Your chronological age is your literal age in years, whereas your biological age is how old your body cells are in regards to their physical and functional state. Although we are not able to turn back the hands of time, there are many ways we can age gracefully. Many turn to plastic surgery as an option, but this can cost a fortune and not always turn out how we hope. Not to mention, there’s more to healthy ageing than the physical aspect, the mental aspect is critical to how well we age. We can control the rate at which we age by adopting specific anti-ageing habits into our lifestyle as soon as possible.
- Eat fats for your brain – Your brain cells are fragile due to 60% of our brains being made up of fat which is easily damaged by free radicals. Our brain is composed of essential fatty acids, phospholipids and cholesterol. If you do not consume enough fats in your diet your brain will age more rapidly and you may experience symptoms of cognitive decline, depression and anxiety. Sources of good quality fats include tuna, salmon, trout, sardines, mackerel, walnuts, chia seeds and ground flaxseeds. Another option is take a good quality fish oil or krill oil.
- Maintain a strong immune system – Your immune system is the greatest asset to your health by protecting you against inflammatory and digestive diseases and cancer. You can strengthen your immune system with antioxidants by consuming a variety of different fruits and vegetables. Excellent foods for your immune system include garlic, turmeric, high vitamin C food such as citrus fruits, berries, capsicums, tomatoes, and kiwi fruits, and acai berries. Raw juicing is a convenient way to obtain antioxidants and improve skin quality.
- Protect your thyroid gland – Your thyroid gland produces thyroid hormone which controls our metabolic rate by stimulating your cells to turn food into energy. Thyroid problems are very common and symptoms of an underactive thyroid gland include increased ageing, dry skin and hair, hair loss, high cholesterol, weight gain and slow thinking. These are all the things we construe as “normal ageing”. For optimal thyroid function, it is essential to make sure you are obtaining enough adequate selenium, iodine and zinc.
- Balance your hormones – Many women have had their individual needs met with bio-identical hormones. Bio-identical hormones are natural replicas of our bodily hormones and our body cannot tell the difference between them and our own natural hormones. Using bio-identical hormones can slow ageing of the skin, hair and sexual organs, improve mental state and restore libido and energy levels. It is important to get your vitamin D levels checked as vitamin D is an essential anti-ageing hormone that maintains strong youthful bones, nails and connective tissues.
- Look after your liver – The liver is a strategic organ that filters our blood stream to remove dead cells, cancer cells, toxic chemicals, drugs and micro-organisms from our blood. These days our liver has to work harder than ever due to the many forms of pollution and toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis. Our liver is also essential to controlling fat metabolism and is our primary fat burning organ. If our liver becomes inflamed it can cause problems such as fatty liver, weight gain, and high cholesterol. You can support liver function with a supplement containing St Mary’s Thistle, turmeric, B group vitamins, taurine and selenium.
- Stay positive and reduce stress – Everyone has experienced some form of stress at some point in their life, however chronic stress can cause adrenal exhaustion and may manifest as post-traumatic stress disorder. Supplementing with magnesium and tyrosine can reduce stress and promote a positive mood. Healthy ways to naturally reduce stress include forming positive social and family relationships, and taking up activities like yoga, meditation or tai chi.
- Exercise regularly – This is an integral component to looking younger than you are. Just 30 minutes of physical activity a day can reduce your biological age by as much as 5 years. An ideal exercise program works all muscle groups by combining activities such as swimming, weight lifting, aerobics, group sports and yoga. Exercise reduces the chances of cardiovascular disease, weight excess and osteoporosis. If you exercise regularly it will also stimulate growth hormone to be released from the pituitary gland to increase muscle bulk, reduce body fat and wield anti-ageing effects.
- Get enough sleep - You can enhance your sleep quality by ensuring your room has good ventilation and avoiding all technology a half hour before bed. Rather than watching a movie or playing on your phone before bed, read a book or do some meditation. Herbal teas such as chamomile or sage sweetened with a little honey can promote relaxation and reduce hot flushes. Magnesium is excellent for promoting a deep and restful sleep.
- Be proactive about your health – Seek good quality medical care and have a thorough medical check-up to detect any problems that may progress to diseases. For example, a slightly high fasting blood sugar level can detect the early stages of diabetes, and slightly elevated liver enzymes can be detected before progressing to moderate fatty liver or cirrhosis. This enables you to make the necessary diet and lifestyle changes before permanent damage has been sustained. If you consult a doctor who practices holistic medicine you may discover your problems can be solved with nutritional medicine.
- Selenium - Is a powerful mineral that can preserve tissue elasticity and slow down the ageing process and tissue hardening caused by oxidation. The body incorporates selenium into body proteins called selenoproteins. These proteins are strong antioxidants that prevent cellular damage throughout the whole body from free radicals, resulting in a powerful anti-ageing effect.
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C is the most prevalent antioxidant found in the skin, and the skin is the organ that is most affected by environmental stressors such as smoking, sun exposure and pollution. Vitamin C is important for preventing free radicals becoming cancerous and speeding up the ageing process. Sources of vitamin C include vegetables and citrus fruits.
- MSM – Is an organic sulphur compound that is critical to anti-ageing. MSM is required for healthy collagen production and makes a huge difference to skin health. It also increases the strength and thickness of hair and nails. MSM works well with vitamin C to create new, healthy tissues.
- Silica – Silica is vital for the production of collagen in our body. We have naturally high levels of silica when we are young which accounts for our smooth skin and flexible joints. However, our silica levels begin to decline as we age and this affects collagen production leading to obvious changes in our skin, nails, teeth, joints, bones and heart health. Adequate silica levels are important for many aspects of our health.
- Biotin – Is one of the B vitamins and is produced in the intestines by good bacteria. If your liver cells lack biotin they will not have the energy they need to detoxify chemicals and drugs. Deficiency of this vitamin can cause hair loss, dry flaky skin, rashes and fatigue.