photo credit: Dreamstime
Did you arrive at this anti aging page hoping to read about shortcuts for looking great at age 40 and beyond? While Healthy Girlfriend is all behind looking your best at any age, we are more interested in feeling vibrantly healthy and staying active into our senior years. As such, we aren't going to discuss skin care or exercise here. True healthy aging starts on the inside...what we put into our bodies.
Diet is certainly an extremely important component of anti aging. Eating whole, unprocessed foods and avoiding the preservatives found in packaged foods are the first line of defense against bodily decay. If you haven't seen our information on raw foods, detox diet, or paleo diet, please check those pages out, too.
We all think we know what aging is; losing energy, developing chronic diseases, wrinkles, loss of muscle tone, and those things are often true. You may also know that the human body is designed to live 120 years, yet the current life expectancy in the U. S. is 79.5 years. That's 40 years less than we are capable of.
Aging is governed by our chromosomes, specifically by the ends of the chromosomes. These ends are called telomeres and they contain genetic material. We've said before that the human body is capable of healing itself of just about anything (up to a certain point) and we witness this readily in the regeneration of skin after a cut. What's true for the skin is true for any part of the body including bone and brain. Naturopathic medicine has known this for years, but the actual science of chromosomes and aging is very new.
Let's take our example of skin. When your skin is damaged from a cut, abrasion, or burn, the magnificently intelligent body knows it needs to fix it. So the DNA knows to replicate itself and make new skin and when that happens, the telomeres get shorter. A lifetime of injury and oxidative damage takes its toll on our telomeres until finally our DNA is either unable to replicate itself because it doesn't have the genetic material to do so or it does so less than perfectly.
Basically, shortened telomeres equal aging. So the question is, how do we keep our telomeres nice and long? The answer is, if we want to "anti age" we must keep oxidative damage at bay. Some prime examples of this kind of damage to our cells are water pollution, air pollution, and the ingestion of chemicals and preservatives in food. We can't always avoid environmental pollution, but we can avoid processed foods pretty easily, so there's something! Another thing we can do easily is to consume anti-oxidants, nutrition that counters the damage to our cells that living life on Planet Earth brings.
photo credit: Dreamstime
On our raw food page, we talked about the anti-oxidant count of some fruits, vegetables, and herbs. We would be wise to up the intake of uncooked fruits and veggies because they contain the most beneficial anti aging compounds. For the rest of our body's repair needs, we must turn to high-quality nutritional supplements. Most everyone is deficient in minerals since crops are grown in soil that lacks adequate mineral levels. Years of repetitive, single-crop planting and pesticide use has damaged the soil, and rebuilding it takes time and money. Thankfully, the increased demand for organic food has begun to halt the damage. Organic farmers rotate crops and use less damaging, more natural pesticides. Choose organic as much as you are able to support this industry! Even then, it is next to impossible to get the nutrient levels that boost longevity, so we want to supplement with a high quality multi-vitamin/mineral.
The second line of defense for anti aging is to give the body the high-quality vitamins and minerals it needs for ongoing repair. After all, 2 time Nobel Prize winner Dr. Linus Pauling said, "every sickness, disease, and ailment can be traced to a mineral deficiency." Pauling, a biochemist who lived to 93 years, advocated the high dosage of vitamin C to promote cardiovascular health, protection against the common cold, and even as a cancer preventative (used intravenously) He himself took 10,000 mgs of vitamin C a day.
If you've changed your diet to avoid processed foods, the next step is to start taking high quality antioxidants, such as those found in Youngevity's Healthy Start Pak or a similarly high-quality nutritional supplement. May your telomeres stay long!