Five major factors cause aging. Here are the best ways to combat them:
1. Chronic inflammation
Think of it as a raging wildfire within your body. While we don’t know exactly what causes inflammation, we do know you can inflame your body if you smoke, get over-weight, never exercise and can’t manage stress.
Secret de-ager: Healthy fats. Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, extra-virgin olive oil, walnuts and flaxseeds all have anti-inflammatory properties.
2. Oxidative stress
Think of it as rust in your tissues. Oxidative stress (mainly caused by free radicals) depletes antioxidants, injures tissues and leaves you vulnerable to premature aging.
Secret de-ager: Moderate exercise. Working out can boost antioxidant levels and destroy free radicals. Make sure not to overdo it or you risk increasing inflammation.
Think of it as your hair on its worst day: Nothing can get through that mess. Glycation happens when sugar and protein molecules from food get stuck together, causing a big, tangled mess in your bloodstream. Glycated tissues often produce AGEs (advanced glycation end products). These bad guys can cause damage throughout your cells and can lead to many age-related diseases.
Secret de-ager: Cut out high-fructose corn syrup. It’s a nasty form of refined sugar in processed foods. If a food has substances ending in -ose, skip it!
Think of it as a gas pedal or break that speeds up or slows aging. Methylation is a cellular process that determines how well you absorb vitamins, enzymes and other chemical compounds. Aging can speed up when it’s unbalanced.
Secret de-ager: Sunflower seeds. They’re loaded with folic acid, a mighty methylation regulator.
5. Immune impairment
Think of it as your body’s army sleeping on the job. One of the main reasons we catch colds, get sore throats or get infections is that our immune systems are not working at optimum levels.
Secret de-ager: Clean hands! Good old-fashioned soap and water is the single best way to keep your immune system strong.