We all know seniors who certainly don’t look, feel or have behaviors we typically associate with aging. They probably don’t have access to a fountain of youth, but do live lifestyles that support healthy aging and staying youthful. Scientific research shows that there are things we can all do to keep our minds and bodies more healthy as we age.
One study reported that exercising 20 minutes daily can increase the number of adult stem cells we have. These stem cells are used to replace injured or dead cells so the more we have working for us the better. Adding adult stem cell support supplements to your daily regimen can help provide nutrition that supports the growth of stem cells and provides antioxidants that protect existing stem cells from free radical damage. Research also has shown that regular exercise lowers the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, depression, and mental decline. Just two and a half hours a week of exercise can help lengthen your life. John Robbins, author of Healthy at 100, looked at centenarians around the world and found that engaging in cardiovascular exercise 30 minutes daily as well as doing some yoga and weight training increased longevity. Dr. Oz advises maintaining flexibility as a youth maintaining tip and stretching warm muscles keeps you feeling young. For this reason, after a hot shower is a great time to get stretching in.
Dietitian Manuel Villacorta reminds us that what we eat makes a big difference in our aging. Sticking to a dietary regimen with lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains and healthy fats with a minimum of sugar and calories greatly reduces the risks for developing diseases that often appear in old age and reduce our life span. This includes diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity. John Robbins reported this type of diet in his book Healthy at 100 as being a common factor as well as eating beans instead of meat as a main protein source. The more brightly colored fruits and vegetables are, the more antioxidants they tend to have which are good for helping us stay young feeling. Antioxidants are important to fight off the damage to our cells from free radicals. The antioxidants, vitamin C, zinc, and beta-carotene, can reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration that is a common cause of blindness in those over the age of 64. Vitamin C has also been shown to help keep skin looking more youthful and research has reported yellow and green veggies as best for preventing wrinkles. Dr. Oz also suggests that foods red in color are great for healthy aging. For example, red cabbage can reduce the risk of cancers and beet juice relaxes blood vessels. He also recommends drinking a cup of black tea everyday as it increases the chance of surviving after a heart attack by 28%.
In the healthy fats category, foods with omega-3 fatty acids are very important to add to your diet to stay youthful. Omega-3 can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, depression, mental decline, arthritis, inflammation in the body, and plaque buildup in blood vessels. Your body doesn’t make omega-3 on its own so food or supplements are the only way to get them. Coldwater fatty fish, nuts, broccoli, edamame, olive oil and AFA bluegreen algae are all sources for omega-3’s.
Other diet tips for healthy aging include eating foods with calcium and fortified with vitamin D to keep bones healthy and strong and reduce the risk of osteoporosis that often occurs as we get older. Avoid adding salt to dishes when you cook and check package labels for excess salt or sodium. Too much salt can increase blood pressure which can damage kidneys, eyes, and brain. One way to fill in any nutritional gaps is to take a complete supplement that covers your nutritional bases. The supplement should feed your mind and body, and assist with digestion so that you can get all the nutrition possible from the food you put into your body. Our favorite supplement for this is a daily packet of capsules that covers all of these areas. Another helpful supplement with aging is this enzyme/algae supplement that helps support active lifestyles and combines the plant-based proteolytic enzymes bromelain, papain, protease, lipase, and serratiopeptidase, as well as AFA bluegreen algae. These type of enzymes have been found to support the body in fighting off inflammation, fight off stress, and nourish cells. And finally this supplement can help maintain an active lifestyle by supporting healthy, flexible, and strong joints and supporting cartilage with a combination of vegetable-based glucosamine, chondroitin, UC-II® undenatured collagen and AFA bluegreen algae.
You can actually slow down aging at a cellular level by reducing your stress level. Research reports findings of stress being connected to shortening of telomeres that have an effect on the aging of cells and increase risks of disease. Telomeres are found on the ends of chromosomes and according to Eli Puterman, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine and author of a study on this topic, the more stress their older women subjects were under, the shorter their telomeres. On the other hand women that stayed active, had healthy eating and sleeping habits and coped well with stress did not show a shortening of the telomeres. There have also been findings reported that eating healthier and exercising can increase production of an enzyme that will increase the length of telomeres.
Scientists also have reported finding through studies that maintaining social connections and engaging in regular social activities can increase life span. When picking friends it can also be helpful to find those that keep healthy lifestyles as we are more likely to do the same if our friends do. For example, one study reported that having an obese friend increases your chance of being obese by 57%. In his book Healthy at 100, author John Robbins found that relationships in which you feel “recognized, upheld, and cherished” can lead to healthy aging.
You can feel young naturally at any age. Don’t let the number representing your age define your life. Take charge now by making some lifestyle and nutritional changes that will help you make healthy aging and a long healthy life a reality for you.
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