November 2018

 

PUT AGING ON ICE

 

 

Groundbreaking new research reveals that it’s possible to slow down the body’s

aging process.  These science-backed strategies deliver more energy, happier

moods, and a longer, healthier life.

 

 

It might sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but thanks to new advances in science and research, delayed aging is now a reality.  Americans are staying younger longer.  Biological age is measured via different markers of good health, and according to the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, the pace of aging has slowed over the past 20 years.  People are not just living longer, but also enjoying more years of prime mental health and physical vitality.  While genetics plays a role in how fast we age, new research shows that behavioral changes also make an impact.  There is a great deal we can control through diet, exercise and lifestyle.  Here, based on the latest science, are the five smartest things you can do to get the most powerful antiaging benefits.

 

Take a balanced approach to fat.  Omega-3 fatty acids have a beneficial effect on two markers of biological aging.   Higher intakes are linked to both a 15% reduction in damaging oxidative stress and longer telomeres, the protein caps that protect the chromosomes and that normally shorten as we age.  You should also cut back on omega-6 fatty acids (grapeseed, corn and sesame), but not eliminate them altogether.  Omega-6’s have been shown to increase the inflammation that harms cells, while omega-3s reduce it.  To remedy that, aim to get at least 1.25 grams of omega-3s a day (the amount in 3 oz of salmon), and limit your intake of high omega-6 vegetable oils.

 

Eat smaller meals more often.  This is a way to control your insulin levels, one of the likely determinants of the rate of aging.  When you eat, your body produces insulin, a hormone that prompts your muscles and liver to absorb the glucose from your blood.  Over time, too much insulin can harm the mitochondria (little power houses in the cells that fuel the body) and can also lead to the accumulation of damaged proteins in the blood.  This can trigger the development of disease.  Preventing big spikes in insulin can help minimize cellular harm.  Stop eating after dinner because your metabolism slows just before sleep.  Finally, consider having your largest meal in the middle of the day. 

 

Work out almost every day.   Thus far, exercise is the closest thing we have to the fountain of youth.  People who did cardiovascular exercise for 30 minutes 5 days per week had a biological age that was nearly nine years younger than those who were sedentary.  Working out reduces inflammation and oxidative stress, two factors that age cells and shorten telomeres.  Other research has shown the doing two strength training workouts a week is also beneficial.  Exercise rebuilds muscle and makes the body and mind operate more efficiently overall.  Strength and endurance training also improve your body’s insulin response.  Muscle stores about 80% of the sugar you consume through foods.  When you train, you make your muscles more effective at absorbing the sugar from your blood, so your body requires less insulin.  This also greatly reduces your risk for insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.  Your goal: Thirty minutes or more of moderate to intense cardiovascular and resistance exercise most days of the week. 

 

Stay on your feet.  While exercise has a huge impact on aging, how much you move throughout the day is also critical.  After just 4 days of being completely sedentary, insulin resistance and cholesterol levels increased, damaging the endothelial cells which line the blood vessels.  When people exercise AND move more throughout the day, they avoid unhealthy insulin and cholesterol levels AND endothelial damage.  The message: Both exercise and movement throughout the day are necessary for optimal health.  If you have a sedentary job, try to replace two hours a day of sitting time with standing and walking.  Find something that works for you, whether it’s working at a standing desk, getting on your feet when you take a phone call, going for a long walk at lunch, or a combination of these.

 

Deal with your tension.  Cumulative lifetime stress accelerates epigenetic aging, a predictor of the rate of biological aging.  Meditation is one way to protect yourself from stress.  The epigenetic clock runs more slowly in long term meditators than in those who don’t meditate.   Those who meditate daily achieve the greatest benefit.  If that sounds daunting, start small.  Try the Insight Timer app (free on iTunes.com and play.google,com).  It tracks your meditation streaks and milestones to give you an incentive to keep going.

 

Mirel Ketchiff