If you are like many Americans you don’t want to age at all! Since we will age regardless of what we want, the next best thing is to age gracefully and continue to do all the things we love in old age.
We can start habits now that will help us to age without chronic disease. In fact there are things that you might not realize that you are doing now that are making you age faster.
Here is my short list:
1) Not getting enough sleep at night
People underestimate and undervalue the importance of getting a good night’s sleep. Sleep is the time when your body rests and repairs cells. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body can’t repair itself.
Mark Mahowald, MD, director of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center at Hennepin County Medical Center, in Minneapolis, said in a WebMD article, “There is some evidence that sleep deprivation could lead to pre-diabetic state.”
There is also research which shows that people who are less rested tend to be more overweight. These are definitely risk factors for unhealthy aging.
2) Not eating more plants
Antioxidants are chemicals that protect our cells from damage. Recently you might have noticed that skin care products have the word "antioxidant" splashed all over them. The best way to get antioxidants is to eat more plants!
Antioxidants only last in our body for a few hours so we have to eat them multiple times per day, at least with every meal, or every four hours a day.
3) Eating too many processed foods
Eating processed foods can not only cause weight gain, but it can also cause wrinkled and dull skin. When sugar attaches to protein floating in the bloodstream it forms harmful molecules called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs can damage surrounding proteins like collagen and elastin that is found in skin and blood vessels.
The aging effects on the skin create wrinkles and sagging that start about age 35 and continue to increase rapidly, according to the British Journal of Dermatology.
4) You think "fat" is a dirty word
There are many misconceptions about fat and how it works in our bodies. We need fat for our cell membranes and for hormones, for example. The key is to eat good fats to keep us healthy, and to avoid bad fats that make us age and get sick.
Examples of bad fats are trans fatty acids and hydrogenated fats. Unsaturated fats and essential fatty acids are examples of good fats. These can be found in fish, nuts and olive oil.
Essential fatty acids like omega-3 fatty acids are especially important because they reduce chronic inflammation and protect organs like your brain and heart as well as your bones, joints and skin.
5) You don’t work out regularly
One of the best ways to reverse aging as well as obesity, heart disease, stress and other chronic diseases, is to exercise regularly. It helps you sleep better and improves your ability to eliminate through bowel movements. Pick something that you enjoy and do it regularly.
According to Prevention magazine, “research shows that vigorous exercisers have longer telomeres—cellular biomarkers that shorten as we age—compared with healthy adults who rarely work out.”
Don’t forget sex is a workout too! No only does it feel good, but people with healthy sex lives have stronger immune systems, less pain, and healthier hearts. Sex can even lower cancer risks and stress levels. It can make you look and feel younger.