Anti-Aging Facts You Should Know If You’re Slowing Down
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There is no escape for anyone when it comes to the natural aging process. At some point in our life, we will begin to notice the effects of aging primarily on our face. There are many factors that can cause us to age, some are unavoidable while others can be delayed. Due to the environmental factors and today’s hectic lifestyle choices, many of us are aging prematurely.
What is aging?
Aging is the process of becoming older as many of us would often associate it with wrinkles and gray hairs. But aging covers more than that as it also affects our teeth, heart and overall health. As time goes by, the cells, tissues and vital organs in our body would decline. However, signs of aging from the external organ, which is the skin is often more visible when compared to the internal organs like the heart, muscle, fat and bones. Although we won’t be able to stop aging, there is plenty we can do to slow it down.
The four types of aging processes
1) Intrinsic aging
Intrinsic aging or otherwise also known as chronological aging is the inevitable natural aging process that is determined by an individual’s genetic clock and inherited genes. Therefore it is different for everyone as genetics play a huge role in the body’s ability to repair the damages from the degenerative effects of free radicals. For example, some people would already have grey hairs in their 20’s while some would never experience them.
2) Extrinsic aging
Extrinsic aging is the result of poor lifestyle choices and environmental factors which would magnify intrinsic aging leading to aging prematurely. Most premature aging is caused by poor diet, poor skin care regimen, lack of exercise and sleep, poor stress management, excessive ultraviolet exposure from the sun, environmental pollutants and bad habits such as smoking, taking drugs and excessive alcohol intake.
3) Hormonal aging
Hormonal aging involves the hormonal system determining the rate our body ages in different stages of our life. This can be seen especially during childhood growth and adolescent maturity as hormone levels fluctuate through life. Like how puberty causes acne and larger pores while in contrast as we get older, hormonal changes lead to dry skin and menopause.
4) Metabolic aging
Our cells are constantly turning food into energy which over time could result in damage to the body due to the byproducts from the process of metabolizing. Therefore, you would notice our metabolic process would not operate as well as when you were younger. Like how as we get older, our bodies can’t seem to metabolise nutrients from food as efficiently which can cause blood glucose level to elevate especially after we consume a meal. Or when compared to a younger person in 20s, it is harder for a person in late 30s – 50s to lose weight or gain muscle.
Holistic Measures To Slow Down Aging
You don’t have blindly succumb to aging. Here are some helpful strategies to help you slow down aging using tested and proven holistic methods.
1) Eat a healthy diet low in sugar and processed foods
Reduce your sugar intake as it ages us tremendously both internally and externally. Sugar can cause an insulin spike in our body which can result in chronic inflammation in severe cases causing premature aging. Sugar also accelerates aging through a process called glycation in which the sugar in your bloodstream attaches to your proteins, forming harmful molecules, altering and breaking down your collagen. Therefore it is advisable to reduce intake of processed foods as they often contain high amounts of sugar, sodium, saturated trans fats and preservatives which bring no benefits to the body.
A healthy diet consisting of many colorful fruits and vegetables, are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that can help the body to develop and fight free radicals from the inside out. Probiotics in fermented foods like yogurts, miso, kimchi, tempeh and sauerkraut are also very beneficial because those foods promote a healthy gut which support a healthy immune system translating to good skin. While consuming good fats like omega 3 fatty acids from fish or healthy monounsaturated fats from nuts or fruit like avocado improves blood cholesterol levels and decreases your risk of heart disease.
If you struggle to meet the daily required nutrients intake, alternatively you can opt for supplements instead as there many in the market you can choose from.
2) Practice healthy sleeping habits
Everyone needs a good night’s sleep to remain healthy as sleep is the only time our body rests, repairs and rejuvenates. Getting a solid eight hours of quality sleep a night brings many benefits such as reduced stress and risks of heart diseases, multiple sclerosis and cancer. Research also has shown that older adults with sufficient sleep also perform better on memory tests and have improved motor skills.
No matter how young or old you are, you can benefit from healthy sleep and there are many ways you can incorporate healthy sleep habits into your life to promote good sleep. Studies have found that the following simple tips can help promote better and restful sleep.
- Follow a consistent sleep/wake routine
- Avoid coffee, tea and other stimulants four to six hours before bedtime
- Avoid blue light from your electronic gadgets like phone, tablets and television an hour before bedtime
- Keep your bedroom quiet, cool and dark during sleep
- Perform relaxing rituals to unwind and destress like taking hot baths, meditate or read one to two hours before going to sleep
3) Don’t partake in destructive habits like smoking and heavy drinking
Smoking has been scientifically proven to accelerate aging. The nicotine in cigarettes causes narrowing of blood vessels in your skin therefore decreases blood circulation. This restricts supply of oxygen and important nutrients such as Vitamin A to your skin. Apart from effects of nicotine, there are more than 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke that also cause damage to the body’s collagen which can result in the skin losing its elasticity hence developing premature wrinkles and sagging. Smoking also drastically increases your risks of developing cancer especially lung cancer and other heart related diseases.
Heavy drinking has been linked to liver damage, dementia and skin aging as alcohol infuses every cell, damages genes and inflamed liver. Alcohol has been known to dehydrate the entire body and often contribute to wrinkles, puffiness, dryness, purple capillaries and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and the whites of eyes) due to alcoholic liver damage.
4) Drink water
Staying properly hydrated is necessary in maintaining our overall health and it is one of the easiest ways to slow down aging. Nearly 70% of the body is made up of water therefore it is important that we drink sufficient amounts of water to keep our body hydrated which could improve our life expectancy. Drinking water assists our body in better wound healing, digestion, circulations of nutritions to our cells and also getting rid of waste products. Additionally, drinking enough water also keeps our skin aesthetically replenished, plump and youthful while delaying the formation of wrinkles and fine lines.
Instead of reaching out to sugary sodas, you can opt for healthier options like lemon slices in water, teas which are high in antioxidants or fruit teas, juices and smoothies which are healthy and refreshing to quench your thirst and sweet tooth.
5) Exercise Regularly
As little as 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, three to five times a week could tremendously slow down aging as exercise can improve circulation, boost the immune system, reduce stress and promote better memory and cognitive health, making you alert, sharp and responsive.
Studies have found that those who exercised regularly have defied the aging process, having the immunity, muscle mass, and cholesterol levels of a young person. Regular exercise also improves the regulation of hormones, sex drive, cardiovascular health, body’s flexibility, self confidence and mental health.
6) Protect your skin with skincare regimen
Skin is the human body’s largest organ and is often exposed to many external factors like the UVA UVB from the Sun and free radicals from environmental pollution which are putting our skin at risk of cellular damage which can result in premature aging.
Therefore to maintain a healthy and strong barrier to prevent premature aging, the skin needs a basic skin care regimen consisting of daily gentle cleansing, moisturising, weekly gentle exfoliation and minimum protection of SPF50 daily rain or shine during the day. Feed your skin with skin care products that are formulated with vitamins, antioxidants, peptides and moisturising gentle ingredients as your skin is also a living organ.
7) Manage your stress well
It is not a myth that socializing keeps us young and reaps many benefits to your mental and physical health. It has been proven that people with more social support do age slower and live a longer life as they have stronger immune systems and are able to fight off colds, the flu and certain cancer.
Interaction with others also reduces depression, boosts feelings of well-being and improves mood. It is also good for the brain and reduces risks of developing dementia as it sharpens memory and cognitive skills. So remember to set aside time from your busy schedule to connect and maintain good, healthy relationships with your family and friends or even attend classes or events to meet and socialize with new people.
Research has indicated that if we start early, we are more likely to maintain a consistent, healthy body which can preserve our vital body functions and independence to reduce our risk for many chronic conditions leading into our golden years.
However, always keep in mind, it’s never too late to implement healthy behaviors into your life and prevention is the way to go. Following all these tips benefit more than just your outer appearance. Your general health and quality of life will undoubtedly improve and you can be adding more years into your life.
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