in our body cells that become weakened to the point that they lose an electron. This weakness is caused by such things as toxins in the body, eating too much sugar and starchy carbs, exposure to UV rays, chlorinated water, pollution, and eating overcooked, fried and processed foods. These free radicals then go around taking electrons from other molecules and creating more free radicals. Free radicals damage the body, including cells, enzymes, and DNA, causing negative effects such as pain, inflammation, immune deficiencies, atherosclerosis, cataracts, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and other chronic diseases. Eating sugar also can create AGE or advanced glycation end-products molecules that hurt collagen and elastin your skin needs to stay youthful looking and according to associate clinical professor of dermatology at the Yale School of Medicine, Mona Gohara, M.D., leaves your skin wrinkled and saggy. By switching from sugar filled foods and snacks to foods with fatty acids, vitamin E, and vitamin C, you will be feeding your skin and body cells with nutrients that will help them keep a youthful appearance and maintain their health.
Antioxidants for Healthy Aging By Protecting Cells
The best thing you can do to fight off damage from free radicals is to increase your antioxidants. Fruits and vegetables are a large part of this as they are loaded with antioxidant protection and a study from Rush University supports this with reported findings of eating at least 6 servings of leafy greens along with a type of diet following the Mediterranean diet regimen as being able to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s by half. Neurologist Fiona Gupta, M.D. from New Jersey’s Hackensack University Medical Center explains this by crediting the antioxidants in leafy greens as cleaning toxins and free radicals out of the brain. There is much research supporting the claim that antioxidant protection increases the life of any cell by protecting them from the damage free radicals can cause. Adding antioxidant foods to your daily diet can help preserve the elasticity of skin, muscle and connective tissues, strengthen heart muscles, and strengthen the immune system among other benefits. Eating AFA bluegreen algae is a particularly good way to insure more antioxidants are being provided as it has a wide array of antioxidant enzymes and vitamins. Cell health also depends on Coenzyme Q10, a specialized antioxidant needed for energy in every normal cell of the human body. Ubiquinol is the active and bioavailable form of Coenzyme Q10 and can be found along with AFA in this energy support algae supplement. Cell damage can also be repaired by our own natural adult stem cells that have the ability to travel anywhere in the body and morph into any other type of cell. Research has shown that certain nutrients such as are present in this stem cell support supplement can help promote the renewal of stem cells. It provides nutrition that supports the growth of stem cells and provides antioxidants that protect existing stem cells from free radical damage. One of the ingredients, carnosine, is an antioxidant amino acid naturally present in the human body that may delay the natural aging of cells and extend the lifespan of adult stem cells.
According to Robert Greenfield, M.D., at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center’s Memorial Care Heart and Vascular Institute in Fountain Valley, California, stress is a huge contributor to cardiovascular disease and stroke. Being overly stressed can cause you to produce more cortisol which can make you irritable, cause you to have trouble sleeping, cause you to gain weight, decrease your libido, increase blood sugar levels and high blood pressure, and make you moody. Cortisol can also affect bone density, and lead to reduction of lean body mass as well as lead to a variety of diseases linked to aging such as osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s. Stress also reduces your level of IgA, a protein that is part of the immune system and helps fight off infections by preventing invaders from getting into the body. According to Dr. Jennifer Landa, MD, Chief Medical Officer of BodyLogicMD, eating healthy and avoiding foods with sugar, caffeine, alcohol and processed foods can help reduce your body’s response to stress by supporting the adrenal glands that secrete cortisol as well as help with your metabolism. She also recommends getting B and C vitamins and magnesium to support the adrenal glands and the herbs Ashwagandha and Rhodiola for adrenal support and fighting off stress. Meditation, deep breathing and yoga are all other ways of helping you lower your stress levels.
Keep It Moving
Exercise is not only a way to reduce stress, but helps keep your weight down which gives relief to joints, slows down muscle decline, increases balance and coordination, improves circulation, reduces inflammation, increases bone density, keeps energy levels up, and improves flexibility. Exercise that increases your heart rate also helps your mood and in coping with stress by producing endorphins, the hormone that makes us feel good. Cardio and resistance type exercise are the best ones to get going with to stay youthful. Start with however much you can do and look for ways to increase the amount you can do. At the very least get out and walk for 30 minutes three times weekly.
Protect Against Sun Damage
Aging and how we feel about getting older has a lot to do with our perceptions, attitudes, general health and stress levels, but appearance also does play a role. The skin is the largest organ our bodies have and it is what we see when we look in the mirror and what others see when they look at us. For many people, looking old can cause them to feel old. One study in 2013 reported that 80% of the aging on our faces is due to being exposed to the sun and that people spending lots of time outside in the sun looked up to 5 years older than those that avoid sun exposure. Sun damage can cause the skin to wrinkle, have brown spots, and dilated pores according to dermatologist Whitney Bowe, MD from New York, not to mention putting you at risk for skin cancer. Even if you don’t spend a lot of time outside, you can be exposed to damaging UV rays through windows in your car, home or office. Besides adding antioxidants to protect skin cells, it is also important to protect skin from the damage the sun can cause. Wearing sunscreen during all seasons can help give you this protection to a large extent. Pick one that is broad-spectrum so that you get protection from a variety of UV rays like UVA and UVB, and that is at least SPF 15. In cooler months, putting sunscreen on your face each morning is probably enough for the day, but if you are going to be outside most of the day then you may need to put it on again every 2 hours especially in the summer. Be sure you also put it on the top of your hands as Dr. Bowe also cites this as a common area for skin cancer to develop.
You don’t have to find the Fountain of Youth to keep feeling and looking younger as you age. Just pick up on some of the tips we’ve included here and help your body maintain its youth.
If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products on our website.
Abrams, Karl J., Algae to the Rescue